Perhaps we should stop watching the news

Think about it, there is no story that starts : “The world is functioning normally, and most people are happy.”

The world is not falling apart: The trend lines reveal an increasingly peaceful period in history..

via The world is not falling apart: The trend lines reveal an increasingly peaceful period in history..

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4 Responses to Perhaps we should stop watching the news

  1. Back when I was in college and struggling with Statistics 101, my professor, who was a great teacher (not many academics are: a number of them are horrible at explaining their field to newbies), told us not to focus on individual incidents in our data. “If you’re always looking for things that will prove/disprove your thesis, you’re always going to get skewed results, usually towards your expectations.” He joked about the half glass full-half glass empty postulate: optimists tend to see too many positives in their data, while pessimists see too many negatives. He cautioned that we should always back up and look for the Big Picture, with as many comparisons and entries in our experiments as possible. (Yes, the class was aimed at science majors, but this history major learned a lot about looking at ‘trends’ and forecasting.)

    News outlets tend to focus on blips on the screen. They’d go out of business if they said “Nothing to worry about, it’s just an anomaly in our otherwise peaceful city.”

    • Doug says:

      I’m more of a “glass too big” person. 😉 Statistics was one of my favorite classes. I have heard people say that you can skew statistics to say whatever you want them to, but I disagree. No excuse for bad science.

  2. Sensationalism sells and draws viewers and breeds more sensationalism.

    Isn’t it funny how a “bad news” story can be the most important thing in the world … until the next BIG STORY comes along? The first one isn’t completed, stuff is still going on, yet we never hear anything more about it.

  3. LG says:

    I am the glass-too-small always overflows 🙂
    But in a way, I am a wee bit worried that things are going well in the world…Considering the Hubbards peak is just around the corner, it is not bound to stay this way for too long. Hopefully I’ll be gone before that, but I shudder to think of the world of my descendants.

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