The Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Wendell Cox Can't Count - But Bugs Bunny Can!
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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” www.publicpurpose.com/ut-us96hr.htm.
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. www.barbneal.com/wav/ltunes/Bugs/Bugs69.wav), we can predict his response to anyone inquiring about the above: www.da-admiral.com/wavs/ahshutup.wav.
If pushed, he might resort (gulp!) to (gasp!) an “ad hominem” attack (aaauuurrgh!): www.nonstick.com/sounds/Bugs_Bunny/ltbb_123.wav.
One of these days, we may even receive a communiqué from Wendell himself. Imagine his thoughts: www.nonstick.com/sounds/bugs_bunny/ltbb_371.wav.
And what Wendell would like you to believe about the impact of this missive (should we ever receive it . . .): www.nonstick.com/sounds/bugs_bunny/ltbb_367.wav.
And here’s what Wendell would no doubt LOVE to hear from Your Favorite Transit Pundits: www.nonstick.com/sounds/bugs_bunny/ltbb_103.wav.
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!): www.barbneal.com/wav/ltunes/Bugs/Bugs153.wav.
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