Another post on dating strategies

by Henry on August 13, 2007

“Megan”:http://fromthearchives.blogspot.com/2007/08/sampling-bias.html of _From the archives_ won’t be surprised that “this _NYT_ article”:http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/12/weekinreview/12kolata.html?_r=1&oref=slogin, claiming that:

One survey, recently reported by the federal government, concluded that men had a median of seven female sex partners. Women had a median of four male sex partners. Another study, by British researchers, stated that men had 12.7 heterosexual partners in their lifetimes and women had 6.5. But there is just one problem, mathematicians say. It is logically impossible for heterosexual men to have more partners on average than heterosexual women. Those survey results cannot be correct.

is already “getting”:http://ezraklein.typepad.com/blog/2007/08/i-caught-a-fish.html “play”:http://www.chrishayes.org/blog/2007/aug/13/im-back/ in the blogosphere. The only thing is that it _isn’t_ logically impossible, at least as the author presents it. Ask “Andrew Gelman”:http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~cook/movabletype/archives/2007/08/medians.html

Jeff’s response: MEDIANS??!! Indeed, there’s no reason the two distributions should have the same median. I gotta say, it’s disappointing that the reporter talked to mathematicians rather than statisticians. (Next time, I’d recommend asking David Dunson for a quote on this sort of thing.) I’m also surprised that they considered that respondents might be lying but not that they might be using different definitions of sex partner. Finally, it’s amusing that the Brits report more sex partners than Americans, contrary to stereotypes.

More on the Iraqi employees

by Daniel on August 13, 2007

The Iraqi employees of the British Army story has continued to roll on, with some amount of mainstream media attention (particularly in the Times) and the first wave of responses from MPs. Any CT readers with a UK MP who didn’t write to their MPs last week, you still have time to do so, but potentially not very much time. For one thing, the British Army is withdrawing from Basra town, meaning that it is going to be much more difficult for the employees to be protected. For another, the government (an uncharitable man would say “the New Labour spin machine”) is trying to suggest that the problem can be solved by giving visas only to the 91 individuals who had been employed as translators by the British Army. This is clearly inadequate – the way Des Browne is quoted, it doesn’t even sound as if protection is being extended to families – and I’d be grateful if our readers could mention this.

By the way, the last comments thread on this subject was a bit of a disgrace. Can I make it very clear that anyone using the word “harki” is going to get themselves banned immediately and without appeal. The very idea that people who read this blog might think that the massacres in 1960s Algeria represent a model for an anti-imperialist struggle frankly gives me the creeps. I will charitably assume that the term was used out of ignorance by people who’d only heard it in the context of Zinedine Zidane, for the time being, but any evidence to the contrary and you are banned my son (the commenters in question know who they are). Ditto “quislings”, “collaborators” and any other terms which say or imply that the massacre of civilians by self-styled “resistance” movements isn’t mass murder or isn’t a war crime (as Conor Foley notes in the comments to this trainwreck, there is a decent case for saying that, along the lines of the Rwandan radio trials, advocating a war crime is a war crime itself).