The least squares method

Author: Tater Gumfries

Abstract: When they's a bunch of dots on your graph paper representin data, you can draw a nice smooth line through them in a way that looks real nice and don't use a lot of ink.

Sometimes a column of numbers that you wrote down from measurin something ain't the easiest thing to read, especially if you want to get an idea of what the hell's goin on. Let's suppose you was out in the field measurin the corn. You write down the numbers, and even if they's all arranged neat like in a row, it's kinda hard to see what's goin on. So you draw a little dot that's just as high off the bottom of that paper as the corn is, cept in inches instead of feet. Then you connect them up, but it's all raggety lookin. Tater's gonna show you a way to smooth that all out and make it easier to read.

Smoothin out them dots
So you got all them little dots representin the height of the corn or whatnot, and they's on that paper with all the little squares predrawed on it. You know the kind, with the light blue lines they got over to the Walgreens? Well sir, you connect em up, just like the connect the dot pictures in the funnies, but it looks all rough and jaggy, like them lines in front of your eyes on a Sunday morning.

Here's a little trick: try to follow them dots, but not real close, so's that the line don't actually connect but a few of them, but kinda comes close enough to all of them. You do that and here's something you'll notice -- if'n you did it right, that connectin line goes through the least number of squares possible. You connect any more of them zigs and zags, and you'll go through more of them little squares. 

That's what ol Tater calls the "least squares method" of connectin the dots, or comin pretty close, anyways