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ziggy (25)

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Journal of ziggy (25)

Wednesday August 25, 2004
11:55 PM

Damned Statistics

[ #20571 ]
I'm in the middle of reading Damned Lies and Statistics at the moment. (I picked it up at Borders when looking for something new and interesting in the math section. I didn't know it was a textbook! Honest!)

It's a pretty good summary about how statistics are misused, mutated, and abused to affect some change or another in public policy. It's one of those books that's not really full of insight, but it's a very concise, readable summary of the topic. Specifically, it covers issues like why the number of child fatalities due to gun violence has not doubled every year since 1950 (32 Trillion kids killed in 1995? Someone's got to make more babies!), and how both the Brady lobby and the NRA can both claim that the majority of US citizens support their mutually exclusive positions.

So imagine my surprise when these statistics reappeared today. The UK upheld a complaint that Microsoft made misleading claims that Win2k3 on PC hardware is 1/10th the price of Linux on z900 hardware.

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