Exploring Data

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For this activity you'll analyze a data set that consists of the number of births recorded in the U.S. for each day of the year in 1978.

What do you think the distribution of birthdays will be throughout the year? Many people might answer that its a uniform distribution: you're just as likely to be born on one day as any other. Still, others, citing the Spring Fever effect, might say that there will be more births 9-10 months after Spring (Dec-Feb?)

First, upload this data set into your favorite data analysis software. If you use Fathom (and we recommend it for this exercise), you can do this simply by

(1) making sure you're connected to the internet (which I assume you are if you're reading this!)

(2) starting Fathom

(3) Under the "File" menu, select "Import from URL"

(4) In the dialog box that opens, type the URL that points to the data: http://inspire.stat.ucla.edu/unit_01/birthdays.txt

This dataset consists of 8 variables. The variable named "births" gives the number of births on a particular day of the year. The other variables all have to do with the date on which that number of births was observed. For example, "date" is the calendar date. "edate" is the number of elapsed days since Jan 1 1962. "month" gives you the month of the date, "day" tells you the day of the month, "week" tells you which week of the year (1 through 52), "dayofweek" is a 0 for Sunday and a 6 for Saturday, and "dayssincejan" tells you how many days the date is from jan 1 1978.

Use Fathom to explore the data. What can you say about the distribution of the number of births? Participate in the Blackboard discussion on this activity.