“Imagine trying to tune into a radio station. Ok, you don’t use radio anymore, so imagine our dad can’t call you to get help setting up his Spotify, so is trying to tune into a radio station. He turns the dial but it’s just picking up white noise and, after a few frustrating minutes, he manages to pick up a signal and tune into a station. The same is true in statistics — there is something you’re trying to actually measure (say, how many Americans want to leave for Canada), but the data could be noisy (by including everyone who just makes a trip over the border to buy affordable medication). Noisy data are data from which it is hard to determine the true effect.
The signal is the meaningful information that you’re actually trying to detect.
The noise is the random, unwanted variation or fluctuation that interferes with the signal.”