You Got to Be Kidding Me!

Dumbing Down…

Posted in Environment, Snark, Urban Planning by Stacy McMahon on April 26, 2007

I know that the book says news should be written for consumption by 7th-graders, but come on:

The market share for timber frame construction has more than doubled since 1999 and now stands at 20.5% of all new housing in 2006, although that still only represents around one in five new builds.

Really? 20% = 1 in 5? Wow, who knew? In fairness though, it’s possible the poor reporter just couldn’t help himself after taking down what must have been dozens of quotes like this from his interview subject:

“We expect timber frame housing to expand at about twice the rate of the average for the market, leading to further increases in market share in each of the years to 2009. …

“The recent huge surge in interest from the private housebuilders in low risk, cost effective ways of building zero carbon homes is also likely to enhance the timber frame industry’s prospects in coming years.”

So if the market expands, then the market will expand! Got it, though I’m not sure I get the connection between low carbon homes and woodframe construction. The wood frame by itself has nothing to do with insulating a house — it’s all the other stuff layered over it that does that. Really though, if we want to have the lowest home energy consumption we should all follow Bilbo Baggins’ lifestyle.

In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit!” — J.R.R. Tolkien


One Response

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  1. spugbrap said, on May 1, 2007 at 7:41 am

    The whole explaining statistics thing always peeves me as well. I vaguely remember an advertisement that I heard a couple years ago (I don’t remember what it was about anymore)… They actually had the gall to enthusiastically offer this explanation of the oh-so-complicated statistic, 50%: “That’s about half”. I was downright *offended* by this. Not only is 50% one of the easiest percentages to understand, but 50% *is* half, it’s not “about” half. 48.7% would be “about” half, but I still wouldn’t think they would need to tell us that.

    On the broader subject of dumbing down news, I’ve become increasingly disinclined to read my local newspaper. Seeing the front page, over and over, laying on a bathroom floor or a kitchen counter, I end up inadvertently reading the same headlines over and over again. The more I read them, the more it pisses me off. What passes for news boggles my mind enough, but then the way local papers dumb down that so-called news is just brutal.

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