Math and statistics are commonly misinterpreted and — sorry, journalist friends — often in headlines. It’s a small space to convey a message and the sensationalist headlines that result may increase readership or, these days, “clicks”. But sometimes they’re just not right.
Ben Orlin at Math With Bad Drawings, sought to draw attention to this travesty with a great series called “Headlines in a Math Literate World”. Some of my favorites are below, but click over to his blog for the full list. And keep these in mind next time you’re skimming the headlines.
Our World: Proposal Would Tax $250,000-Earners at 40%
Mathematically Literate World: Proposal Would Tax $250,000-Earners’ Very Last Dollar, and That Dollar Alone, at 40%
Our World: Local Heat Wave Seen as Sign of Global Warming
Mathematically Literate World: Local Heat Wave Not Seen as Meaningful Indicator of Global Trends
Our World: Still No Broad Agreement on Global Warming
Mathematically Literate World*: Still 97% Agreement on Global Warming
Our World: Average Football Player Earns $3 Million, Lasts 4 Years in NFL
Mathematically Literate World: Average Football Player Earns $0 Million, Lasts 4 Years in High School
Our World: Rates of Cancer Approach Historic High
Mathematically Literate World: Rates of Surviving Long Enough to Develop Cancer Approach Historic High