"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Alligator Innumerancy

I love statistics. Were I in charge, no person would be permitted to vote without having taken and passed a college-level course in statistics. Otherwise, the bastards can trick you too easily.

"Trends" are always a favorite. The number of murders in a particular city increases by 10% each year until one of two things happen: It stops increasing, or everyone is dead.

Another example: Between 1952 and 1982 (a period of 30 years) The Farmer's Wife gave birth to exactly one son, a rate of about .033 children per year. But between 1983 and 1988 (a mere 5 years) her rate of production increased to .40 children per year, as she gave birth to two sons during the period. Her rate of production increased more than tenfold. By rights, she ought to have given birth to something like 20 children between 1988 and 2003.

The latter is seldom the outcome, but you'll see its equivalent with alarming frequency. (Don't believe me? Does "Social Security" ring a bell?)

Thus our attention was drawn to the CNN headline: "Alligators blamed for 2 more deaths." And, indeed, someone has done the math, and concluded:
From 1948 to 2005, 17 people have been killed by alligators in Florida -- about 0.30 deaths per year. In 2006, so far three alligator-related fatalities have occurred -- a tenfold increase over the trend. If this keeps up, 30 people will die next year, 300 in 2008, and so forth until in the year 2013 the United States experiences a shocking 300 million deaths by alligator.
Talk about being ass-deep in alligators. From The American Prospect.

Comments on "Alligator Innumerancy"


Blogger Selfish Country Music Loving Lady said ... (4:41 PM) : 

That was on CNN? Um. Wow.

Here's a bit of totally unsourced and unreliable, but interesting information about deaths caused by animals. Occasionally people get killed by sharks and alligators, but it's on the order of fewer than ten a year worldwide. Big felines and hippos cause more -- dozens to hundreds per year. But the number-one animal killer of humans is snakes, with fifty THOUSAND deaths per year.


Anonymous the oldtimer said ... (4:55 PM) : 

On a more specific level, my wife's online crossword puzzle group (Cruciverbalists), is in quite a dither over the recent headline "Alligator Attacks Puzzle Experts". They are currently doing a roll call to see whether any of there experts are missing.


Anonymous Vestryman said ... (9:13 AM) : 

In the same vein, the "fastest growing religion in America" is, almost by definition, one started by a kook yesterday who won one convert today.


post a comment