"Your assumptions are your windows on the world.
Scrub them off every once in a while,
or the light won't come in.”
- Isaac Asimov
The headlines blare:
AMERICANS LAZIER THAN
IN CHINA OR U.K.
How did they come to that astounding conclusion?
From a new study published in the latest edition of NATURE
by a team of scientists from Standford University.
The research team analyzed the number of daily steps
taken by more than 700,000 people worldwide,
collected via the smartphone Argus activity monitoring app.
All told, they amassed 68 million days of data.
The average number of daily steps worldwide, they said, was 4,961.
But that number varied widely from country to country.
In top-place Hong Kong, for example, survey participants took an average of 6,880 steps a day.
In Indonesia, the average was just 3,513, putting it at the bottom of the rankings.
You and I may not be scientists, but I am sure you can see the glaring flaw.
As I wrote about yesterday,
Technology seems to delude people into thinking everyone is like them.
The sample is quite obviously heavily biased.
Most people in poorer countries cannot even dream of having a device which measures their steps.
Think the South American jungles, African hinterlands,
the desert homeland of the Australian aborigines, the impoverished third country citizens ...
You can easily add to the list ...
So you know that the vast majority of people in those countries
walk huge distances but their steps are not recorded.
SO WHY THE HEADLINES?
Nothing in the study suggests that people who walk less are lazy.
But it was great click-bait!
It worked on you, me, and others.
Beware getting your view of the world through reading headlines.
Ghost of Mark Twain here brushing this fool boy aside so as to make sense of his nonsense ...
"We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it
and stop there lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid.
She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again
and that is well
but also she will never sit down
on a cold one anymore either!"
What do you pilgrims
think about all this?