Here, or Flame Forum?
It is not a responsibility I am particularly proud of, but each year at this time I am responsible for putting together a presentation for the Big Boss to give to an industry association dinner in January. It's a useless undertaking: I don't want to work on it, the BB doesn't really want to deliver it, and so far as I've been able to tell in years past (for I am compelled to attend), the industry group sits through it patiently but regards the presentation as an interruption to the evening's proper business of drinking and schmoozing.
The thing has grown over the years by a process of accretion, and I'm going to lobby for lopping off some of these excrescences this time around. One of the few sections that does interest the audience is statistic-intensive, and involves lots of tables: I get the figgers from various organs of our Bay Area operations and try to make them comprehensible onscreen. Today I am rendering a simple table consisting of, let us say, the past two years' business in five different models of thumbscrew. Everyone is aching to know whether we saw more or less traffic in models A through E, and by what percentage thumbscrew production increased or declined from 2011 through the (estimated) end of 2012. Here's what they gave me for Model E, the "Inquisitor":
Now, none of the other models showed anything like the surge in demand for the "Inquisitor," and if you merely glanced at the first four entries on the table as I received it, you might not notice that for every model the idiots have divided the difference between the two years by the latter year and not by the former in order to arrive at the percentage by which the 2011 baselines increased or decreased. But who can look at those "Inquisitor" numbers and not have a clue that his procedure might be faulty?
The management nimrod across town who prepared these tables (three pages of 'em, oh my brothers and only friends) makes about $30K per annum more than I do. I wish to fuck that he and his fellow clowns would do their jobs properly, or else remit to me pro rata compensation for the elementary competencies they ought to possess and which I am instead obliged to provide to keep all of us at BDS from looking like utter boobs before a gathering of our competitors and peers.