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Thursday, March 30, 2006


Yesterday began the first of several Wednesdays where I will work with the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation helping them prepare for Bike the Drive on Memorial Day Sunday. So what does this involve? I go to their office, eat pizza, and do data entry for a couple of hours while I listen to my tunes. I won't be helping them next Wednesday because I am going to see Romance at the Goodman Theatre and I won't be helping them on April 19th because that's my birthday.

While I don't necessarily subscribe to the conclusions that are made from surveys, I do enjoy looking at the raw data. I think that many surveys have problems that are not addressed mainly I don't think that a composite can be made from the population in the survey. The methods used by surveyors skew the results whether rightly or wrongly and an attempt to correct the raw data by skewing it to the average makes an assumption to what the average is and gives the surveyor the answer that they were expecting. Having said all of that about surveys, I saw a couple of surveys that were kind of related that I found interesting. The first survey was an AP-Ipsos poll about swearing. Some of the results were not really that surprising to me; most people swear, women swear more than men, young people swear more than older people, people who are less educated swear more than educated people. What I found funny was that while more people are swearing, most people find it offensive. Personally, I will admit to swearing although there is a time and a place for it and I will not use it in everyday conversation especially with people I don't know. Do I find it offensive? I don't like hearing someone dropping the F-bomb every other word. The other survey I saw was about morals. Pew Research asked 1,502 people 10 subjects and asked them to rate them moral, immoral, not a moral issue, or "it depends". Painting with broad strokes the results indicated that most of the surveyed thought that cheating on your spouse was immoral, this was followed by cheating on your taxes, drinking too much, abortion, smoking pot, homosexual behavior, telling a lie to spare someone's feelings, sex between unmarried adults, and the lowest number of those surveyed thought that overeating was immoral. Their was no gradation on individual acts, it was simply that more people thought this or that was immoral.


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