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November 27, 2004

Misusing statistics?

I prefer to be non-political (certainly in public, anyway, and almost so privately) and I also prefer to be able to call myself politically inactive, but I also believe that I can stay neutral when coming across some weird uses of statistics.

A site against same sex relationships and civil unions, civil-unions.org, appears to be misusing statistics. If you follow the reasoning, the site appears to be saying that because less than 4% of people in same sex relationships (according to their reading of census results), they don't deserve the rights the current Bills under consideration provide. Moving along, they also claim significant support for their position because only 4.5% of submissions were in favour of the Bills. What they don't realise is that it's easy to stack those sorts of statistics with submission writing campaigns (it's not new). But the best one doesn't involve statistics at all. It says: Think of the bad effects this Bill, if allowed to pass, will have on future generations and younger children. They don't even use statistics at all.

Thanks to DPF, who appears to be in favour, for the link.

I'm not mentioning my position here at all. I just find it interesting when sides in an argument are seemingly so selective in their facts, even if I agree, overall. (Incidentally, I would look at the 'other side' of the debate, but I can't easily find statistics on civilunions.org.nz right now with the time I have left online tonight.)

November 19, 2004

Oops? Or not?

Ouch. I guess it pays not to annoy the bosses.

November 17, 2004

Home internet access provider rankings

As per a pointer on an InternetNZ mailing list: NetRatings have put up their latest NZ home ISP top ten. No particular surprises who's at the top, with Telecom/Xtra taking up nearly half, and what's listed separately as TelstraClear and Paradise taking up, all together, around 21%. Unless there's an ISP called Other, ihug thus takes third place. Slingshot gets fourth, but below what appears to be the margin of error, or what the PDF file calls any rankings smaller than 4.7% -- they're indicative only due to sample sizes.

I see that they've also published a top 10 (online, I presume) publishers for NZ (also presumably online) visitors over 60. If there were any surprises of sites that I've heard of, it would be Public Address (I'm assuming they mean www.publicaddress.net) at third place, with 17%.

Of course, the above two paragraphs assume I have implicit trust in statistics. Yeah, sure. :) Hey, that's a thought. I wonder if I want to know how they track this?

I'm not sure I do want to know.

More on the above (and, maybe, more) providers in a day or so. I'm thinking about their implementations of dial-up modem standards.

In a galaxy far, far away...

Oh, the memories.

Mmmmm, changing spots...

(Interestingly, elsewhere in Amanda's entries, is a claim from a US reader that her nearest polling booth in her country's recent elections was around 160 kilometres away. I wonder how much they use mobile polling booths and postal ballots, and how it compares to Australia's experience, where some electorates are bigger than a good proportion of the countries of the world.)

On the subject of VUWSA executives' diaries, the EVP's diary looks fun.

Maybe I should do a 100 things about me entry for myself for some amusement (and serious thought) at some point.

Back to study in a moment. Enough of reading diaries for today!

November 15, 2004

Another one bites the dust!

Hot on the heals of ACE's demise, WCE have finally got their death wish.

From January, I'll be a student in the renamed School of Education Studies, in the Faculty of Education. Why can't there be a School of Musical Chairs instead? Or perhaps using the same letters, Still Enamoured with Studying?

I see the price harmonisation between the two institutions is finally moving beyond the tripling in price of student influenza vaccinations at WCE, too. Ouch.

Of course, however, the nice papers on youth issues, such as EDUC 229, will continue. Well, they'd better. I'm likely to be signing up for EDUC 228 and or EDUC 340 next year.


Is it me, or are VUW SCS account statements almost impossible to understand?

Unless I'm mistaken, I'm being charged once again to access library databases. But then, I wonder if I need a CA to understand the bill. Unless what I was told when I originally enrolled that library databases weren't charged for has been rescinded.

Why run backups?

What, stupidity with files when it comes to computer maintenance? That would have to be the first of an infinite number of reasons why I have installed a backup routine for my critical systems. Which reminds me, though I save an image onto a network share, it's just about time to transfer some of that to compact disc, once again. After all, I don't want to get worked up over losing 300 photographs myself, especially after the Kohanga end of year concert last Thursday night.

Based on the reader comments on a similar article the above linked to, it sounds like to me quite possibly the BBC could possibly take the cake for the freezing the hard disc trick.

All right, back to school work, now.

Life is boring

Life has probably hit another low when you read in the Southland Times on Stuff via the Newztext Newspapers database (what a mouthful...) this morning that the Southland Museum and Art Gallery have had their two 15 centimetre pet goldfish have been stolen from the museum pond.

November 12, 2004

The crows are circling!

Seen the recent University of Canterbury print advertisements in student publications like Salient where they crow about being one of the top two universities in the country, because of their TEC PBRF rankings?

Well, get ready for a fresh round. The 2004 Times Higher Education Supplement world rankings are now available. Auckland is 67 out of 200, Massey is 108, and Otago is 114. I'm currently reading the THES rankings right now on their website (yay for VUW's account at that site!), and the articles seem rather boring advertising supplement or advertorial style articles. Unfortunately.

Spare me the marketing, please... that's the advertorials and the blasted advertisements that I can smell following closely behind...

(Hey, I wonder, with the amazing disappearing WCE, if its 'disappearance' will manage to drag down VUW's PBRF ratings next time around with its second-from-bottom performance this time. Probably not if they're minnows by size comparison, I suppose.)

November 10, 2004

A child sues his parent for not buying him a computer

OK, an 11 year old child suing a parent because she didn't buy him a computer as promised has to be a little crazy, even if it were the proper thing to do, right?

November 9, 2004

Downloading Firefox 1.0

Yes, I am downloading Firefox 1.0 (the Windows build, anyway) right now.

Thanks, Ben, for the release commentary.

Oh wait, it's just finished. Here we go!


I guess my photograph of the old Karori Public Library building will rather soon be a bit out of date, especially when they're rebuilding the place.

Must take another look around there, some time soon. And get some of my more recent photographs uploaded.

Oh, the joys of looking through Google results. Maybe a bit more sifting will uncover a rather good Jabber avatar for me, though I do like my current ones.

November 7, 2004

Closed home

A few doors down the street right now, there's an open home, but the apparently great marketing genius in the real estate agent (who shall remain anonymous, so no photograph) taking the open home seems to have parked her car right at the street end of the driveway, so one either has to walk on the grass verge or squeeze past the car to see the house. Great one, perhaps.

[Listening to: The Shy One -- B*Witched -- Awake and Breathe (03:10)]

(Hmmmm, I really do need some newer music, come to think of it.)

November 3, 2004

Laundering money

At least if you cast your vote in a laundrette, you know where your money goes, unlike with a bridal scam.

Oh yeah, and what's the surprise (also) from the New York Times, in the US, that voters flocked to the Web?