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O Tempora. O morons

31/07/2013

This extract is from an article in yesterday’s Times, on the increasing use of digital technology in the Civil Service. It’s by Rachel Sylvester, who should know better; as should the Daily Murdoch‘s sub-editors:

“As if to prove the point, the computers at the Government Digital Service cost two-thirds less than those in other departments. At the same time, the average cost of a digital transaction is 20 times less than using the phone, 30 times lower than the post and 50 times lower than a face-to-face arrangement.”

No. It’s not “x times less than”. In the first sentence, the GDS computers cost a third, or 33%, of the others. In the second, the cost is a twentieth, thirtieth or fiftieth of. It could, alternatively, be five, three or two per cent of. “X times less than” is sloppy, illogical, meaningless drivel.

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