Thursday, July 23, 2015

Random Sampling & the Colour Black!

During a recent travel through Ottawa airport, I was subjected not to one or two, but three "random" security checks! At the first check, I really thought it was random. By the second, I thought it was probably due to my Middle Eastern looks, although I don’t fit the age criteria! By the third, my audit skills started to kick in!

I tried to use my professional skepticism, statistical and analytical skills, in addition to root cause analysis to figure out why this has happened and how to avoid it in the future, if possible!

It did not take me long to realize that wearing black pants and black polo shirt did not help my case!That is of course in addition to my Middle Eastern decent and looks. The black clothing was not my choice, but rather my wife’s suggestion! To add insult to injury, my brand new pants kept showing a sign of metal object at the waistline when I was subjected to the full body scan machine. I will spare you the details of the inspections that followed.

On a good note, the security staff were super nice, super polite and incredibly efficient.

Lessons Learned:

·         There is no such thing as random checks at airports!

·         Never travel wearing all black clothing

·         Never travel wearing new untested clothes

  •    Security measures can be performed with respect and efficiency

·         I need a new fashion advisor!

In order to make this post useful, and not to limit it to a personal experience, let’s revisit some of the terminologies used:


To quote Dr. Shermer: Skepticism is not a position; it's a process.

The popular misconception is that skeptics, or critical thinkers, are people who disbelieve things. And indeed, the common usage of the word skeptical supports this: "He was skeptical of the numbers in the spreadsheet", meaning he doubted their validity. To be skeptical, therefore, is to be negative about things and doubt or disbelieve them.

The true meaning of the word skepticism has nothing to do with doubt, disbelief, or negativity. Skepticism is the process of applying reason and critical thinking to determine validity. It's the process of finding a supported conclusion, not the justification of a preconceived conclusion.”

 Random Sampling:

Investopedia defines simple random sampling as follows:

A subset of a statistical population in which each member of the subset has an equal probability of being chosen. A simple random sample is meant to be an unbiased representation of a group. An example of a simple random sample would be a group of 25 employees chosen out of a hat from a company of 250 employees. In this case, the population is all 250 employees, and the sample is random because each employee has an equal chance of being chosen.”

Colour Black:

The color black relates to the hidden, the secretive and the unknown, and as a result it creates an air of mystery. It keeps things bottled up inside, hidden from the world. In color psychology this color gives protection from external emotional stress”




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