Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dubious Headline Stats of the Week

The NY Daily News marvels...

Very rare happy ending in Hudson River plane crash: Only 1 other safe landing in water

How rare it is for a commercial pilot to intentionally land on water and have everyone survive? This rare: It happened only once before Thursday -- and that was more than 45 years ago.

"For everybody to get out, that's pretty amazing," said Emilio Corsetti, a pilot ...
Well, maybe not all that amazing. Buried down at the bottom of the story...
There have only been three documented incidents of a pilot intentionally ditching commercial planes in water ... The only other known water ditching in which all passengers survived was in Russia in 1963 when an Aeroflot jet with 52 people aboard ran out of fuel and landed in a river near St. Petersburg.
So counting that one and this one, in two-out-of-three ditchings everyone survived. OK, the ditchings are rare -- surviving them, not so rare.

Put that in the "My editor demanded a new angle on the story everyone had already done" file.

The various radio and newpaper reports based on this Visa press release go into the "Next time, let's think before taking the PR flack's word for it" file...
Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Surveyed Will Host Super Bowl Party

Visa ... conducted surveys in seventeen metropolitan areas around the country and found a wide disparity among cities in their residents' plans to hold a Super Bowl party and how much they will spend on those get-togethers. Washington, D.C. (71%), Pittsburgh, PA (70%) and San Antonio, TX (70%) topped the list of areas with the highest number of respondents saying they will host Super Bowl parties...
And those two-thirds of Americans are buying enough beer and chips to entertain an average of 0.5 guests each.

Yet I still can't get an invitation!

Well ... now we know the quality of the market research that our credit card fees are paying for. Maybe it's not so surprising that the financial system is taking us into the next Great Depression.

The survey had an overall margin of error of +/-3.1%.
Now we know the meaning of that too!