Wednesday, December 27, 2006

How to present statistics with irony

Good statistical presentation makes a point clearly, accurately, and sometimes even memorably. Here's a story from The Onion that illustrates all of these.

Failed Attempt At Hyperbole Yields Dead-On Statistic
December 13, 2006 Issue 42•50

TOANO, VA—In an unsuccessful attempt Wednesday to illustrate a point through exaggeration, high-school senior Abby Hollard accurately informed classmates that someone "probably dies from AIDS every 10 seconds," the exact figure reported by the Joint United Nations Program on AIDS in 2006. "I bet, like, 40 million people have AIDS," said Hollard, failing again to embellish on the international agency's findings. "It's practically a pandemic." UN representatives said Hollard showed an impressive understanding of the crisis, although her estimate of the amount the U.S. spends combating the disease was off by about $99 billion.

Thanks to Carson

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