The Freakonomics Blog has an interesting entry describing a controversy in which one group of statisticians describe the road to becoming a pop culture star using one particular distribution, while another group describes why it does not work. Here is an excerpt:
in 1994, Kee Chung of SUNY-Buffalo and Raymond Cox of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology applied an equation called the Yule-Simon Distribution to this question. Their findings were that the probability distribution implied by the Yule model mirrored data gathered in the pop music industry — thereby indicating that the model could be used as a map to generate the next pop superstar.
Now, the economists Laura Spierdijk and Mark Voorneveld have tested Chung and Cox’s conclusion in their paper, “Superstars Without Talent? The Yule Distribution Controversy.” Using a “parametric bootstrap and several powerful test statistics,” they checked Chung and Cox’s data and found overwhelming evidence refuting their conclusion.