All posts by ad2018

How to defend yourself against misleading statistics in the news | Sanne Blauw | deconstraction

Number is an incredible tool that makes us decide, judge and act according to the given evidence with no assumptions. However, not all these statistical numbers are reliable and this is our personal matter believe them or not. Sanne Blauw is a journalist who has a PhD degree in econometrics and is extremely passionate about numbers. Moreover, she had a working experience at the OECD and the University Council. Her talk was dedicated to reveal the misled statistics which everybody encounters with. She provided 5 types of misinforming statistics:
Firstly, the good looking graph
Not all good looking graphs might be presented right. As an example, Sanne introduced the graph of the Planned Parenthood which is non-profit organization providing reproductive health services. This graph was reported by the republican of Congressman as showing negative indicators. However, the presented data was not right as this graph was based by two different scales. Putting these patterns at the same scale would change the situation completely. The rate of cancer-screening and preventive services was decreasing but the abortion rate had hardly removed.misleading-statistic-planned-parenthood


Retrieved from
Second, the polluted poll
The headline from the New York Times was presented: “1 in 4 women experience Sex Assault on Campus”. It means almost 25 % of female students face with the cases of sexual assaults. However, the problem with this was that only 20 % of women were involved and the term of sexual assault was not clarified. Consequently, there were non-representative sample of women who interpreted the sexual assault in their own way. That is why it is also a kind of statistical lie. It is always important to see how the data was collected.
Third, the overconfident decimal point
GDP is a great indicator to show the countries` economic stability. According to the reporter this number usually varied as it is so complicated and time-consuming to calculate. Additionally, a huge range of components make GDP considerably difficult to measure. As a result, we cannot fully rely on this total value of country`s economic prosperity.
Forth, the non-spectacular statistics
Before taking some numbers for granted, it is essential to pay attention for details. Therefore, additional context or details might turn more considerable numbers into less ones. The case of bowel cancer risk is considered there. Headline in the Dutch News reported that: “People who eat processed meat daily have a 20 times higher risk of getting bowel cancer”. Sanne emphasized that according to the data there is only 4,4 % chance of getting bowel cancer in the USA. If you eat daily about one hot-dog still this number will increase slightly to 5,2%. However, the chance of NOT getting cancer is significantly greater. So, putting numbers in a context is essential as well.
Fifth, The cocky correlation
Some the same things happen at the same that is why researches assume they are connected with each other somehow. The reported introduced the graph of the increased number of brain tumors from 80s to 90s. The researchers assumed that this increase is due to the invention of artificial sugar at this period. But the reason lied simply on the invention of MRI scanners which contributed to the revealing of more numbers of brain tumors. The speaker described this case as the most dangerous distorted statistic.
Overall, the author raised great ideas and observations worth to spread. During the presentation she was confident and organized. From the very beginning she used a couple of techniques to involve the audience as asking questions, saying jokes and famous statements, as well as proving her personal background information. While making reports people sometimes did not examine the data correctly. From the presented topic we as students can learn to be very careful with numbers despite the original sources and providers. However, some points of her presentation are taken from other internet resources that is why we cannot assume that they are her own ideas. Her speech is seemed dedicated mainly to raise people`s awareness of misinform statistics around us.

How to stay calm when you know you’ll be stressed? | Daniel Levitin (deconstraction)

Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin presented the topic of the ways evading critical mistakes under the stress. However, as the title of the video is “How to stay calm when you know you will be stressed” the information provided by the presenter is considerably different. Consequently, people who are searching the means of self-control in stressful situations will be misled.
Based on his personal experience Daniel tried to explain how people can prevent undesirable consequences in the condition of “cloudy thinking”. The speaker started from the recent predicament in his life. He returned to his own house and found that he had forgotten the keys of his house. Because it was around midnight time and terrible cold outside he had to break his basement window with a large rock. Next morning he had a flight to Europe but under the stress he had forgotten his passport at home and returned to bring it. This was a great example how people encounter a chain of egregious situations triggered by the stressed condition.
The presenter supported his recommendations by explaining that human brain release cortisol in stressful state that overshadows your logical thinking. The first advice is a notion of “pre-mortem” when you try to anticipate any failures. As an example, he suggested to place easily lost things at the same place. However, this is an appropriate rationale only for ameliorating the possible unfavorable conditions of always losing some staffs than preventing misfortunes. Despite such measures, people can simply forget to take the keys, wallets or phones with them. Also, the question is raised: How is it possible to think beforehand about every potential negative aftermath? Additionally, it might lead to more stressful condition. Another author`s suggestion is about cases of travelling, he adviced to take photos of your passport, credit cards, driver license and mail it to the cloud. So, the presenter emphasizes that it might facilitate its replacement if these things are stolen. Two abovementioned suggestions might take place but the speaker did not pinpoint the negative consequences of going them also wrong. The otherwise case is if the phone and online documents get into the hands of frauds it will turn to more disastrous results. This offer is rather pertinent, yet it is commonsensical to prepare a list of necessary things and then check every point while packing.
The last thing mentioned by the author is to recognize that in any tough situation you are not able to make a good decision. For instance, a doctor prescribed you statin, a drug that decrease the level of cholesterol in your body. From the author`s words, this drug diminishes the amount of cholesterol only of one person in 300. It seems unreliable data as it is unlikely that doctor could prescribe such strong medicines only for the sake of giving a recipe. An additional point is that approximately 5 % of patients might have the side effects of taking this drug. It means that 15 people from 300 might be affected by side effects that are considerably higher. Because of this the author alleges very person has to take a conversation with the doctor about possible risks. I ascertain the last advice very relevant and useful because people sometimes do not realize even how they are entangled in a chain of tough situations.
The main claim of the author is that humans need to train themselves to think ahead to prevent these harmful situations. Generally, the speaker addressed the great topic and notions to consider. So, Daniel revealed such meaningful terms and processes as cortisol, pre-mortem helpful to understand the nature of human behavior and reactions. During his talk, the manner of giving presentation was confident and persuasive, and speech was clear and simple. Although, the speaker tried to support every idea by the example, they do not get the reader to the answer. Most of recommendations are obscure and feeble devoid of meticulous analysis. Personally, I liked this presentation as it involved significant issues and new information.


Interpretation of language variations in Son Paskal`s speech (data interpretation)


Kazakhstan might be a captivating area for variationist sociolinguistics due to its multilingual diversity. One good example is the famous musician Son Paskal`s speech as a representative of a multilingual speaker. It is interestingly to consider the variation of his language choice as well as its influence on his language identity. Qualitative analysis will be helpful to identify the reasons of his language choice and other participants` view of his identity.
This data interpretation is based on the video of the Kazakhstani comedian program “Du gol Shokolad” with the participation of famous musician Son Paskal. Son Paskal is a 27 year old Italian musician who has Italian origin. He had studied in London for 3 years and then moved to Kazakhstan. He is known for such popular song as “Englishman in Shymkent” which is a parody for Sting`s song “Englishman in New York”. Another motivating song “You should speak Kazakhsha” based on a mixed variation of English-Kazakh words in the text. Chosen short video demonstrates the language shifting from Kazakh to English and Russian and vice versa.
According to Labov (2012), under the influence of the social processes the speakers` linguistic habits change and lead to adoption of certain linguistic forms. It is noticeable from this video how Son can use a variety of languages: Russian, Kazakh and English. Obviously, Son Paskal speaks English free but in Kazakh he is not so confident, however, during the interview we can notice how he shifted from the English language to Kazakh and added Russian words. It might be strong indicator that he realizes the importance of all three languages in our country. In such way for the question of the host about his favorite word in Kazakh he answered: “My really really favorite word samyi lutshi kazaksha kanagattandyrmagandyktarynyzdan”. The words “Samyi lutshi” meant “the best” presented in Russian and the word “kazakhsha” meant “in Kazakh” used in Kazakh. In this case we highlight that the variation of 3 languages took place. Additionally, Son Paskal indicated the longest word “kanagattandyrmagandyktarynyzdan” in Kazakh as his favorite and his ability to say it correctly and precisely though it is hard to pronounce even for native speakers. Thus, we see how Kazakhstan`s trilingual language policy might affect the language choice even of foreigners and their ability to realize the importance of speaking Kazakh.
The environment and content play a significant role in language choice. As Ersoy (2017) pointed out the illustration of code switching occurs in the relation to different variables as context, participants and topic. Likewise, hosts of the program were not very well in English. After greeting and introducing Son Paskal a host announced, “Our English is not so good sol, we should speak shala agylshinsha”. Thus, he switched from English to Kazakh by adding words “sol” with the meaning “so” in English and “shala agylshinsha” which meant “not pure English”. In Kazakhstan there are numerous jokes about native Kazakhs who are not able to speak Kazakh purely. That is why the phase “shala-kazakhsha” which regards to the mixture of Russian and Kazakh words is widely used. However, it has more negative connotation as “a wrong language” variation. The speaker used humorous way of new phrase “shala-agylshinsha” as it was the comedian program. The program is conducted only in Kazakh but this time the hosts asked almost all questions in English, but some words were shifted to Kazakh.
Another interesting issue is how Kazakh people perceive foreigners` identities who can speak Kazakh. The host asked Paskal “If you are from Italy, you are Italian?” Paskal answered as “Zhok, men kazakpyn, myn olip myn tirilgen”. The phrase which he chose is in Kazakh and its translation is “No, I am Kazakh, dying and rising thousands of times”. These lines are from the poem of outstanding Kazakh enlightener Zhuban Moldagaliev emphasizing the strength of Kazakh identity. In other words, the learning and using Kazakh in his everyday life and music experience have changed his language identity towards Kazakh. Noticeably, the hosts` reacted positively showing their appreciation of his choice. Furthermore, Paskal several times used word “zema” and “brat” which were youth slang devoting “person is from the same hometown as you” and “male friend who are very close to you”. The following words have Russian origin but widely used in the Kazakh language particularly among young generation. As the interviewers and the interviewee represented young generation they used relevant slang. We considered language variations changed in the frameworks of content, participants and topic.
To sum up, languages are closely tied to each other particularly when they exist within one country. Multilingual people choose particular words or expressions in different languages due to a variety reasons depending on the environment, interlocutors and intentions. Personally, I believe that this was a good example of tolerance which exists in our country. Speakers show the respect towards each other’s language: hosts tried to speak English but that was not their native language as well as it was not even the language in which they usually lead the program. Their guest also showed that he can speak Kazakh and that he is very curious about it.
Ersoy, H. (2017). Code-switching among languages: the instance of Bashkir literary language. Journal of Dil Arastizmalari. 2161(77), 61-77. Retrieved from
Labov, W. (2012). The social stratification of English in New-York City. Cambridge [UK]. Cambridge University Press.
“Son Paskal. Shala-agylshinsha interview. Du Gol Shokolad”. YouTube, uploaded by Marat Oralgazin, 30 October 2012,

Discrimination against women

It is believed that the image of Kazakh women, as a parent who bringing up children, as a wife contributing to the wellbeing of her family, as an employee trying to achieve her career goals, is constantly changing throughout the history. However, the truth might be much further from reality.
Nowadays state policy goals aimed at gender equality and family issues are reflected in the strategy of development of Kazakhstan up to 2030, strategy of gender equality in Kazakhstan for 2006-2016. Despite the recognition of the women`s rights disparity, there is still the effect of ‘glass ceiling’ when women of the same nationality and age, the same level of education, the same amount of workload, have lower salary, less prospective job position and work conditions as compared with men. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (OECD, 2017) average monthly salary for males was 25, 3 % higher than for females in Kazakhstan. The economically active women`s proportion from the age of 15 and over was 65 %, which approximately 10% less than the share of employed men (OECD, 2017). OECD report on Gender Policy Delivery in Kazakhstan confirmed that these women are usually self-employed, and they lack any working arrangements like social security benefits, working conditions and pensions (2017). Woman are involved mainly in traditionally feminized sectors as health, education, food, financial service and insurance with low-paying wages (OECD, 2017). Overall, there is a constant gap in gender equality in Kazakhstani society. On the other hand, there are some fundamental issues that need to be considered:
From the ancient times, Nomadic females were not given any credits or excuses because of their psychological and biological characteristics so they got used to complete the same tasks as their male counterparts. Aldashev and Guirkinger (2012) indicate the salient role of Kazakh women:
Whereas a Kazakh man spends most of the year on the horseback, in continuous moves, taking care of social affairs of the kin, district, and village, his wife remains the real head of the household and manages all of it, thus reducing her husband to the role of the nominal head.
However, several researchers highlighted the act of discrimination, sad conditions and ignorance of the women`s rights in the Kazakh society (Aldashev & Guirkinger, 2012; Abdirajymova & Bizhigitova, 2014). This deep-rooted patriarchal attitude still places an additional burden on the stereotypical roles of women.
Society, family, school play a significant role in our future beliefs, behavior and assumptions. It is approved that the parents` expectations on their children differ in terms of their gender belonging. (Karimova, 2009) From the personal experience I can firmly state that Kazakh people tend to believe that if you are a woman there is no need to enroll for a graduate education, have a career promotion, to participate in politic or economic life because, in any case, your role will be restricted by the boundaries of our society.
According this data there is an enormous difference between opportunities for females and males in our society. It leads to women`s inability to exercise greater autonomy over their own lives.
My question: Is it necessary to avoid such gender inequality? Why?



Abdirajymova, A. S., Zharkynbayeva, R. S., & Bizhigitova, S. (2014) The Image of the Kazakh Women in the Works of Russian Authors in the Context of Imperial Policy in the Steppes (The End of the XVIII – Beginning of XX Century). Procedia-Social and behavioral Sciences, 140(2014), 671-676.
Aldashev, G., & Guirkinger, C. (2012) Deadly anchor: Gender bias under Russian colonization of Kazakhstan. Explorations in Economic History, 49(4), 399-422.
Karimova, Zh., K. (2009). Образовательный уровень женщин Франции и Казахстана: опыт сравнительного анализа [Educational levels of women in France and Kazakhstan: attempts at the comparative analysis]. RUDN journal. 1(4), 86-94. Retrieved from
OECD (2017), Gender Policy Delivery in Kazakhstan, OECD Publishing, Paris.
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Do Kazakhstani students depend on marks?

This is the question you might be asked during your academic studying or teacher experience. From my own observations, students usually tend to exaggerate greatly the importance of the marking. So, what are the reasons for this tendency? As a teacher and as a student I can state that the fear to lose a scholarship, the desire to meet the parents` expectations or the wish to be the absolute best in the competitive group are what can make our students get passionate about grading. However, that might be simply because of our misunderstanding towards the meaning and the functions of the received marks.
On the other hand, we should take into consideration the historical roots of this question. Obviously, Educational system in the Post-Soviet Time was aimed mostly on the received results. It means what to teach was the privileged issue rather than how to teach. As teachers concerned about the information and materials for teaching, students measured the quantity of their knowledge by the corresponding grading. However, nowadays the student is the consumer who is taught to learn independently and consciously.
Lewis and Loy`s investigation (2017) showed that the students` attitude towards grading and learning differs mainly by their grading practice on the disciplines. They pointed out that students appreciate the grading which is followed by fair and critical feedback, clear and consistent expectations from the instructor. Moreover, most students highlighted the importance of intellectual curiosity which can take place if there is appropriate classroom management, organized and thoughtful course. These findings confirm the significance of teacher contribution to students` understanding of the marking.
Are there any other factors that may influence the Kazakhstani students` perceptions on marks?
Lewis, C. S., Della Williams, B., Sohn, M. K., & Loy, T. C. (2017). The Myth of Entitlement: Students’ Perceptions of the Relationship Between Grading Practices and Learning at an Elite University. The Qualitative Report,22(11), 2997-3010. Retrieved from