There have been a few reports in the press recently where calculation errors have led to spectacular claims. They include:
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have admitted that the figure of 55% of the Netherlands lying below sea level quoted in a 2007 report was incorrect. In fact the correct figure is 26%. The report used data for areas of the country prone to flooding, which includes land alongside rivers that is above sea level. Reported in the Guardian by Robin McKie on 14 February 2010
In the same IPPC report it was claimed that Himalayan glaciers could melt away by 2035. Apparently this was based on "poorly substantiated estimates of rate of recession" and was unfounded. Reported in the Guardian by RDamian Carrington on 20 January 2010
The UK Conservative Party claimed in a dossier that 54% of girls in the 10 most disadvantaged areas of UK get pregnant before they turn 18. The figure was actually 5.4%. Reported on the BBC website 15 February 2010
Many people have been issued the wrong tax code, which may result in them paying extra tax. Seven different errors have been reported, which is being blamed on the introduction of a new computer system and errors made in bringing data forward from older systems. Reported on the BBC website 8 February 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
There will be many articles about the tragic death of Nodar whilst practising the luge at the Vancouver winter Olympics. This blog from James Pearce of the BBC gives a good summary of the the issues to consider. It appears that Nodar made a mistake, but was the course to blame for the consequences? And exactly where do you put the balance of risk for a dangerous sports like the luge?