Painting Statistical Joy

I don’t remember being a faithful follower of Sesame Street; perhaps its heyday of influence occurred before I could remember such things. I do, however, remember a strong affinity for This Old House, The New Yankee Workshop, and The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. If you, like me, enjoyed the friendly and happy little stylings of Bob Ross, do yourself a favor and head over to FiveThirtyEight for Walt Hickey’s statistical analysis of the best painting show ever:

In total, Ross painted 381 works on the show, relying on a distinct set of elements, scenes and themes, and thereby providing thousands of data points. I decided to use that data to teach something myself: the important statistical concepts of conditional probability and clustering, as well as a lesson on the limitations of data.

This was a fun, if not mind bending at times, read for me. I loved taking the trip down memory lane and trying to scan the deepest recesses of my brain to recall if I ever witnessed the rare bridge or cliff. I’m almost certain I never saw a palm tree.