Subject:hintzman(at)oregon.uoregon.edu: More on basketballFrom:Dan Ellis <dpwe(at)MEDIA.MIT.EDU>Date:Fri, 4 Aug 1995 23:25:43 -0400Dear LIST - I received this contribution to the debate of the moment from Doug Hintzman at U. Oregon. DAn. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - I don't think anyone should be impressed by the ability of basketball crowds to always sing "air ball" in the same key. If you asked the entire population of basketball fans, individually, to sing "air ball", their responses would describe some distribution along the pitch dimension. The distribution would have a characteristic mean and standard deviation (SD). If you repeatedly take very large representative samples from that population, the mean pitch for each sample will be very close to the population mean. The standard error (SD of the distribution of sample means) should be SE = (population SD)/sqrt(crowd size). Undoubtedly, the mean heights for basketball crowds nationwide are very close to the same value. That does not imply that everyone is of of the same height. Likewise, the abilities of crowds to sing in the same key does not imply that the members of those crowds have absolute pitch memory. Crowd data cannot answer that question. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University