Lies, Damn Lies, And Computer Glitches

from the the-computer-did-it!-it's-all-their-fault dept

It seems that a pollution study may be flawed because the researchers working on it discovered they had been relying on incorrect data due to a glitch in the software program they were using. The software was overestimating the mortality rate of people in certain areas. Considering the study was about the dangers of certain pollutants, this could really throw off the results. They don’t say how the researchers discovered the glitch – or the likelihood of similar glitches being found in other studies. I wonder if it was really a “software glitch” or (more likely) human error in either setting up the software, or in entering the data.

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Comments on “Lies, Damn Lies, And Computer Glitches”

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A Coward says:

No Subject Given

Here’s an interesting quote from the article.

“We still believe strongly in the tie between the particulate matter and the health effects that it creates.”

Sounds to me like this so-called group of researchers have an agenda. They’re not looking to see if there’s a tie between particle matter and health effects. They’ve already concluded there is and they are out to be right. Something tells me they’re going to find exactly want they want. The following quote sounds like the “glitch” didn’t grant the results they wanted.

“The new research does not undermine the widely accepted link between air pollution and premature death. But it cut by half the previous estimate about the rate of increase in the death rate when measured by increases in the number of particles in the air.”

That’s not want environmentalists want to hear. It must be worse. Otherwise they’ll lose their grants and car companies will be less likely to make zero emission cars. If everything keeps checking out fine we wouldn’t need to fund the EPA either… It must be worse, continuee to get worse and the environmentalists will have to save the day.

Anonymous Coward says:

other fun software glitches...

…can be found on the risks digest, but include
thing like delayed discovery of hole in the ozone

My own experience includes a $30k loss per month
for a telephone company due to the failure of
DBase to evaluate .and. / .or. expressions that
are missing a trailing “.”.

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