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Saturday, December 15, 2012

STATS

There has, and always will be, a human psychological issue with population statistics. Even assuming the best data collection and the most sophisticated graphing software, population statistics are often associated as individual statistics, but it does not work that way.

There are too many statistics out there today, There are statistics on how many people live in hunger, how many cats are on the street at night , now many dogs that don't have a collar, how many people who visit this blog... Yet despite all of these numbers, little action is made at an individual level to address these statistics. Hunger in Africa? Call Bill Gates and have him donate a zillion dollars, but never understand how one hungry person is actually doing. Swine flu outbreak? Freak out and hide. Nobody really thinks how these numbers actually affect real people, even though that's what we claim these numbers are supposedly used for.

Let's create a hypothetical disease called K. First reported in the San Francisco Bay Area, K is a disease where you go on the computer all day and blog about random tech stories and talk about the things you do on the computer and post any random interesting photos that you may have come across. Yes, K is very dangerous. People begin to forget what time of day it is and where they should be going. Instead, they go onto Blogger and type out long convoluted posts on hypothetical viruses. Oh and it's highly contagious. One look at a person infected with K will cause them to automatically start blogging. Pretty dangerous.

Let's say that 1% of the population catches K. To the other 99% of people, K is no big deal. They don't have it and the chance of looking at a blogger who goes out in public is pretty rare. But what about the people who did get it? Their lives are now messed up. While our society cannot cure every little thing that comes in its way, these 1% of K patients are people too. To them, K is the end of the world. While there may only be 1% of all people living with K. There are 100% of K patients who have to live with K.

Making actions without looking at how they impact the individual is a terrible cold hearted way to go. When a company sends its factories off to a lower cost region simply to give top executives bigger bonuses and expensive liquor, they are not just cutting a few hundred jobs. They are bringing sadness and despair to people whose children depend on them to bring home food and have a warm place to live. In the end, these actions destroy the livelihoods of individuals, not people on a graph.

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