A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Fun With Statistics

The Wall Street Journal tells us
The fleet of battery-powered cars is rising, and their owners are more than twice as wealthy as most Americans. An Experian Automotive study found that more than 20% of them are middle-aged professionals who make more than $175,000 a year. 
TOF can already envision the headlines. Buying an electric car will make you rich!! After all, it's statisticalistic. You can't argue with stats!
(If you think that's risible, you haven't been paying attention to the way such statistics are interpreted by the axe-grinders. Married people are happier; so we should force people into marriage to make them happy! Perhaps more infamously, home-owners are more prosperous, so we should loosen the rules for mortgage qualification so the poor people can also prosper!)

Actually, the item tells us that the cost of building charging stations for the wealthy electrocar owners will be added to the rates for the utility, so that poor people will have the pleasure of subsidizing the luxuries of the rich.


Another example of Statistics in Action, due to the gimlet eye of Wm. M. Briggs, Statistician to the Stars:
When I first ascend to Emperor, after throwing into the dungeon any within earshot who cannot speak a full sentence without using ‘like’, my first act will be to create a year-long moratorium on all science publishing.
I’ll do this out of kindness. The system is rigged to tempt people beyond endurance to write papers that are either (A) nonsense or (B) what everybody already knows re-packaged as “research.” This must be stopped because it is having a terrible effect on the sanity of the nation.
As proof, I offer the peer-reviewedParental Well-being Surrounding First Birth as a Determinant of Further Parity Progression” by Rachel Margolis and Mikko Myrskyl√§ in the journal Demography, a paper which was announced by the Washington Post with the headline, “Parenthood is worse than divorce, unemployment — even the death of a partner“.
The Post’s headline is possibly the result of insanity; it is certainly nonsense.
Read the rest at the link.

1 comment:

  1. Reminded of a comment an historian made about English history: There was a price to be paid for progress, and, as usual, the poor were made to pay it.


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