22 March 2005

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, meathead

They're all a-flutter:
A Seattle Post-Intelligencer investigation found disturbing evidence that efforts to reduce crew work hours, crack down on alcohol use and improve tug escorts are being evaded or undermined.
All along the West Coast -- from Prince William Sound to Puget Sound, to San Francisco to Long Beach -- state and federal regulators are taking steps to reduce requirements for tug escorts.

Radical thought: has anyone checked out how much good tug escorts do? Maybe, just maybe, they're (another) example of the eternal truth of bureaucracy: "It's more important to be seen doing something than it is to do something effective."

Money shot (in the ninth paragraph):
While the amount of oil spilled from tankers has declined sharply in recent years...

Yeah, Yeah?

environmentalists point out that just one catastrophic accident would reverse those numbers.

Not just environmentalists, Chucklehead. Pay attention now, this requires advanced mathematics like addition and subtraction of which [even] journalism majors have heard:
Any major accident will put a lot of oil in the water. That's because the ships are so big. Don't want big ships? Then you do want $5.00/gallon gasoline.

Incidentally, the linked article includes a graph of oil spills. Conspicuously missing is a trend line -- which would show the amount of oil decreasing.

It would be very easy to say this is an example of anti-free-enterprise conspiracies in the press corps, and I'd love to say so. Unfortunately, I'm afraid, the answer's more mundane. Journalists, having the mathematical skills of the typical third grader -- I intend no offense to third graders -- I suspect they person/persons involved don't know what a trend line is, much less its importance.

There's a reason why a journaism degree is a BJ!

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