Monday, March 28, 2005

Bad math

I cannot read a story with figures and percentages without figuring out if the numbers match up. I blame a mathematically obsessed former copy editor friend (that is, she's a former copy editor, not a former friend) for this.

This Salon article is not guilty of bad math. The pyschologist interviewed for the article posits that 4% of people are sociopaths. The interviewer writes, correctly, that this translates to one in every 25 people.

1/25 = .04, or 4%

So far, so good.

However, in one of the letters to the editor, an angry reader expresses disbelief that "25 out of every 100 people are clinically sociopathic." I feel like contacting the letter-writer and saying, "You're absolutely right--and the psychologist in question would agree with you!"

Sorry, it's the little things that piss me off. And the big things, too.


Anonymous Blogbelle said...

The post started off with math, and the rest turned into mumbo jumbo. Good thing I'm a law student, I guess.

11:20 PM, March 28, 2005  
Blogger Suzanne said...

I feel your pain.

9:42 AM, March 29, 2005  
Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

Do you have to link to the big things, Angry Pregnant Lawyer? It gets me all angried up before bedtime.

I bet none of those pharmacists are refusing to fill Viagra prescriptions.

10:21 PM, March 29, 2005  
Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

(Still angry about it the next morning. Grrrrr.)

9:06 AM, March 30, 2005  
Blogger Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

I like a woman that won't let go of the anger. :-)

9:10 AM, March 30, 2005  

Post a Comment

<< Home