[ RadSafe ] Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

BLHamrick at aol.com BLHamrick at aol.com
Sun Nov 18 00:17:00 CST 2007

Whoever should be credited with the quote, I personally admire their  
I know there's been very little notice by health physicists, but back in  
October 2006, the "Santa Susana Advisory Panel" issued a "report" on a 1959  
reactor incident (_www.ssflpanel.org_ (http://www.ssflpanel.org) ),  and, if ever, 
the quote applied, I believe it is in the case of this so-called  "report" 
with regard to the accident assessment and consequence  assessment.
In particular, the "reports" by Jan Beyea and David Lochbaum are, in my  
opinion, ridiculously speculative, and their conclusions lack any real  scientific 
basis.  They would, in my opinion, be purely fodder for humor,  but for the 
fact that they received a considerable amount of press here in  California, and 
their conclusions have become "factoids" of sort...i.e., in the  true meaning 
of "factoids," which (as Al Franken points out in "The Truth,  (with Jokes"), 
the American Heritage Dictionary, defines  as "a piece of unverified or 
inaccurate information that is presented in  the press as factual and that is then 
accepted as true because of frequent  repetition."  Or, for those who prefer 
fake TV news to fake print news, the  conclusions of Beyea and Lochbaum have 
taken on a "truthiness" (thank you,  Stephen Colbert) of their own, despite the 
I hope you all might take a look at the SSFL Panel report, and don't forget  
to review the panel participants, just for the fun of it. 
Barbara L. Hamrick
In a message dated 11/15/2007 11:32:44 AM Pacific Standard Time,  
radproject at sbcglobal.net writes:

It has  been said that "There are three types of lies - lies, damn lies, and  
statistics." - This quote is variously attributed to Benjamin Disraeli  [most 
likely source], Mark Twain and many other dead people. Whoever said  it, this 
is a very relevant quote for HPs.

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