Comic Strip Statistics

I apologize in advance for the abbreviated nature of this post, but it’s Midterm Week 2 and I’m getting to the point where NA vectors look like they’re taunting me (na-na-na-na-na-na). A few weeks ago, I came across an interesting stats-related article that assessed the total damage that Calvin of Calvin & Hobbes fame caused over the course of his comic strip tenure from 1986 to 1996. It’s a short and sweet paper (link below) in which the author compares the damage Calvin caused in per month and per year, and tries to link several of Calvin’s habits to real-world causes, like going back to school after long vacations (he’s more destructive in January and August). Overall, the author concludes that a troublemaker of Calvin’s caliber would only cause enough damage per year to make him about $2,000 costlier to raise than a less chaos-inclined child, although based on the events that the author describes I sort of doubt this (e.g. flooding his house 5 times. And his parents only took away his dessert!). The author also leaves out several incidents that prevent the estimation of damage costs, including a “salamander incident,” which I believe would actually raise Calvin’s damage costs, since we all know how expensive salamander removal can get. While this article’s not exactly saturated with valuable statistics, it’s a short, entertaining read that shows to demonstrate an imaginative application of some of the concepts that we discuss in class every day, and it could provide for a brief break for anyone who has been staring at R for a little too long. Also, for anyone still in need of a final project idea, the author does mention that as of this article’s publication, there’s no reliable dataset or established method that measures the average child’s destructive costs over the course of a year.

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