Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lying With Statistics

Today is Thursday, 18 February 2010.

If one has not read the classic, How to Lie with Statistics (1954), by Darrell Huff, one should.

“ … Charlie Meadows, who heads the 12-year-old Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee, which has raised more than $100,000 in support of conservative candidates throughout the years, hosts weekly luncheons at an Italian restaurant near the state Capitol, has more than 200 dues-paying members and a weekly update sent to about 3,000 e-mail addresses.” (Urban Tulsa Weekly, Feb. 18-24, 2010, p. 20)

One assumes one is meant to be impressed by “more than $100,000”. In the spirit of Mr. Huff, let’s examine if one should be.

Let’s charitably assume that the special interest group OCPAC raised $199,999. That works out to roughly $46.66 per day. If each of 200 members collected an average of 4.7 aluminum cans per day and cashed them in, $47 would have been raised each day.

Not so impressive in that light.

On this date in 1930, Clyde Tombaugh discovered the planet Pluto, while examining sky photos taken the previous month.

On this date in 1943, the core members of the White Rose resistance movement were arrested by the Gestapo.

Vanna White was born on this date in 1957.


Post a Comment

<< Home