Archive for Suspect Stats

Graphic Magnificence

Posted in Almost Beyond Words, Irregular Features, Tenuous Link of the Day with tags , , , , on September 4, 2015 by awickerman

In my ongoing effort to intermittently and irregularly present to you the cream of badly thought through ideas I present this triumph of graphical data representation.

Many would say a graph of Time against Time is a waste of Time. They're probably right

I am delighted this exists. I may well be alone in this delight

Yes it is a graph of time against time. Majestic is the word I hope you are looking for.

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Female Engineers and Lying at Interview

Posted in Alas the Mystery Remains Holmes, Engineering, Irregular Features, Posts that are far longer than I first intended, Tenuous Link of the Day with tags , , , , on April 1, 2014 by awickerman

Lured in by the bewitching headline that 1 in 10 of the population had named a Brunel when asked to name a famous female living engineer or scientist. One can only assume they felt the same confusion I did as frankly it’s a struggle; I could name plenty of female engineers, I just don’t think anyone has heard of them so I wouldn’t call them famous.

Resolving to solve this mystery I tracked down the organisation behind this poll, hoping to find the actual source data. Alas the depressingly 1990s name ScienceGrrl has decided not to release that information, perhaps because they too are struggling with a famous living female engineer but don’t want to admit it.

Now to the point of this post, this article by one of their directors. It begins by her complaining about how she had to lie about pretending to be interested in Lego to get her first engineering job, she then glosses over the part about how she didn’t last long in the real world and ran off to the fluffy world of non-profit development work and research before ending on what she would like to have said at interview, a bundle of content-free buzzword heavy fluff about impacting on disadvantaged communities and working respectfully. She even talked about shifting goalposts, frankly I was left feeling slightly ill. Perhaps this explains why I drew two completely contradictory conclusions;

1. It was a good thing she did lie at interview, because if she had spouted that bilge at me I’d have never hired her. Engineering is about many things, but buzzwords, fluff and waffling like an architect are never helpful.

2. It was a terrible mistake she did lie at interview, had she said the “truth” hopefully the interviewer would have stopped it there and kindly explained she was in the wrong industry. I like to imagine they would have gone on to suggest she stop wasting everyone’s time and just go work in a fluffy job, much like the ones she has now. Alas her poor first employer was woefully misled into thinking she was a proper engineer who liked Lego and not a naive, idealistic buzzword spouter (her words not mine, well the first two anyway)

On the subject of the actual problem, the lack of women in engineering and science, I really can’t help. I would read their doubtless thrilling report on the subject, but frankly it starts with ‘Gender Lenses’ and just goes down hill from there. It does appear to be a long list of ‘Anyway, the point is we need more money’, as these reports always are, mixed in with baffling contradictions about how girl’s “STEM needs” are the same, but also different. However maybe I’m just not using my Gender Lenses correctly and it will all make sense if I squint a bit and knock down the diversity stereotypes.  Or not.

Perhaps They Just Chose… Poorly

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on August 29, 2013 by awickerman

Article in which various ‘top graduates’ complain about a lack of work and complain about a Tory MP for saying things they disagree with.

Whatever the merits of their case the author of the article didn’t exactly pick the strongest examples to prove their point. The three complaining graduates have ‘Classical Studies’, ‘Modern History’ and ‘Music’ degrees. All wonderful subjects no doubt, but maybe they are struggling to find a job as what they’ve learnt isn’t particularly relevant to the jobs they are applying for.

But then ‘Students who pick fluffy degrees struggle to find real jobs’ probably isn’t as good a story is it?

Why I Rarely Post

Posted in Engineering, Irregular Features, Posts that are far longer than I first intended, Tenuous Link of the Day with tags , , , on March 22, 2012 by awickerman

Saw this job advert – a trainee asbestos surveyor – and was somewhat surprised at how little it pays (15-17k) for someone with an engineering degree working in Kent/London. Especially given the many, many opportunities for engineers on such low profile jobs as Crossrail and High Speed 2. And the fact that if you do really well, get trained up and get a few years of fibrey death experience you might get up to 25k (or might get barely more than a trainee).

Sadly I ended up poking around the Office of National Statistics trying to find out what a typical engineering degree actually pays, which I soon realised was far, far too much research for a blog read by up to several people. Of course I could just rely on one of those self-selecting salary surveys. Equally I could use tarot cards or astrology, which I suspect would be about as accurate. While I’m sure the answer is somewhere, I’m equally sure I can think of better things to do with my time. Hence why I rarely post; I like to try and check the facts are correct, even if the wild accusations aren’t, but I no longer think it’s really worth the time.

Link of the day

Posted in And thus the Mystery was solved Watson!, Irregular Features, Tenuous Link of the Day, Your cut-out-and-keep Guide with tags , , , on September 24, 2010 by awickerman

A masterful summary of the Labour leadership election odds from Mr E.

Continue reading

Damn the Facts I Have an Axe to Grind!

Posted in Almost Beyond Words, Rantings, Your cut-out-and-keep Guide with tags , , , , , on August 9, 2010 by awickerman

The World Cancer Research Fund, who I had never heard of until today, has just announced the utterly pointless statistic that breast cancer rates in Britain are four times higher than in East Africa.

Leaving aside the damning fact that the WCRF are Belgian, surely reason enough to ignore them, they appear to have one axe to grind, “Food causes cancer!”, which they repeat at any opportunity regardless of the facts or indeed thinking. Now while I’m sure their efforts are very helpful for the Daily Mail’s ongoing drive to divide all food stuffs into either cancer causing or curing, I really don’t think we should be encouraging them.

In this specific case I would note these facts;

1. The UK breast cancer screening programme is aimed at the over 50s, it is therefore something of an older persons disease.

2. The average female life expectancy in East African countries is;
Somalia – 52 years
Ethiopia – 58 years (incredible I know)
Kenya – 59 years
Tanzania – 54 years
Uganda -54 years

3. In the UK female life expectancy is 82 years.

From this I make the wild and crazy claim that most women in East Africa die of other causes before they have a chance to get breast cancer and that diet has bugger all to do with it, save for the obvious fact that if East African women didn’t starving to death they might live long enough to  get breast cancer.

Or to put it simply, the WRCF are either stupid, wilfully abusing the facts in order to make them fit their agenda or both.

Shock! Horror! Absence of Surprise!

Posted in And thus the Mystery was solved Watson!, Even Stevie Wonder Saw That Coming with tags , , , on May 17, 2010 by awickerman

Compare and contrast two big US investment funds;

Pax World Balanced (PAXWX)  – The fund follows a Sustainable Investing approach, combining rigorous financial analysis with equally rigorous Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) analysis in order to identify investments.

Vice Fund (VICEX) – Normally invests at least 80% of net assets in equity securities of companies that derive a significant portion of their revenues from alcohol, tobacco, gaming and defense/aerospace.

And who do you think did best over the last 8 or so years? Re-assuring to see the Devil does indeed pay the best wages.

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