Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

A problem of scale

Millions of Indians go to polls, notes the BBC.

Which is both true --- as the article explains, there are more than 700 million eligible voters --- and also a subtle indication of that BBC writer or editor being somewhat out of touch. Google claims there are 1,147,995,904 people in India, an absurdly precise but useful number. If the average Indian spends 5 minutes a day thinking about sex (a not unreasonable assumption), then you could go with the following headline at least once a day:

Millions of Indians are thinking about sex RIGHT NOW

Point is, lots of things are being done by millions of Indians today (and millions of Chinese, and millions of lots of other arbitrary groupings of people). Using the word "millions" in a headline like that is like saying that a new laptop comes with MEGABYTES of memory. Well, duh.

I think a better headline would have been Nearly three quarters of a billion Indians go to polls.

/random post is clearly random



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 16th, 2009 08:13 am (UTC)
Maybe it's to indicate that it's a national election? Though with numbers like that, yeah, it could have been dogcatcher elections in Mumbai.
Apr. 16th, 2009 08:16 am (UTC)
it could have been dogcatcher elections in Mumbai :D!
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 16th, 2009 07:26 pm (UTC)
"You don't understand mathematics, you just get used to it." Von Neumann :).

You are right, I don't think we can visualize those numbers. We just vaguely use them with more or less consistency.
Apr. 16th, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
did you plug in any numbers for this? http://xkcd.com/563/

Some values are pretty horrifying.
Apr. 16th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
I was about to, but then I contrasted "Average frequency of sex: 80/year" with my own numbers and got too depressed to go on...
Apr. 16th, 2009 08:08 pm (UTC)
oh, yeah. hm. The last few years averaged... I'd be lucky to crack 40/year, I think.
Apr. 16th, 2009 08:45 pm (UTC)
Still way ahead of me.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


cass, can you not

Latest Month

July 2019


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow