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strathspey@strathspey.org:45469

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  • John Chambers

    John Chambers June 8, 2006, 6:46 p.m. (Message 45469)

    Re: Murder in Canada - Off Topic

    Anselm wrote:
    | David Yee wrote:
    | > In  defence of Canada, the number of murders in Canada in 2003 was 548, or
    | > 1.73 per 100,000 of population.  The numbers for 1998 would be similar.
    |
    | The original number does seem rather high, but that's not really the point
    | (even with 548 murders, Canada is not 182 times as dangerous as the Vatican).
    |
    | The context of Rick Moen's quote comes from the practice of counting the
    | various security advisories regarding Microsoft Windows on the one hand and
    | Linux on the other hand. This is essentially comparing apples to oranges; the
    | details are too non-SCD to go into here, but the comparison remains as
    | ridiculous as it was even with the lower numbers.
    
    Actually, the statistical reporting for computer  problems  is  worse
    than  this.  It's common to count bug reports and security advisories
    for every distribution of linux.  Since there are more than a hundred
    distribution  (some  very  specialized),  this radically inflates the
    figures.
    
    To compare with the murder statistics, it's as if one were  to  count
    the  murder  reports  from  all  publications  in  the Vatican and in
    Canada.  So a murder reported by 30 Canadian newspapers and  radio/tv
    stations  would  be  counted  30  times.  This way, 548 murders could
    easily become 150,000 "murder reports".
    
    Such a number would not necessarily be wrong.  If you  were  studying
    the  media's  reporting  of  incidents,  you  would want to count the
    reports.  But it's all too easy  for  politicians  and  marketers  to
    describe  such  numbers  in  a  way  that  confuses  "incidents" with
    "incident reports".  The linux crowd is very familiar with this  sort
    of misleading PR.
    
    In particular, consider the phrase "reported incidents".   Does  this
    count  the  incidents  or  the reports?  Most readers will assume the
    former, but it often means the latter.
    
    I wonder if we could find a similar way to inflate the amount of  SCD
    in  an area?  Can we find a way to pphrase the numbers so that people
    think we're counting the dance events, but  we're  actually  counting
    the  individual dances done at each event?  Even better, can we count
    the dancers on the floor for each individual dance,  and  report  the
    total  such  a  way that readers think we're counting the SCD events?
    I'd bet that a good PR person could manage this ...
    
    ;-)
    
    --
       _,
       O   John Chambers
     <:#/> <xx@xxxxxxxx.xxx.xxx>
       +   <xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx>
      /#\  in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, Earth
      | |
      ' `
          

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