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Saturday, August 13, 2005

What's Wrong With This Data?


I was perusing the DEA website to learn about my adopted state's drug infestation when I ran across this bar graph. *Sigh.*

Somehow the bars bear no relationship with the numbers above them...
I wonder what this could mean.

I'm trying to figure out how to get graphing software to plot something that wrong...

OK,, maybe it was a glitch, but the same problem was in the graph of Florida's Meth-lab busts. No one bothered to look at what they were posting to the web site.

Reminds me of my Air Force Officer Indoctrination Course for young doctors. Generally excellent presentations, right up till they did the "Communist Menace" lecture. They broke every rule of the honest presentation of statistical data that I was ever taught.

I have found bad statistics are the hallmark of propaganda efforts. Not that the Soviets weren't our deserved enemy, and not that drugs don't cause damage. But for some reason, both these efforts seemed to put flashy bullshit above the truth. There seems to be lots of money to be made in the presence of bad statistics.

I wonder if there's a relationship between bad statistics and blood in the streets.