Hold on tight: the world ends next saturday!

May 10 2011 Published by under Numerology

(For some idiot reason, I was absolutely certain that today was the 12th. It's not. It's the tenth. D'oh. There's a freakin' time&date widget on my screen! Thanks to the commenter who pointed this out.)

A bit over a year ago, before the big move to Scientopia, I wrote about a loonie named Harold Camping. Camping is the guy behind the uber-christian "Family Radio". He predicted that the world is going to end on May 21st, 2011. I first heard about this when it got written up in January of 2010 in the San Francisco Chronicle.

And now, we're less than two weeks away from the end of the world according to Mr. Camping! So I thought hey, it's my last chance to make sure that I'm one of the damned!

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Another Bad Metric Error: Wages vs. Labor Costs

Dec 05 2008 Published by under Metric Errors

It's just been a week for metric errors. Via Media Matters comes an impressive list of stories in the media about the automobile companies financial problems, where they cite labor costs as a major issue. So far, so good. But in virtually every story about this, you'll find a statement along the lines of: "union workers make $71 an hour in wages plus benefits".

In many cases, they even go so far as to specifically compare that figure as wages to other companies. For example, this quote, from a conservative talking head:

"When you're paying $73.73 an hour to those people with salary and benefits and your competition is paying $48 to its workers, you're going to get your butt kicked in the marketplace unfortunately."

Here's the problem with that. The roughly $70/hour figure is a statement of labor costs, not wages. What's the difference?

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