Friday, March 18, 2005

Smoking out a study's plusses and minuses

Carl Bialik, "The Numbers Guy" at, has a good column today that looks at all the ins and outs of how the American Legacy Foundation comes up with its number that it is responsible for 300,000 fewer youth smokers. The column is one that should go in reporters' and editors' files because it outlines the major questions that should be asked of a lot of such studies.

Bialik's conclusion: The research is pretty solid, but as with any such studies, there are always some gray areas.

Bialik also has some cautionary words on taking drug-bust figures from law enforcement, and he takes a jab at another of those silly "productivity lost" numbers, this time dealing with the NCAA tournament.

And now it's time for me to go back to watching the games on the office TV ...


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