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3. The Trouble with Double

October 12, 2010

Percentages

When the Numbers involved are so SMALL the % Stated is Meaningless.

Newspapers often state that a cancer rate has doubled or increased (See pic) by 28%. Those % changes can be meaningless. For instance, double nothing is still nothing. You need the actual numbers.

 

Here is a statistic taken from Men’s Health magazine (March 2010). According to the government funded Australian Institute of Health and Welfare the actual number of Australian males who presented with melanoma in 2005 was 6,044

or   0.549  in 1,000

or 1 in 2,000.

If these numbers increase by 28% the number of Australian men presenting with melanoma will be:

 

0.703 in 1,000

or  ~ 2 in 3,000.

These numbers are not so alarming. Then again would you take any notice of statistics of a magazine that suggests a ‘sonic boom’ from a golf club is causing deafness!!!!!

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2 comments

  1. […] Errors in the Media. I’ve had many arguments with editors over maths but particularly the Trouble with Double problem. Read on mathspigs and send me any Media Maths […]


  2. when choosing golf clubs, i always prefer to use an iron-`”



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