Showing 1 - 10 of 15 posts found matching keyword: statistics
Thursday 12 November 2020
The Georgia Secretary of State has decided that the "risk limiting audit" of the state's 2020 general election for President of the United States will include every single vote cast and be recounted by human hand. If memory serves, the current Secretary of State's election slogan was "Bring Backus the Abacus." (Which, to be fair, was more progressive than his predecessor, whose platform was "You Voted For Who I Say You Vote For.")
According to the SoS's website, 4,991,854 Georgians voted in the election. If one person were to count one ballot per second continuously, it would take that person 58 days. Of course, he'd be dead then, so he might not want to do that.
If ten people were working together, they could complete the task in a week. A hundred could get it done in one intense work day (with overtime). Too bad they can't put 1,000 people in a room with all 5 million votes. Done in under 2 hours!
Each county has to count its own ballots. If Coweta County is lucky enough to get 6 salaried employees together (in state-mandated teams of two) to recount their 76,799 ballots, they'll need 2 full work days (with no water breaks). Coweta is the 17th largest county in the state, so expect several counties to take longer. Lucky tiny Taliaferro (159th of 159 in population) should be able to count to 928 within an hour.
All this number crunching just to validate that maybe we will, finally, definitively know by next Friday where Georgians collectively stand on the question of which old white guy they want in the federal executive mansion. Personally, I'll take the one who can count.
Monday 4 May 2020
As I type this, the United States has 1.188 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 68,276 deaths. More Americans have already died in the past 2 months from COVID-19 than died in the entire Vietnam War. And it's not over yet. By the time you read this, those numbers will be worse.
A quick computation of those figures reveals a current mortality rate of nearly 6%. If you've been paying attention (what else have you got to do?), you may remember that back at the beginning of March, the World Health Organization was estimating a 3.4% mortality rate — an estimate our wise president chose to call "a false number" in a live television interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News. He objected to the WHO number not because it was too low, but because it was much, much to high. "I would say the number is way under one percent," said the president.
(Footnote for future historians: That comment was made on March 4. A month later, April 14, Trump withdrew funding to the WHO claiming that they failed to report the true danger of the virus back in January. Quote: "The reality is that the WHO failed to adequately obtain that and share information in a timely and transparent fashion." By that logic, I guess we should stop funding the current American president, too.)
Testing continues to be a problem, so we can't really be sure that the 1,188,122 number I referenced above is the true extent of the contamination. If we assume that the actual mortality rate is closer to 3.4% previously observed in other countries, it would mean that over 2 million Americans currently have or have had the disease. That's over a million hidden, untreated, pandemic-spreading cases. Sure seems like someone should be thinking twice about opening those shopping malls, Governor Kemp.
Also unreported in all those grim details is another victim of COVID-19. Specifically, I'm talking about my flattop.
I haven't seen a barber in over a decade, but in an act of solidarity with coronavirus-positive Tom Hanks (and maybe a little laziness), I decided to go ahead and trim my hair down to the scalp. Does it make me look more bald or less?
These days, the fact that I'm alive and well enough to worry about such things feels like an accomplishment.
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Monday 5 August 2019
In the past 48 hours, at least 35 people were shot in Dayton, Ohio and another 46 were shot in El Paso, Texas. Those are the headlines, but they're only the tip of the Titanic-sized iceberg that is gun violence in America.
Excluding suicides, over 26,000 people have been shot in the USA this year to date, which puts us on pace for 44,000 by the end of December. By those numbers, an American has a roughly 1 in 74,000 chance of being shot each year. That's only slightly worse than the odds that you'll die in a motorcycle accident. Except, of course, that to die on a motorcycle, you have to first be *on* a motorcycle. The person who shoots you will generously donate the necessary bullet.
Right now, it seems there's not a whole lot you can do to avoid getting shot. Night clubs, bars, and retail stores seem to attract shooters, but so do schools and churches. Outdoor festivals are popular, and your workplace is a death sentence waiting to happen. Sadly, you're most likely to get shot in your own house by a member of your family, so staying home is no help.
About all you can do for sure is stay away from other people entirely, and even that is no guarantee. My friend Randy, who lives a good fifteen minutes from anything I would call civilization, has had people shoot into his house from the street 100-yards away, apparently just to see if they could. Guns are cool!
Personally, I love attending live sporting events. So far, those have been generally bullet-hole free, but that's clearly only a temporary condition. I hope I don't get shot at a football game. I probably won't; many people ride a motorcycle their whole life without dying on one. But if the worst does happen, know that I was shot doing what I loved: running in panic from someone shooting people. U-S-A!
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Monday 4 March 2019
The National Safety Council says that the odds of an American dying from a fall are 1 in 114. That's about twice as likely as the chance of death from a gun assault (1 in 285) but five times more common than the chance of dying while going for a walk (1 in 556). The specific odds of dying from falling down the stairs is 1 in 1,662. Yesterday morning, I nearly became a statistic.
I woke up early to take July outside to go potty before the bad weather rolled in. I didn't bother to change shoes and wore my slippers in the dewy grass. Returning to the house, I wiped her wet feet but not mine. Then we both went back downstairs to return to bed. Thanks to my slippery slippers, one of us went faster than the other.
Spoiler alert: I didn't die. But I do have an uncomfortably twisted ankle and abrasions on my elbows. And I've certainly learned a valuable lesson. From now on, the dog can go potty in the rain.
Wednesday 16 January 2019
A) The National Safety Council reports that as of 2017, Americans are more likely to die from an accidental opiod overdose than from a car accident.
B) I don't take opiods, so I cannot overdose.
C) Therefore, I must not be an American.
That's called logic.
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Wednesday 8 November 2017
True statement: in 2017, you are 4x more likely to be a victim in a mass shooting (1 in 169,000) than be struck by lightning (1 in 700,000). I'm sure the NRA will move to correct that problem by buying up the country's supply of lightning rods.
While it's tempting to say that America has a gun problem, keep in mind that there are some things out there worse than guns. Of course, I'm talking about deer.
I've mentioned before that StateFarm has calculated the average American has a 1 in 169 chance of being struck by a deer. Those odds are terrifying, and I think they go a long way to explaining why America is obsessed with guns.
Just yesterday, the New York Post ran the headline "Deer gores unarmed hunter to death". As bad as it sounds, a closer read reveals the goring took place in France. France is far more restrictive about guns than America is. If that poor hunter had lived in America, he'd probably still be alive today. (Unless he was involved in a mass shooting.)
It was reported last year that a lightning storm killed 323 reindeer in Norway. That's a lot of deer, but it isn't enough. It's been estimated that there are 30 million deer in America. At 1 in 700,000, it'll take 21 trillion bolts of lightning to get them all. Obviously, lightning's going to need some help. We're going to need all the guns we can get our hands on to win the Great Deer Uprising.
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Thursday 24 August 2017
The September issue of Reader's Digest includes an excerpt from Ben Bratt's book Nabokov's Favorite Word is Mauve. In typical clickbait fashion, the magazine titles its article "Have Bestsellers become Dumber?" There's a maxim in journalism that any question posed in a headline can be answered with the word "no." In this case, the answer is a slightly more complicated "kind of."
The argument Bratt makes is that most bestselling books these days are written on a 6th grade reading level, a significant decline from the 8th grade reading level of most bestsellers half a century ago. Personally, I hesitate to blame this on the "dumbing down" of readers. As a child, I was taught that any writing intended for a mass audience should be written on a 7th grade level. I suspect that modern authors have taken that advice to heart and, in the interest of finding an audience, doubled down. After all, if a 7th grade level reaches the average reader, a 6th grade level casts a wider net.
Of course, reading this made me wonder about my own books. Now that I'm an author myself, where does my personal style fall? To answer that question, I took my first three books and ran them through an online text parser. It gave me an "A" for readability but complained that my words have too many syllables. I didn't realize that was a problem. Perhaps naively, I assumed that words had all the syllables they needed.
Over the course of the three books (255,437 words in 25,235 sentences), I averaged 1.4 syllables per word. That's too high? I like Green Eggs and Ham as much as the next guy, but I also like most of my meals to be slightly more complicated.
Otherwise, what did the text parser tell me about my writing? My books are 37% nouns or pronouns, 21% verbs, 7% adjectives, and 6% adverbs, and they should take about 20 hours to read. That information gives no hint about whether my stories are entertaining, just that humans won't pull out their hair trying to make sense of my grammar. That's better than nothing, I suppose.
Oh, it also told me that my writing averages a 7th grade reading level. Surprise, surprise.
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Thursday 14 March 2013
What with the rampant street crime, organized gangs of psychotics, and corrupt officials, no one in their right mind would want want to live in Gotham City.
"The Lawmen of the Sea," Batman #20, 1943
Three suicide attempts a week? That seems like a lot, even for
New York Gotham City. What does the internet have to say about that?
From www.nj.com: The three jumps [from the George Washington Bridge] in less than a week's time [week of June 18, 2012] is not typical, [Port Authority Spokesman] Della Fave said. "It's been a tough year on the bridge," he said.
Overall, the New York City Department of Health and Human Hygiene reports that the city's suicide rate was 6 in 100,000 citizens in 2011. Compare that to the national average of 12 in 100,000. The city with the highest rate is flat, dry Las Vegas, with 35 in 100,000.
It sounds like if Batman is really interested in making a difference, he should spend some time in Sin City.
Saturday 5 January 2013
These statistics from my year-long movie watching experiment in 2012 may interest no one but me, but it's my blog. So there.
First up is actors. You can see the totals for January through June here.
- July: Arthur O'Connell, Ryan Gosling (2)
- August: Lillian Gish (2)
- September: Karl Urban, Maureen O'Hara, the Thunderbirds cast (2)
- October: Jonah Hill, Lionel Barrymore, Owen Wilson, Rance Howard, Regis Toomey, Stephen Colbert (2)
- November: Tilda Swinson (2)
- December: Dee Bradley Baker, Myrna Loy, William Powell (3)
- Total: William Powell(8); Kristen Stewart, Myrna Loy (7)
Comedies continued to be the big draw for me, 82 in all. What can I say, I like to laugh. Dramas was a distant runner up overall, although there were as many months in which I watched more action movies than any other type as there were months where dramas were the leading category (2 each).
By the end of June, I hadn't seen any director's work more than two times. By the end of the year, I smashed that ceiling, seeing more than 2 films from four separate directors (W.S. Van Dyke , Frank Capra , Morgan Spurlock , David Gordon Green ). Van Dyke directed the best of the Thin Man movies, and was very skilled with giving the actors room to work and showing the clues to the mysteries, without making it entirely obvious that was what he was doing. I enjoyed his work.
Given that I've seen all 5 Twilight movie this year and that they were all written by Melissa Rosenbrerg, it seems a no-brainer than she should be the most-watched screenwriter of the year. And she was. The only other writer I saw more than twice was Frank Capra's frequent partner in crime, Robert Riskin (4). For the record, I saw multiple films from 20 different writers, and Paddy Chayefsky and William Rose both stand out from the crowd.
In case you were wondering, the studio that released most of the pictures I saw was Warner Brothers (35), although MGM (34) ran a close second. I've always had a soft spot for WB films, probably because I must share some of their sensibilities. They do own DC Comics, after all.
It must be something of the Obsessive Compulsive in me, but I really enjoyed keeping track of the movies I watched, maybe more than I enjoyed watching them. Even if I don't set any goals for 2013, I might keep tracking, just for giggles. We'll see what we shall see, won't we?
Saturday 7 July 2012
Halfway through the year, it's time for statistics! Specifically, I was wondering what I've been watching this year. So here's a few notes on the year so far, broken down by month:
I suspected that I'd watch few films with my favorite actors in them, as I've already seen most of their movies. (How many movies has Bruce Campbell been in that I haven't already seen?) That has proven to be roughly the case. The following list shows the actors I've seen the most each month, and the number of films I watched them in.
- January: Justin Timberlake (2)
- February: Jason Bateman, Ernest Borgnine, Frank Conroy, Jane Lynch, Fred MacMurray (2)
- March: The Twilight Saga cast (4)
- April: Natalie Wood, Keenan Wynn (3)
- May: Joel McCrea (3) [not coincidentally, McCrea was TCM's Star of the Month in May]
- June: Mickey Rooney (3)
- Total: Allen Covert, Anna Kendrick (5)
Definitely, I have a preference for comedies. I've seen 47 movies I've categorized as comedies and 36 dramas. In only two out of six months, I've seen more dramas than comedies. In those two months, comedy was the runner-up category.
So far, the only month in which I've seen multiple movies by the same director was February, when I saw the original A Star Is Born and the very excellent The Ox-Bow Incident, both by William Wellman. While I've seen multiple films by 10 different directors, I've yet to see 3 films from any single director.
The only month in which I've seen multiple movies from the same writer was March, when I watched the 4 Twilight Saga movies adapted for screen by Melissa Rosenberg. After watching 163 movies, I've seen multiple movies from only 3 different writers.
We'll take another look at the films at the end of the year and see who ends up atop the pile.