Today in Pointless Statistics

Yesterday, I was speculating about how the far-right may have a fear of rabbits. I’ve no means of ascertaining that but I did wonder if rabbits got mentioned more than you would expect.

Disproportionate Lagomorphic Referencing in Ideologically Extreme Propaganda

By C.Felapton, M.Robot 2017

Abstract

It has been postulated that the alt-right talks about rabbits a lot. Our research unit examined this hypothesis empirically using highly advanced data-mining techniques.

Using a sample of common animal words, the frequency of use of those words was established and then compared with word frequency in an established corpus of English words. It was established that at least one member of the alt-right talks about rabbits disproportionately.

Method

A weblog site produced by a notable “alt-right” writer was identified by a process of his being the obvious one to have a look at (a blogger who use the pseudonym of “Vox Day”). A set of 14 common animal nouns was identified: cat, chicken, cow, dog, elephant, goat, goose, mouse, otter, rabbit, sheep, tiger, wolf.

For comparison purposes, a corpus of English words was identified to establish standard frequencies for each word. The selected corpus was the BYU-BNC.

The British National Corpus (BNC) was originally created by Oxford University press in the 1980s – early 1990s, and it contains 100 million words of text texts from a wide range of genres (e.g. spoken, fiction, magazines, newspapers, and academic). https://corpus.byu.edu/bnc/

Using Google’s site specific search function, the target website was searched using each animal word in turn as the search term. An example search query being “mouse site::http://voxday.blogspot.com”

The number of “hits” per search term was recorded.

Results

The most common animal name used from the sample was “dog”. However, given the very high frequency of “dog” in English, this result is unremarkable. The ratio of the blog frequency versus the corpus frequency was calculated. The mean ratio for the sample was 0.728 (to 3 s.f.) [blog freq/BNC freq].

The most disproportionately under mentioned animal was “mouse”. The most disproportionately over mentioned animal was “goat”. While the frequencies of both “rabbit” and “wolf” were quite different in both the blog and the corpus, both words were over mentioned in a similar ratio (1.20 for rabbit and 1.21 for wolf).

Full results are shown in Appendix A.

Discussion

It was agreed by the research team that this had been a pointless exercise that provided no valuable insights and which was methodologically flawed due to its arbitrary choice of words, blog and corpus. Meat Robot complained about having a cold a lot and suggested that a day spent re-watching Rogue One: A Star Wars Story would be a better plan. “You’re not the boss of me.” said Camestros but had to concede that it was impossible to exist as incorporeal being.

A cat refused to comment on the result and no other animals were consulted.

Appendix A: Full results

The table shows the full results in ascending order of ratio.

Animal Blog Freq BNC Freq Ratio
mouse

559

1,728

0.323

chicken

757

2,027

0.373

otter

79

188

0.420

sheep

1,420

2,942

0.483

cow

662

1,334

0.496

cat

1,880

3,788

0.496

dog

4,880

7,780

0.627

elephant

616

892

0.691

goose

404

479

0.843

tiger

764

870

0.878

rabbit

1,670

1,393

1.199

wolf

975

804

1.213

goat

844

593

1.423


8 thoughts on “Today in Pointless Statistics

    1. A brief perusal of search result show that in addition to normal background goat noise (a reference to a Goat Simulator in Space game etc) occult and/or sacrificial references to goats and goat headed beings is likely to account for the additional goats.

      We could be at the beginning of a new science here: classify everyone based on their animal mention profile.

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  1. I’m intrigued by cows and cats having the same ratio. Is it possible that they are actually the same animal? Or that the alt-right thinks they are? Has anyone checked Timothy for divided hooves and an udder? If not, what is the liberal establishment trying to hide?

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