Ronald Brak

Because not everyone can be normal.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Where in the world is Osama Bin Laden? Where in the world is basic maths?

I've started reading Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? by Morgan Spurlock. I'm up to page three. Now I'm sure it's a good book. It has a picture of an amusing looking camel on the front and I don't think you are allowed to put pictures of amusing camels on the front of books that aren't good. But I've had to temporarily stop at page three because Morgan Spurlock puts these three sentences right next to each other, "In 2002, a representative year, almost 43,000 Americans died in car accidents. That same year, only 600 Americans died in aircraft crashes. Your chances of dying in an aircraft are around one in 10 million, versus one in 7,000 in a car."

Now I admit that I am completely unaware of Morgan Spurlock ever claiming to be exceptionally mathematically skilled. In fact his skills seem to lie in writing, directing, producing and consuming vast amounts of junk food. However, I would have hoped that an editor or someone would have noticed that if 2002 is a representative year, then Americans are 72 times more likely to die in car accidents than plane crashes, while if they have around a, " in 10 million chance of dying in an aircraft versus one in 7,000 of dying in a car," then Americans are 1,429 times more likely to die in a car than an airplane. So which one is it? Seventy-two times more likely or 1,429 times more likely? Because it's quite a difference.

I'm afraid that mistakes like this will continue to happen as long as people continue to fail to get me to check their work before it's published. It's the only sure way for people to have their mistakes removed and my own inserted. So I invite Morgan to send me his next book so I can go over it before it's printed.


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