How to lie with statistics

The correlation of unrelated statistics raise eyebrows in a series of funny graphs – just the kind of cases covered in the eponymous book.

Source: “Spurious Correlations” Reveal Why Not All Graphs Should Be Trusted | The Daily Buzz

Retirement savings plan post Budget 2016

Looks like the best retirement planning that salaried employees can do given the intentions of the government to tax the EPF (or interest on EPF), is to shut down the PF before the new rules come into effect and move the balance to a tax free account in a Swiss Bank. Then all you have to do is open up a Swiss or EU company and invest in a made in India food business back home. Given some of the entrepreneurial friendly policies being introduced of late, this can only mean a secure future post retirement.

Jokes apart, it seems that this EPF taxation plan is the first step of a bigger plan that is not going to get discussed till the uproar over the issue dies down. This policy pretty much ensures that voluntary PF contributions are going to stop and that can only mean more disposable income in the hands of the salaried.

So, not only does this increase the funds for the Swachh Bharat and Agriculture schemes, but also for the increased service taxes. In the long term, this means that government has lesser interest to pay out due the lower voluntary PF contributions, plus some of that interest goes back to their kitty thanks to the taxes.

The April Fool prank that drowned

Pure dihydrogen monoxide is tasteless, but:

The DJs’ joke was totally immature—think grade-school level—and yet remarkably successful. They warned listeners that dihydrogen monoxide was coming out of the taps in the Fort Myers area. Of course, dihydrogen monoxide is water, but people were so freaked that Lee County Utilities had to make a statement saying that their water is safe to drink.

via Florida DJs Are Off the Hook for Their Successful April Fool’s Prank – Esther Zuckerman – The Atlantic Wire.

Productivity 2.0 (non-serious)

I came across a humorous post from thedailywtf.com on an “innovative” way to measure productivity through SVN check-ins, which of course met with expected results, with some employees increasing their productivity by over 600%. It also led to the development of a nice little reusable asset that could be used to increase productivity:

Still, it irked Milo that he wasn’t reaching his full productivity potential. He was wasting a lot of time writing code; time that should be spent checking code in….

…..

With his script, dubbed “PHLEGM” (Programmer’s Helper for Literally Engaging in General Machination, named by one of his colleagues), he could stretch what would usually be one checkin to 20-30 commits. It’s evolved like an open source project with his fellow team members adding new features.

The post also led me to an old Joel post on productivity related to Amazon’s attempt to measure customer service productivity based on number of calls logged:

“Thank you for calling Amazon.com, may I help you?” Then — Click! You’re cut off. That’s annoying. You just waited 10 minutes to get through to a human and you mysteriously got disconnected right away.

Or is it mysterious? According to Mike Daisey, Amazon rated their customer service representatives based on the number of calls taken per hour. The best way to get your performance rating up was to hang up on customers, thus increasing the number of calls you can take every hour.

Joel’s also been quite critical of productivity measurement and incentive based systems at work before. However, I can’t think of a better alternative to the usual rating systems used in companies, especially large ones with tens of thousands of employees. Can you?