The Bubble Under the Mathematical Rug

Math with Bad Drawings

Don’t freak out, but we’re surrounded by normal distributions.

They’re in our heights; our weights; our sampling means; our fever-dreams; our Galton Boards…

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Every normal is a variation on the same bell-curved theme. Just specify two parameters—the mean, i.e., the center of the distribution, and the variance, which measures its breadth—and you’ve got a normal distribution. They’re one big clan, with a strong family resemblance.

But—for me, at least—this raises a question: Who is the matriarch of the family? Which normal distribution is the founding member, the Mitochondrial Eve, the universal common ancestor?

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