Category Archives: Dubious statistics

Dealing With Mass Killings in America: Funding Our Children, Not Our Wars

As mass killings become more common in the US, law enforcement agents fixate on and unduly publicize cases with jihadist links. As this post describes, that serves as an excuse for even more intensive surveillance.

Yet as Mark Ames described in one of the first works on these rampages, in his book “Going Postal,” there were no obvious similarities among the perps. They weren’t all, or even often, isolated losers. They did not typically come from broken homes. They were generally of above average intelligence. Aside from being disproportionately male, the other common thread was that they had been bullied.

If Ames’ observations still hold true, the lack of distinctive demographic or behavioral predictors of those who go on rampages means that heightened surveillance is at best another form of security theater, and at worst an excuse for Stasi-like dossier-gethering.

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Greece Negotiations Already Starting to Look Wobbly

Silly me! I thought that given that the Greek government had prostrated itself and had complied with the creditor demand to pass legislation double-plus quickly or else, that the worst of the hurdles to getting the third bailout passed had been surmounted.

I should know better than that.

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Some Pointers on How to Catch the Dubious Use of Statistics

A long standing pet peeve is how the use of figures has been fetishized in political discourse and in our society generally, to the point where many people too easily swayed by argument that invoke data (I discussed this phenomenon at length in the business context in a 2006 article for the Conference Board Review, […]

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New Study Debunks Myth That Exorbitant CEO Pay Results from “Talent”

In the last month or so, I’ve seen some remarkably dubious studies flogged around what Lambert calls the Innertubes, all ringing changes on the same themes: outsized pay for those at the top is a reflection of a state of nature. Fortunately, a new study from Lawrence Mishel and Alyssa Davis of the Economic Policy Institute has done the heavy lifting of shredding new, creative defenses of out-of-control CEO pay.

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