Absent For A Bit ....

I am away for a little while working on a few or more episodes for The Adventures of My Space Alien Alter Ego story ... will return (to Earth) soon!

Notice: Blogger has screwed up and lost a bunch of photos out of my blog! They are replaced with a gray silhouette of a human head. I will eventually get them replaced with the correct photo, it may take a while to find and fix everything. So some of my stories don't make much sense without their photos, sorry for the inconvenience.



Just Say Know To Math

The nearby city of Amarillo, Texas recently banned the use of cellular telephones while driving. There was an online article in the Amarillo newspaper that used some data in a questionable manner, so I wrote this online comment:

The article expressed [an] increase of 57 accidents for the time period 2006 to 2010 from 3,352 to 3,409, which is a little less than 2 percent increase, which may or may not be a statistically valid increase based on the data collection methods. The population increase in the same time period for the state of Texas was approximately 8 percent, which would mean that the more important per capita accident rate actually decreased. When you factor in the probable (I have no data for this) increase in the ownership of cellular telephones in the same time frame, this would indicate an improvement in driver behavior concerning cellular telephone usage while driving.

[end of my online comment]

I came back to the article 7 hours later to see if anyone had any responses to my comment, but there were no comments. BUT in the upper right corner I noticed there had been 4 votes cast about my comment, one thumbs up, BUT THREE thumbs down.

WHAT?!?!? All I did was point out that a piece of their supporting data was logically backwards.

In case you want to know, I don't text and drive. I don't usually talk on a cell phone when driving, unless I am in the middle of nowhere, which in my part of Texas is probably half of my driving time.


Shelly said...

There are some people out there who do'nt have a proper appreciatin for math and statistics. The statistics courses I took in grad school were some of rhe most challenging I've had, and I have a healthy respect and admiration for those who wield those numbers with ease.

fmcgmccllc said...

In my opinion, I always have one, people do not like having the media bested by facts. They also do not like people smarter than they themselves are. They know this because it would never occur to them to fact check and do the math.

Rob Z Tobor said...

In the UK the police can fine you on the spot for using a mobile phone while driving as it has been illegal for sometime. In fact you can be fined for using a mobile phone in a car if you are stationary (or is that the writing paper) while stuck in a traffic jam.

Having said that it does not stop the general public from still doing it. People have been sent to prison for using mobile phones if they are involved in accident while using the phone.

It does appear to me that in pure mathematical terms what you say is correct. But having been bashed about in a car accident when hit head on by a man on the wrong side of the road, I refer folk to watch the road and concentrate a bit.

Joanne Noragon said...

I read an editorial recently about comments and posts to articles. Sadly, cannot remember where. The gist of it was, statistically, people who disagree are most likely to vote or comment. So, your right on tract, statistically speaking.

esbboston said...

Update: yea! The tide is turning, I am now at 4 thumbs UP and stiLL only 3 thumbs down.

I text quite often as a passenger, and the main person I text is my best friend Susie. But she stiLL thinks I am driving and texting from time to time and berates me. I think the most interesting time was when I sent her a message with attached photos demonstrating how polarized sunglasses won't work with an iPad that has been rotated 90 degrees. I thought, "Yes, like I am reaLLy going to try driving while holding my iPad between my knees, rotating a pair of sunglasses with one hand while holding an iPhone in the OTHER hand to take photographs while cruising through Texas at 70 miles per hour, uh huh, I am reaLLy going to do that, um, -NO-" - besides, there was no steering wheel in the photographs.

esbboston said...

As of 2012.12.17, almost three months after the original publication, I am at 5 thumbs up, and 3 down in the online newspaper.

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