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This is one of my favorites:

alt text

One entry per answer. This is in the vein of the Stack Overflow question What’s your favorite “programmer” cartoon?.

P.S. Do not hotlink the cartoon without the site's permission please.

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@sharpie: are jokes out? We obviously don't want the entire site to be humor, but everyone benefits from a little educational humor in small doses. – Shane Jul 22 '10 at 5:15
    
@Sharpie, feel free to close or reopen according to your feelings! I agree with Shane, a bit is ok, but not too much. For example, this question already included a funny cartoon. The jokes question not really a funny joke.... – Peter Smit Jul 22 '10 at 13:58
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These cartoons are useful too; they can be included in a lecture on a particular topic where you are trying to explain a concept (e.g. correlation/causation above). A little humor can help to keep an audience engaged. – Shane Jul 22 '10 at 14:22
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According to the tour, this question should be closed, since it is a question that has "too many possible answers" and since it is "primarily opinion-based". I'm not complaining, just surprised it has stayed open for this long. – Flimm Dec 9 '14 at 10:29
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Data Science analogy to cartoon in OP. Data Scientist: I went to data science bootcamp and learned how to find correlations in big data. Those insights can be converted into big money. Statistician: But many of those correlations are spurious. Correlation does not imply causation. Data Scientist: Don't give me none of that century old statistics mumbo-jumbo. This is big data. That means the data has everything. So by definition, all relationships in the data are correct. I ring the cash register while you snooze and lose, grandpa. – Mark L. Stone Dec 19 '15 at 22:42

71 Answers 71

Was XKCD, so time for Dilbert:

alt text

Source: http://dilbert.com/strip/2001-10-25

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Absolutely love this one. – Sharpie Jul 21 '10 at 15:23
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Did anyone else notice that the tour guide changes colors between the second and third frames? – Max Aug 22 '12 at 20:41
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On RANDU: "We guarantee that each number is random individually, but we don't guarantee that more than one of them is random." – Iain Elder Mar 18 '14 at 15:11
    
Link not working, was it this one dilbert.com/strip/2001-10-25 ? – Tim Jan 27 '15 at 19:27

Another from XKCD: ... okay, but because you said that, we're breaking up.

Mentioned here and here.

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You can't read this one without the alt text. it said something like "But because of that we're totally breaking up" – generic_user Mar 10 '14 at 18:16

My favourite Dilbert cartoon:

enter image description here

Source: http://dilbert.com/strip/2008-05-07

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Definitively my favorite cartoon about Data Mining – steffen Dec 1 '10 at 12:24
    
Link not working. Was it this one: dilbert.com/strip/2008-05-07 ? – Tim Jan 27 '15 at 19:27
    
@Tim Yes Thanks – csgillespie Jan 27 '15 at 20:43

One of my favorites from xckd:

Random Number

alt text

RFC 1149.5 specifies 4 as the standard IEEE-vetted random number.

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Now this is hilarious. – StatsStudent Mar 7 at 18:35

One more Dilbert cartoon:

http://dilbert.com/fast/2008-05-08/ ...

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This one reminds me of the recent bailout in the States, where they just made up 700 billion number - they said they just wanted a really large number. :) – Roman Luštrik Aug 12 '10 at 8:53
    
Image is broken now – Stumpy Joe Pete Feb 3 '15 at 2:35
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Fixed. I had to add some dots after the cartoon since SE didn't allow me to submit the changes :-\ – Ching Chong Feb 5 '15 at 11:30

Normal Versus Paranormal Distribution

From: A visual comparison of normal and paranormal distributions Matthew Freeman J Epidemiol Community Health 2006;60:6. Lower caption says 'Paranormal Distribution' - no idea why the graphical artifact is occuring.

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I think this version of the joke works better (from oneweirdkerneltrick.com), though apparently this version was seven years earlier. – Dougal Feb 3 '15 at 1:06
    
this isn't really funny. it's more of a twist on english terms – sponge_knight Mar 7 at 18:20
    
@zero "A twist on English terms" describes a great many jokes – Fomite Mar 7 at 18:22
    
Yeah - I think all those jokes suck. There is no underlying statistical humour. This joke should be put on the English stackexchange instead. – sponge_knight Mar 7 at 18:23
    
@Phil: In the 2-dimensional version linked by Dougal, the "paranormal distribution" is indeed a (bizarrely truncated) distribution; so the joke has some statistical content. It doesn't work in one dimension, where your comment certainly applies. – John Bentin Jun 19 at 17:47

XKCD: significant

'So, uh, we did the green study again and got no link. It was probably a--' 'RESEARCH CONFLICTED ON GREEN JELLY BEAN/ACNE LINK; MORE STUDY RECOMMENDED!'

xkcd: significant

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This is by far my favorite cartoon of all time. It's super educational. It really gets to the heart of the definition of a p-value. In fact, I bet that less than 10% the students who pass a college freshman "intro to stats" class get this joke, and this makes me sad. – MHH Jan 15 '14 at 3:36
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Maybe so! Fortunately for freshmen, @Glen_b has offered an excellent breakdown here. – Nick Stauner Feb 27 '14 at 1:03
    
Great! But yellow appears twice :P – Rodrigo Mar 1 at 0:51
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this is a pretty good joke as it clearly demonstrates why repeated multiple testing is dangerous. For anyone interested check out Bonferi correction to deal with this. – sponge_knight Mar 7 at 18:21

I just came across this and loved it:

alt text

(http://xkcd.com/795/).

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Image at bp1.blogger.com.

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That's great. The standard way of dealing with outliers. – Shane Jul 26 '10 at 20:06
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Who's the artist? – blubb Sep 25 '14 at 16:01
    
This cartoon was drawn by Ben Shabad – ff524 Jan 7 at 20:20

Another from XKCD:

Convincing

And if you labeled your axes, I could tell you exactly how MUCH better.
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This isn't technically a cartoon, but close enough:

alt text

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That's definitely my favorite. I always have to stop on this and laugh when scrolling over this page. It's just so bad!! – Henrik Sep 9 '10 at 9:02

http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/extrapolating.png

By the third trimester, there will be hundreds of babies inside you.

Also from XKCD

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There is this one on Bayesian learning:

alt text

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What's the source? – Shane Aug 31 '10 at 15:02
    
It was taken from Mike West's website: stat.duke.edu/~mw/fineart.html – ebony1 Aug 31 '10 at 16:23

this too: alt text

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To be honest, those are the bad physicists. The good physicists stick around and make a name for themselves. – Iterator Aug 6 '11 at 3:17
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Yet it's amazing how often it works... – wnoise Sep 22 '11 at 4:44
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This cartoon...speaks to me. – Fomite Sep 29 '12 at 23:38

Nice. The importance of variance when thinking about a population.

enter image description here

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

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This has to be my favorite. – Pseudo_Scientist Aug 22 '14 at 21:09
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This cartoon makes me sad. – Flimm Dec 9 '14 at 10:40

And another one from xkcd.

Title: Self-Description

alt text

The mouseover text:

The contents of any one panel are dependent on the contents of every panel including itself. The graph of panel dependencies is complete and bidirectional, and each node has a loop. The mouseover text has two hundred and forty-two characters.

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Thank you for including mouseover text. – Anubian Noob Jun 9 '14 at 23:52

Here is a nice one (the inadequacy about average ratings)
http://xkcd.com/937/

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Another one from xkcd:

Hell, my eighth grade science class managed to conclusively reject it just based on a classroom experiment. It's pretty sad to hear about million-dollar research teams who can't even manage that.

Alt-text:

Hell, my eighth grade science class managed to conclusively reject it just based on a classroom experiment. It's pretty sad to hear about million-dollar research teams who can't even manage that.

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this one is just great :-) – Curious May 12 '12 at 10:39

Here's another one from Dilbert:

enter image description here

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Looks like this one needs an updated image. – Nick Orlando Feb 24 '15 at 20:45

More about design and power than analysis, but I like this one

alt text

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I found this from a NoSQL presentation, but the cartoon can be found directly at

http://browsertoolkit.com/fault-tolerance.png

alt text

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Can you please explain this cartoon? – Christian Sep 3 '14 at 0:00

A classic...

Never discuss multiple testing without it

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"Because medical research findings can be difficult to reconcile, are not always pre-digested, and can seem overwhelming to us casual observers, let us make fun of those who dedicate their lives to obtaining them." – rolando2 Feb 9 '14 at 0:53
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@rolando2 As a medical researcher, I find the sensationalist incompetence of mainstream science reporters hilarious. – Superbest Feb 26 '14 at 12:08
    
There's a listserv from HealthNewsReview devoted to evaluating media handling of health research findings. – rolando2 Mar 9 '15 at 14:14
    
As a statistician, I find the sensationalist incompetence of mainstream "data analysts" hilarious. – StatsStudent Mar 7 at 21:35

I liked this one:

enter image description here

This is probably fun to show in class as well...

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Allright, I think this one is hilarious- but let's see if it passes the Statistical Analysis Miller test.

Fermirotica

I love how Google handles dimensional analysis.  Stats are ballpark and vary wildly by time of day and whether your mom is in town.

I love how Google handles dimensional analysis. Stats are ballpark and vary wildly by time of day and whether your mom is in town.

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Statistical voyeurism? And there we were wondering what to call the site... – walkytalky Jul 23 '10 at 15:48

Another one from xkcd:

Coconuts are so far down to the left they couldn't be fit on the chart.  Ever spent half an hour trying to open a coconut with a rock?  Down with coconuts.

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Bananas are always tasty. – Anonymous Type Dec 1 '10 at 4:00
    
@AnonymousType and easy! – tdc Feb 23 '12 at 13:07
    
Where are persimmons? – EngrStudent May 18 '13 at 3:18
    
@EngrStudent: they're simultaneously off both ends of the tasty scale. – naught101 Aug 21 '13 at 1:35
    
Needs replication. – Nick Stauner Jan 17 '14 at 11:51

enter image description here

Found this one in the comments on Andrew Gelman's blog.

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This chart is wrong, correct percentage is about fifty-fifty. – juliohm Mar 10 '14 at 16:09

From xkcd:

enter image description here This is data analysis in the form of a cartoon, and I find it particularly poignant.

The universe is probably littered with the one-planet graves of cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there's no good reason to go into space--each discovered, studied, and remembered by the ones who made the irrational decision.

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Very funny! (____) – Tal Galili Aug 5 '11 at 19:51

From xkcd:

You don't use science to show that you are right, you use science to become right.

If some people who really believe that everything should be scientifically tested would actually walk their talk than they this comic might even show an event that actually happens.

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enter image description here

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

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yeah but.... this one isn't true... it mostly depends on how you parameterize the time variable $t$... i guess if you go back far enough, but come on... – William Sep 22 '11 at 17:24

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