Views on strike action

Please could you spend a moment completing this brief questionnaire.
My reasons for asking can be found at the end of this post.

There are many differing views about the proposed strike next week by public sector workers.Typically polls have received a turnout of between 30% to 50% – with up to 80% of those voting supporting strike action.

I am interested to know what support there is overall, including from those who are not even able to vote, and will publish the results shortly. Those of you who I have discussed this with in person probably expected something along these lines at some point.

Update 30th November 2011:
My opinion on recent comments can be seen here.

Update 10th December 2011:
Results have been added here.

Being nice prevents tooth decay

An article in today’s Daily Telegraph makes reference to a study that was carried out in order to identify a link between violence in teenagers and their drinking of fizzy drinks.

Almost 2,000 14 to 18-year-olds from 20 schools in Boston were asked how many cans of non-diet fizzy drink they had consumed over the past week and if they had been violent towards a peer, sibling or partner over the previous year.

From this sample and these questions, the article concludes that fizzy drinks addicts* were more likely to be violent to their peers [58 per cent for addicts versus 35 per cent for non-addicts], siblings [43% vs 25%] or partners [27% vs 15%]. As such, the newspaper opted for the headline ‘Fizzy drinks make teenagers violent’. However, there is no evidence that this is the case; the headline could equally have been ‘Violence makes teenagers consume fizzy drinks’, although my preference would be the one used as the title for this entry.

I understand that newspapers need to generate money, and catchy headlines are a significant way of aiding this, but I become frustrated by how misleading they can be. Is it any wonder that students respond like this in their exam**, when the world is full of so much conflicting information?


Thanks to David Spiegelhalter for bringing this article to my attention.


* An addict was classed as someone drinking more than fourteen fizzy drinks per week (two per day), whereas a non-addict as someone drinking a maximum of one can a week [quite what those in the middle are classed as, I am not sure].

** For information, the student actually achieved a grade C in their exam.

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