Comments: When things don't add up

>>People don't understand statistics, or numbers, these days.

These days? Sorry but nothing has changed in that respect. The change is the removal from the equation of sensibly moderated and honestly edited content, leaving an unchallenged platform open to snake oil salesmen.

Posted by Ham on 2 April, 2018 at 4:21 PM

Ham - I agree with the second part of your comment, but there is lots of research that shows a decline in understanding of basic maths concepts over time (particularly amongst the lowest achievers in maths), and in many countries, not just the UK.

Posted by Blue Witch on 2 April, 2018 at 7:48 PM

Well we all know that statistics can prove anything.

But secondly, my youngest got an instant fine for dropping a cigarette butt, which he paid straightway to get the lower fine, but I'm pretty sure he's not going to do that again. So to some extent the fines do work. But then again he's now a banker so he has a certain level of financial impetus.

As to recycling at the shop - the return has to be pretty good to make me carry all of our returns to the shop instead of just putting in the recycling bin outside my door. By the way I've already proved I can do a whole month on one black bin (ie total landfill).

Posted by allotmentqueen on 3 April, 2018 at 12:00 AM

AQ - but surely your son, confronted with what he'd done, could just have run away? Provided that his DNA wasn't on the national database, whoever 'caught' him would have a hard job to find him again (and would they put that much effort into the search?).

I'm fairly sure that most litter-droppers would think nothing of running off. I'd love to know how that will be managed.

Posted by Blue Witch on 3 April, 2018 at 9:17 AM

I've no argument with you that there has been a lowering of understanding of basic concepts such as multiplication and division, but that is way different (IMO) from any understanding of numbers, for that you need to be a slightly different type of person. You can be taught how to manipulate numbers but I don't think you can be taught how to understand, say, that the product of that multiplication is an irrational number without that intrinsic feel.*

And risk? Don't get me started.

(*OK, OK, if more people went through the basic training more might find they had that feel, but it is still a minority.)

Posted by Ham on 3 April, 2018 at 5:52 PM

Ham - and that's because even well-informed parents no longer talk to their kids as much as they used to, (largely) because of screens.

I've got to the age now where if I see a young mum interacting/talking with her child in (what I'd call) a good old-fashioned way (eg in a supermarket, explaining about sizes, prices, labelling, choices etc) I don't feel awkward any more about making a point of saying something encouraging and positive to her.

Posted by Blue Witch on 3 April, 2018 at 6:19 PM

The enforcers have bodycams so there's no getting away with it.

I despair when I get on a bus (which I do now because I've got a bus pass) to see children who can't be more than two sitting in their buggies watching things on their I-player or games or something whilst their mothers are looking at something else on their phones. Talk to your children - I don't think so.

Posted by allotmentqueen on 4 April, 2018 at 12:09 AM

Even if the enforcers have bodycams, and they are switched on, unless the person is known to them, if the person runs away, how can the enforcers catch them? Will they really be putting out an APB for someone who dropped a crisp packet? It would be good if they did, but I doubt it.

Posted by Blue Witch on 4 April, 2018 at 6:47 AM

I remember reading an excellent book many decades ago - How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff. I think it is still in print.
Even if we get accurate figures, it's still necessary to know what to do with them - witness the bonkers statements being made as a result of the current gender "pay gap" fiasco.

Posted by Tim W on 4 April, 2018 at 9:53 AM

I’m not sure people are more littery than they used to be but i am sure there’s more litter potential with more take away crap snacks and excessive packaging. As for getting the unemployed to litter pick....well i’ve Herd people who drop litter claim that they can do it to keep street cleaners employed......are people more practise than they used to be or have i just got really old? :)

Posted by NiC on 4 April, 2018 at 7:49 PM

Practise? No “prattish*. Silly spellcheck!

Posted by NiC on 4 April, 2018 at 7:50 PM
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