Friday, June 1, 2012

An Engineer, a Consultant, and a Statistician

An engineer, consultant and statistician were driving down a steep mountain road in Western Montana one evening.  All of a sudden the brakes failed and the car careened down the road out of control.  But half way down, the driver somehow managed to stop the car by running it against the embankment narrowly avoiding going over a very steep cliff. They all got out, shaken by their narrow escape from death, but otherwise unharmed.

The consultant said: "To fix this problem we need to organise a committee, have meetings, write several interim reports and through a process of continuous improvement, develop a solution."

The engineer said: "No! That would take far too long, and besides that method never worked before.  I have my trusty penknife here and will take apart the brake system, isolate the problem and correct it."

The statistician said: "No - you're both wrong!  Let's all push the car back up the hill and see if it happens again.  We only have an N of 1 here!!"