Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Silly statistics.

Not actually fake stats, not like those used by the antismokers, antidrinkers, antieverything lot. These are a perfect example of stupid stats, where the link between cause and effect needs a descriptive word which is about five levels below 'tenuous', and yet it's reported in all seriousness.

If your name is Colin, you're going to die.

Whether you smoke or not, whether you drink or not, whether you like salt and fat and have an allergy to vegetables or not, if your name is Colin then you'd best get it changed pronto. You know, I can only think of one zombie film in which the zombie has a name. This one. Seriously, Colin, get down the town hall and change that name tomorrow, and stay away from piano deliveries to upper floors in the meantime.

It's an incredible article, very funny indeed until you get to this bit:

Men called Colin, Brian and Alan have a 47 per cent chance of having high blood pressure according to the survey commissioned by Lloyd's Pharmacy.

Someone paid for this. Someone actually thought this survey up and paid someone else to do it. That someone-else took the job and actually did the survey. Then they published a report on the results.

I turn down crap jobs. I could just take the money and write a report but I don't want my name on a crap job. It won't help me get decent work in the future. Really, what sort of 'expert' wants to be associated with something like this?

Modern science. Sometimes I despair.


banned said...

Let me guess, "Men called Colin, Brian and Alan" will tend to be from older generations and thus be more libale too ill-health?
In the same way I can show that men who wear glasses earn more money.

Btw, on the subject of made up stats.
Yesterdays proposal to reduce the drink drive limit from 80(whatevers) to 50 would result in 124 lives being saved. By this morning that had become 200 and by 5pm this afternoon BBC Radio 2 had breathlessly increased this to 300, does that count as good news (ie even more life saved) or bad (ie it's all bullshit)?

banned said...

(***oops, libale = liable)

Leg-iron said...

It won't save any lives and they know it. Those who drive over the current limit and crash are usually five to ten times over the limit. The new limit means nothing to them, just as the old limit meant nothing.

What it will do is criminalise and fine those who are still safe to drive.

It will also hasten the demise of the pub since fewer people will drive to them. Designated drivers won't want to bother if all they can have is half a shandy.

Our politicians really, really hate pubs.

JuliaM said...

"Let me guess, "Men called Colin, Brian and Alan" will tend to be from older generations and thus be more libale too ill-health?"

I wonder what a survey on the risks of dying from assault would find in men called Darren, Duwayne and Barry?

David Davis said...

According to "experts", 51.2% of all men called "Lee" are, or have been, or will be, in prison.

Stewart Cowan said...

Companies obviously "commission" these "surveys" because they know that the MSM will publish the "results" and so for a few thousand pounds worth of "research" the company gets its name in all the papers.

If it wasn't for this sort of "news" then the MSM would have to report stuff that actually matters.

Anonymous said...

ASH must be furious about this! All that hard work trying to convince people that it's smoking that causes all these things, and it turns out it's all those wretched Colins who are to blame! Outrageous!

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