The Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal

Informed but opinionated commentary and analysis on urban transportation topics from the Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal. Names have been omitted to protect the guilty.

Our Mission: Monkeywrench the Anti-Transit Forces

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Wendell Cox Can't Count - But Bugs Bunny Can!

Home of More Transit Links Than You can Possibly Check(tm), Unless you have no life other than websurfing

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity: and I'm not so sure about the universe. Einstein

From the Cabalmaster:

Sometimes, when you least expect it, when you’re not looking, when your guard is down, etc and so forth . . .

Up pops yet another egregious example of Wendell’s mathematical and sophistical sophistry. (Or incompetence . . . we’re not sure which.)

Among the “hits” from a recent Google search included a “Wendellpage” titled “US Metro (Heavy Rail) Rankings 1996”

This includes three tables, ranking ten U.S. heavy rail systems on:

--“Cost per Vehicle Hour: 1996”

--“Passenger Miles per Vehicle Mile: 1996”

--“Cost per Passenger Mile: 1996”

But Wendell, as usual, can’t resist the urge to continue rather than quit while he’s ahead. So, in addition to crude (= “as-is”) statistics and rank order, he adds a column titled “Variance.” (Ha!)

The customary reference point for a “variance” is an average or some other measure of “central tendency” (e.g. median, mode).

But Wendell, as usual, does it . . . HIIIIIS WAY! (Apologies to the late, great Frank Sinatra.) The reference point for Wendell’s “variances” are . . . you guessed it . . . the top-ranked number, either smallest or largest. (Ha, ha!).

This has the effect of magnifying the difference (a typical Wendell-ian trick). It’s true that “$2.628” is “1321.4%” larger than “$0.185” . . . but “$0.185” is a mere 92.9604% smaller than “$2.628.”

(Hey, don’t take our word for it . . . give it a try on your trusty H-P or TI. And while you’re at it . . . you might consider avoiding spurious precision -- “1321.4%” – which is another Wendell-ian trick.)

What makes this even more laughable is that one table (“Cost per Passenger Mile: 1996”) DOES present an “Average”! (HA, HA!)

In the inimitable words of Bugs Bunny:

Regardless of what Wendell might think (e.g., we can predict his response to anyone inquiring about the above:

If pushed, he might resort (gulp!) to (gasp!) an “ad hominem” attack (aaauuurrgh!):

One of these days, we may even receive a communiqué from Wendell himself. Imagine his thoughts:

And what Wendell would like you to believe about the impact of this missive (should we ever receive it . . .):

And here’s what Wendell would no doubt LOVE to hear from Your Favorite Transit Pundits:

Y’know, maybe WE should quit while we’re ahead.

But . . . we can’t resist one last parting shot (which, after all, is you like this blog so much!):

Comments: Post a Comment