November 2013

Thinking about The Times, I thought I’d just list the survey based stories today (another Pleasant Valley Thursday)

And remember kids, if there’s no by-line that means that everyone is too ashamed


The story (page 3): One is six adults has hidden a serious injury, illness or accident.

Is it true: “a survey suggests”

The research: 2000 adults

Byline: None

Cui bono: Centre Pulse (healthcare support)

And: the spokesman is called Wendy Darling, she’s from never-never land.


The story (page 5): People who live alone throw away 40% more food and drink than the average person

Is it true: “a study by the governments advisory body”

The research: (from the source, not The Times) The contractors who carried out the research which the report is based on are:;;

Byline: Ben Webster, Environmental Editor

Cui bono: WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Program). It’s a front organisation for big rubbish.

And: I seem to remember that last time there was big confusion between household waste and total waste: here “**** Equivalent representations – for example if you took all the avoidable potato waste and added it together, it weighs the same as 5.8 million potatoes.” Now to your intrepid commentator this looks like a weasel goldmine. But to do it justice I’m going to have to read the reports.


And: Marvellously the PR Officer and PR manager are both called Seonaid, but they spell it differently – have a look at the link above.

Just lost the will to live,,,,




This absolutely takes the biscuit.

Yes its The Times again – (sorry its the only paper I read). Recently The Times has suffered a massive degradation of its subbing (I hope I’m pointing my finger at the right place). There are now lots of cute pictures of landscapes with captions written by the editor of Titbits. I think you can tell the offcuts by the lack of bylines. Also, you can’t find the dross in the online edition

Anyway, today, page 29 of the paper edition: “The amount of time people have spent pottering about at home or sitting around has fallen by more than half in just five years. Apart from sleep, we spend an average of 183 minutes in our homes every day, down from six hours in 2008. A survey of 1000 people in full time employment…”

No it hasn’t.

There is no mention of who has produced this rubbish, but just maybe the two surveys (if there were two) had some slight methodological difference? Because otherwise, even at a constant population, that would mean that (assuming that we each sleep for 8 hours) the number of people out and about has increased by 30% in every average minutes of every average day.

Your intrepid googler finds that the survey is by East Coast Trains, but annoyingly I can’t find the press release in order to expose the terrible methodological shortfall (whatever it is). I do find that they are extending on alcohol ban on the 09.52(!) Aberdeen to Newcastle train, which makes one think a bit.

Oh and:


A survey of 1,000 adults by East Coast trains has revealed that the popular tablet computer and internet technology now sit alongside slippers, TV and a comfy chair.

Yes – its that 1000 people again, its part of their

“brand new ‘Feel at Home’ advertising campaign which illustrates how the speed and comfort offered by its trains creates an atmosphere where passengers can relax and feel perfectly at home.”

So all is explained, its advertising – not statistics.