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Biostatistics Poetry and etc.



Biostats Over 40

Driving home from work the other day,
I heard WYPR's Mark Steiner say:

As people travel along life's path,
Over 40 one's abilities decline in poetry and math.

How sad, what a shame, Mark's listeners might ponder.
Yet about this proclamation, I could not be fonder.

This finding, you see explains my biostat troubles,
Something clearly not shared by the classes' young muggles.

Here I had been thinking, all along in biostats,
That my struggling was due to the job, the kids, the dogs and the cats.

But Alas, I hear it just isn't true,
It's my age that has dropped my grade by a few.

I now tell my friends, "It's my brain, not my life,
That has led to my agonizing statistical strife."

So here I now sit, waiting for soccer to end,
Wondering if I might force my withering brain to mend.

Indeed it just might, I'll give it a shot.
I'll finish that problem set...after the groceries are bought.

And just to prove a point, I'll write a poem for class.
And pray that Marie makes my grade a high pass.

So goodbye for now, so long to you.
'Hope to see you again, in 622.

Sally Hess

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  Haikus for Biostatistics

Look at the data;
Look at the data again;
Look at the data.

Up-down sloping curve,
Holds all probabilities;
Embraced by one truth.

Left outside the box
...whiskers wander to reach out...
But sadly fenced in.

Skewness of values
Must never be confused with
Skewness of morals!

What's the likelihood
that fish have the same outcome
in the French language?

Shifting shades of grey
reveal their normal values;
choose columns wisely.

To be considered
mutually exclusive,
you cannot be joined.

Elizabeth Yi


Marie and Scott 

Some feel that Marie Diener-West
Is among Hopkins own "Best of the Best"

But others would not be so eager
To forget about Doctor Scott Zeger

But if only they would give an easier testÖ.

Ode to Poisson 

Once there was a Franc named Poisson
Whose calculations were often right on

He predicted some of the dead
Should have been living instead

But not the horse he should have bet upon.


When we signed up for six twenty one
We thought that biostats would be fun

But when probability came
Some of us didn't quite think the same

And a few even switched to six one one.

Ode to Gauss

A German named Karl Friedrich Gauss
Worked in the tavern instead of his house

At him they would laugh
When he plotted his graph

But today do we remember Manfred Leibenstraus?

- Rick Lim, MPH Class of 2006 

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Marie to Biostat is as a gentle stream
    Running through the quiet land of our dream,
Of course, pleasant, refreshing and able,
    But above all, to us, indispensable.
Her pen in one hand, a clear line is drawn,
    For the Truth on us suddenly to dawn.
Therefore, as she teaches us all about chances,
    Let's offer Marie dinner west of the fences?


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Biostatistics is the scientific reasoning and methods
to the solution of biological, medical and public health problems.

Midterm Review (positively skewed)

statistics is:
generating hypotheses, stem and leaves,
Whiskers and central tendency, Bayes,
Poisson ní Bernoulli,
Capital P(r)ís, little pís and 1-pís,
additive and binomial probabilities,
considering mutual exclusivity,
Relative frequencies, and decimal place accuracy,
birth weights and Gaussian symmetries,
X and Y axes, sensitivity, specificity, and Z-score appendices.
Itís about ratios of the diseased [D+] and the non-diseased [D-],
e.g women, oral contraceptives and thromboembolic disease,
Philly and high particulate day mortalities, smoking and
daily exercise propensities, lung cancers,
hypertension and BPs,
bladder cancer and
tire factories,
Vitamin A deficiencies
in the Nepalese,
And of course,
carotid endarterectomies...
...all to better see
the truth
of the

-- C.N ... procrastinating indefinitely  

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Ode to Biostats

To the left? To the right? There must be a skew!
Should have paid attention to that math review...
Now I find myself lost in stats,
Clinging to each word spoken in class.

My classmates beside me,
Know just what to do.
But my mere survival is in the hands of
My TI-82.

You just can't imagine the agony and grief
As I struggle to plot another stem, another leaf!
Coffee disappears as I sit at the cafe,
Crunching data sets in back-to-back display.

Stata, I beg you, it just doesn't make sense.
Remind me, which one's a whisker
And which one's a fence?

Logarithms, I feel I live to serve,
But dear Kaplan, dear Meier,
will I survive the survival curve?

Now the countdown is on,
The mid-term draws near,
And already I'm paralyzed,
Frozen with fear.

Failure is certain from what I can see,
But I'll bet I could calculate it as a probability.

That's right...I think I could.
And know what else I can do?
Marie showed us how to follow Bayes' Rule, too!

It's so cool there's a distribution named after a fish...
And they promised us Nachos,
My favorite dish!

So, think I'm scared of stats?
I'll show you I'm not!
I'll show you with my p values and my QQ plots!

I'll skew those curves to the left and right,
I'll make statistical inferences and stay up all night!
Biostats 620, you ain't got nothing on me.
Just watch me rock those probabilities.

Elizabeth Arend  

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  STATA Command by Anonymous

. do problem set 2
file problem.do not found
. do problem set 2 today
file problem.do not found
. do problem set 2 now
file problem.do not found
. do problem set 2 now!
file problem.do not found
. * I want to go to bed. *
. do problem set 2 please
file problem.do not found



Welcome to the Bio statistics class
Where you cram in knowledge very fast
Formulas, symbols, calculations you learn
Distribution curves and theorem(s)

When to add, multiply or divide
May drive your mind wild
STATA software may be used
Though this leaves you more confused

More codes to learn with STATA
How to calculate 'n how to save data
Results come out in a flash
But, beware of any computer crash!!

Midterms 'n quizzes, keep you on your toes,
Assignments 'n finals, as the term goes.
Answers posted on the website,
Tell you what you got wrong 'n what right

Don't be alarmed - this course is Great
Though there is too much on your plate.
Keep studying 'n pursuing,
Computing and practicing.

We have great Instructors
Who teach 'n are researchers
Dr. Zeger 'n Dr. Marie Diener-West
Yes, they are the very Best.

-- Meena Somanchi, PhD 


Taking probability a step function higher
We censor drop-outs with Kaplan Meier
Surveyed on our weight
Recall bias was great
Some told the truth ... I was a liar

OR (alt. last line)

I hope I'm not an upper outlier  

"Bayes Theorem"
Have you heard of the Reverend Bayes
who did stats in nonconformist ways
He said "P of (A and B),
Frequentists disagree)
... equals P (B|A) times P (A)."
Anon Y. Mous 


First class in Biostats, and we see
Zeger, tossing coins, explaining probability
Bias and variance, trials in Vit A,
Searching for truth, so can I infer today
that I'm closer to winning the lottery ? 

Through stem and leaf, we order data
Side-by-side first, back-to-back later
A better option is the box plot
median, quartiles, whiskers, and wot-not
Who's going to explain the commands for STATA ?

Anon Y. Mous
a serious PhD candidate

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Last updated 18 Oct 2005