If you’re looking at wealth, for example, the mean tells you the wealth of the pocket the typical dollar lives in. The median tells you the assets of the typical person.

Look, there _is_ a lot of variance in restaurant bills. But if you want to _compare_ locations, and do so from the point of view of the “typical” visitor (and I know the typical visitor is going to vary from one location to another), you’re still best off with the median.

]]>Modes? Medians? Means? Chi-squared vs. power-law? All ridiculous to consider in view of the fact that what you are trying to determine — some notion of how much it costs *per person* to eat, say, dinner at one of these joints — is simply not possible to determine without knowing the number of diners that goes along with each check.

You cannot even say, except for your personal experience dining in some of these places where you doknow how many people were paid for, whether the mean at Megu is explained by the Zagat number together with the hypothesis that on average, people eat in pairs — or a bit more. Maybe each couple brings a baby?

]]>Articles like this are great cases in point of the whole 99% to 1% concept.

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