February 2nd, 2009


From Numbers to Words

I am not good at math for two reasons. 1) The fundamental concepts slide off my brain. 2) Digits move when I look at them, and I can't tell they've moved, so I rarely get the right answer even if I've gotten the process right.

Tonight someone tried to send me a spreadsheet, and it wouldn't open, so I asked if I could have the contents summarized in words. Then suddenly I realized: I could do math a lot better if I simply wrote it in words instead of numbers. 435 can turn into 453, but four hundred thirty-five will stay put. This is not much use to me as an adult, because I can either use a calculator or get someone else to do important math for me. But it would probably have saved me a lot of trouble in school. It wouldn't have fixed everything, but it would have made a big improvement.

I'm posting it here in case it would be useful for someone else.

My Response to the Racism Ruckus

Last night janetmiles directed my attention to a large fuss about racism, which has boiled all over LiveJournal and beyond. A summary of the instigation and ensuing mayhem is here. I meant to explore the whole situation thoroughly, I really did. But all I could think was, "This is a stupid argument. This is a textbook example of how not to talk about race issues. This is a waste of my time." I just couldn't see any good coming out of it, and substantial harm already has -- feelings hurt, journals closed, and dire threats flung by people who really should have a firmer grip on their professional bearing. So after about ten minutes, I quit reading and went off to do other things.

I woke up with this idea fizzing in my brain. I am a writer, a reviewer, an editor, a teacher. I am going to do something totally different.
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Casting Light on the Shadow Statistics

If you think the economy is worse than the reports, you're probably right. The government is massively underreporting the number of people who need work and have none, or who have too little work to meet their needs. This is a case of lies, damn lies, and statistics -- the way questions are answered and numbers tallied allows the government to manipulate the facts into something less appalling than the whole truth. The real unemployment rate is about 17.5%.

Here is a video explaining some of the manipulations, and compensated numbers. It's not just sensationalism; there's an example in there that backs down from one widespread comparison to the Great Depression. You can find the Shadow Government Statistics page here, with more detailed information.

Most Popular Topics

According to the "Manage Tags" feature, the topics most often appearing in this journal are:

Writing -- 386 posts
Networking -- 289
Politics -- 284
Science fiction -- 265
Poetry -- 249
News -- 222
Reading -- 192
Cyberfunded creativity -- 176
Economics -- 176
Fantasy -- 169

Networking has passed Politics to claim the #2 slot, possibly thanks to my recent efforts in social networking. Cyberfunded creativity has passed Economics. Both of these are good moves, playing up the core content of this journal, compared to my coverage of the mayhem going on the world around us.