Sunday, November 13, 2011

Statistics we did not expect

From an op-ed in this morning’s WaPo:

Homicides so far this year in--
   Venezuela:             19,000
   Iraq:                          3,200

Incompetently, the Post does not give population statistics for the two countries, potentially rendering these out-of-context figures rather meaningless.  But a quick wikicheck shows that their populations are roughly the same -- Venezuela 29 million, Iraq 30 million.  In a further stroke of sloppy journalism, the Post doesn’t actually say “homicides” in the case of Iraq, but “violent deaths of civilians”.  So, is this apples and oranges, or (more likely) just a piece of counterproductive stylistic variation on the part of the journalist?  Anyhow, the overall picture is quite different from what most Americans imagine,  it would seem.

As usual, what struck me as the most interesting item in today’s print Post is very hard to find on its wacky website, so here’s a direct link:

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