Law School Discussion

Starting Salaries

Re: Starting Salaries
« Reply #30 on: May 23, 2006, 11:01:33 PM »
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Webster's dictionary -  a number of definitions, among which -
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"an arithmetic mean", "a number or value of a set of values carefully defined to typify the set, as a median or mode"

Of course, one of the other definitions says its the mean. Not the best source to resolve the issue. I looked at the other two I was familiar with (from the list of onelook): American Heritage agrees with you, while Oxford Compact gives the mean. Thus, verdict: unclear.

As for Dr. math, that's very cute. Should I contact the stats faculty I know at my local college and have a debate of expert? It would certainly be instructing for future lawyers thinkinh of specializing in trial practice. I realize this will get nowhere on this specific issue, but just think of it in the legal sphere ... who would get more credibility with a jury?

Now for the ultimate question, I suggest, without knowing if this is at all possible, looking through the jurisprudence to find if courts have statued on the meaning of average. Would that clarify things? I'm going to guess that when non-numerical issues are involved, the term can be used loosely (i.e. 'the average man'), but that when numbers are involved, it refers to the mean unless otherwise explicitely specified. Would that put an end to this?

Re: Starting Salaries
« Reply #31 on: May 24, 2006, 08:16:10 AM »
Sooooo, we're not going to check the jurisprudence? Ok. You seem to agree that using experts (the faculty at my local college) in this case might resolve our issue. That's doubtfull, since we could most likely each find experts for our points of view. Which is why I had proposed jurisprudence in the first place. But you didn't respond to that, so I'll propose something else.

Got a credit card? Good. Read your agreement with them. The interest charges are probably calculated in the following way: 13.99% (whatever your rate is) of your average daily balance during the cycle. Notice that word? 'Average'.

Now about the law of contracts. The contract you accepted with them is referred to as a contract of adhesion: that means you don't get any say about what goes in it; you can only say 'yes' or 'no'. In such contracts, if any term is ambiguous, it will be judged contra preferentem (i.e. against the idiotic party who didn't amke it clear in the first place). The standard for ambiguity is: if the writer had a reasonable expectation that a reasonable reader who understand it correctly. Let me make this clear: credit card company writes the agreement, you sign up -> that means the burden of proof is on them to show that it was clear and that no reasonable person would have understood it any other way.

Are you starting to see where I'm going with this? It involves you, your mouth, and your money. Here's the plan:
1 - Clear a credit card to a balance of $0
2 - For the first two days of the cycle, spend nothing
3 - For each day from 3 to 16, spend $1 each day
4 - On day 17 of your cycle, spend $13 less than $5000 (or whatever your limit is)
5 - For each day from 18 to 30, spend $1 every day

At the end of your cycle, your average daily balance will be, according to you:
Either $0 (the mode)
Or 13$ (the median)
or the juicy sum of about $2400 (the mean)

In conjunction with the above discussion of contracts of adhesion, if any reasonable person would understand it your way, the contract would mean just what you say it does. If however the meaning of average is clear and unambiguous, you'll be stuck with a moderate fee.

Now, it is entirely possible that credit card companies take care to define 'average' as 'mean'; that would support your case, but would only mean that they perceive that someone could interpret it another way ... not that it can actually mean what you say it does. And I haven't checked this, but I'm pretty sure that my monthly statement reads 'average monthly balance'.

So ... would this be a valid test of your hypothesis, or do you want to posture once more with no original argument and no suggestion other than to go see my local faculty?


yiplong

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Re: Starting Salaries
« Reply #32 on: May 24, 2006, 03:39:31 PM »
Just talked to a statistician who works at my company, average means precisely the mean.  The median and mode are just what they are, the median is the median, and the mode is the mode, they are not the average.   

Re: Starting Salaries
« Reply #33 on: May 24, 2006, 06:56:24 PM »

I'm still trying to defend the view that's it's not all that clear and that very many sources would state that average is only mean, and not median or mode. Before you rant again, notice I have acknowledged that some sources agree with you. But to state that only source #2 below agrees with average=mean is not exactly accurate.

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1. I, a few dictionaries, every math teacher I've ever had, the DrMath.org website, and numerous other sources are all wrong.

2. Your statistician is wrong.

I could very well introduce you to a stats faculty who happens to be a member of the National Academy of Science. In court, his opinion would far outweigh all of yours in number 1. But I've already said that that is not really going to resolve this, which is why I was looking at jurisprudence. I'm not very skilled at that yet, so the best I could find (which is pretty lame, before you point it out), the website from SCOTUS. A search for 'average' shows many cases where 'average person' is discussed, but very few deal with numbers. I found this one, where the use of average seems pretty unambiguous. And I wouldn't mess with the person saying it ...

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Kansas v. Colorado (10/4/04)

p.8
10 JUSTICE SCALIA: I understand that -- that the
11 master concluded that even as to a particular year, the
12 model will be more accurate if you use the average from
13 the previous 10 years than if you just applied the model
14 to a single year, that even as to the real results for
15 that single year, the model will be more accurate if you
16 use a 10-year average.

Now, that probably doesn't establish that the court has a clear definition of what average means, but if you ever are in a position to tell Scalia he just doesn't understand what an average is and tell it to his face in a court of law, I will give to you a nice Chateau d'Yquem 1995.

mirror

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Re: Starting Salaries
« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2006, 08:44:03 AM »

I'm still trying to defend the view that's it's not all that clear and that very many sources would state that average is only mean, and not median or mode. Before you rant again, notice I have acknowledged that some sources agree with you. But to state that only source #2 below agrees with average=mean is not exactly accurate.

Quote
1. I, a few dictionaries, every math teacher I've ever had, the DrMath.org website, and numerous other sources are all wrong.

2. Your statistician is wrong.

I could very well introduce you to a stats faculty who happens to be a member of the National Academy of Science. In court, his opinion would far outweigh all of yours in number 1. But I've already said that that is not really going to resolve this, which is why I was looking at jurisprudence. I'm not very skilled at that yet, so the best I could find (which is pretty lame, before you point it out), the website from SCOTUS. A search for 'average' shows many cases where 'average person' is discussed, but very few deal with numbers. I found this one, where the use of average seems pretty unambiguous. And I wouldn't mess with the person saying it ...

Quote
Kansas v. Colorado (10/4/04)

p.8
10 JUSTICE SCALIA: I understand that -- that the
11 master concluded that even as to a particular year, the
12 model will be more accurate if you use the average from
13 the previous 10 years than if you just applied the model
14 to a single year, that even as to the real results for
15 that single year, the model will be more accurate if you
16 use a 10-year average.

Now, that probably doesn't establish that the court has a clear definition of what average means, but if you ever are in a position to tell Scalia he just doesn't understand what an average is and tell it to his face in a court of law, I will give to you a nice Chateau d'Yquem 1995.

Do you honestly think that supports the idea that 'Average' is only 'Mean'?  Of course 'Average' and 'Mean' are synonyms, but 'Median' is also an expression of 'Average' (and frequently a more accurate depiction of 'average' in a given sample).

Re: Starting Salaries
« Reply #35 on: May 25, 2006, 09:11:26 AM »
I said:

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Now, that probably doesn't establish that the court has a clear definition of what average means,

You said:
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Do you honestly think that supports the idea that 'Average' is only 'Mean'

I say: no comments ...


And thank you for this:
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Of course 'Average' and 'Mean' are synonyms,
Thank you for stating authoritatively what we've been arguing about for quite a while now. You're lack of evidence or supporting arguments only makes it more convincing.


RockyMarciano

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Re: Starting Salaries
« Reply #36 on: May 25, 2006, 10:41:53 AM »
This thread is completely off topic. lol. It went from starting salaries to the definition of average.