More Census (in the wild)
Here is an NPR radio segment about the upcoming 2010 census.
I especially like this comment about the piece:
“It is always disheartening to witness otherwise intelligent, capable leaders engage in ideology induced idiocy as Mr. Gingrich did while talking about sampling and statistical methods.
Statistical procedures, which include simple frequency counts, can be manipulated or misinterpretted by the people who use them. The key is to have people use the tools at our disposal fairly in order to get an accurate count in 2010. But Mr. Gingrich voiced a distrust that the mathematical procedures are valid – a point that is unjustified scientifically but ideologically convenient.
Congress (and Mr. Gingrich himself) have benefited from the same “theoretical” statistical modeling and research sampling he opposes for this situation. Billions of dollars are appropriated by Congress on the trust that pilot studies, exploratory research, and statistical probabilities can be trusted – including defense projects, engineering projects, and everything NASA has ever done. More immediately, I’m sure that Mr. Gingrich takes medicines tested during research studies, not tested on everyone in the country. He trusts that the sampling is adequate in these cases… yet not appropriate for determining the population of the country.