Month: January 2012

Conspiracy manipulations

Have you heard about how contrails are spreading mind-control chemicals over the cities? Or did you know that the Trilateral Commission commissioned the 9/11 attacks? Or that the fluoride in tap water helps keep the general population slightly stupider, and helps drug companies sell ‘cures’ for ailments that the fluoride causes in the first place? No? Seriously? You don’t follow conspiracy theories? I’ll bet that you didn’t even know that a number of CEOs, including those of GM, Goodyear, and Dupont, allied with a senator, tried to recruit a US general to lead a coup against the President and...

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Manipulating numbers, part 1

“There are lies, damned lies, and statistics” – Benjamin Disraeli It’s hard to get anyone excited about statistics. Oxford mathematician Peter Donelly once said that statisticians were people who liked figures, but lacked the people skills to become accountants. But statistics matter. They are often used to influence policy, make claims, manipulate people… and so they fully deserve a blog entry on The reason that statistics can be used to manipulate people is that they can be fairly complex, and that mathematics don’t always behave in simple, intuitive ways. In the right hands, this can be very useful...

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