The New York Times reviews Charles Seife’s “Proofiness”
Date: September 17, 2010
Charles Seife is steaming mad about all the ways that numbers are being twisted to erode our democracy. We’re used to being lied to with words (“I am not a crook”; “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”). But numbers? They’re supposed to be cold, hard and objective. Numbers don’t lie, and they brook no argument. They’re the best kind of facts we have. And that’s precisely why they can be so powerfully, persuasively misleading…(read more)
Household Income: When you look a little closer, it’s not as straightforward as it first appears …
Thomas Sowell: Household income statistics misleading
Date: September 7, 2016
Mark Twain famously said that there were three kinds of lies — “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Since this is an election year, we can expect to hear plenty of all three kinds. Even if the statistics themselves are absolutely accurate, the words that describe what they are measuring can be grossly misleading.
Household income statistics are an obvious example… (read more)
US Poverty Rate is Still 14.5%; But Yes, The War On Poverty Worked
Date: September 16, 2014
Source: Worstall, T., Forbes.com
Census has just released the poverty rate numbers for 2013 and they’re roughly static at 14.5% of the population. This is also roughly the rate that existed as Johnson’s Great War on Poverty ramped up. But despite the fact that the rate, as we measure it, has stayed roughly the same, that’s because of the way that we measure it. The actual war on poverty, on people living in poverty, has been highly successful …(read more)
The War on Poverty Wasn’t A Failure — It Was A Catastrophe
Date: March 19, 2014
Source: Woodhill, L., Forbes.com
Has the War on Poverty been a failure? Well, of course it has. If you devote 50 years and $21.5 trillion (in 4Q2013 dollars) to anything, and people are arguing about whether it was a success or a failure, then you can be sure that it was a failure …(read more)
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1971 to reduce the number of workplace injuries. Over the next 34 years, workplace fatalities declined precipitously, a fact often repeated by OSHA officials to highlight the agency’s effectiveness. The chart below, from OSHA, suggests that this government agency is doing an impressive job reducing workplace fatalities and continues to deserve taxpayer support.
True, but …
Now take a look at the following chart that shows the annual number of workplace fatalities not just from 1971, but from 1933, long before OSHA was founded. This expanded chart reveals that workplace fatalities declined at the same pace both before and after OSHA was created – a context suggesting that OSHA has had little impact on reducing workplace fatalities.
Source: Stossel, J. (2012). No, they can’t: Why government fails–but individuals succeed. New York: Threshold Editions.
Source: J. David Spence, David J.A. Jenkins, Jean Davignon. Egg yolk consumption and carotid plaque. Atherosclerosis, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2012.07.032
Newly published research shows that eating egg yolks accelerates atherosclerosis in a manner similar to smoking cigarettes. Surveying more than 1,200 patients, Dr. Spence found regular consumption of egg yolks is about two-thirds as bad as smoking when it comes to increased build-up of carotid plaque, a risk factor for stroke and heart attack.
Well, maybe not …
Date: April 18, 2015
Source: Mike Roussell, livestrong.com
In the world of nutrition, few debates have remained as heated as the great egg debate. For nearly 40 years, researchers have tried to determine whether your omelets, scrambled eggs and frittatas are actually healthy. The argument against has always revolved around two simple factors — eggs are high in fat and cholesterol. So it’d be easy to assume that removing the yolk or avoiding eggs altogether are part of any get-back-in-shape diet plan. But a closer look at the research reveals that the real debate about eggs is why there was any question about their health benefits. In fact, a quick look at the most common myths shows that making eggs a standard part of your diet is one of the best decisions you can make.