Thursday, October 12, 2006

Gotta love the press

In case you've been hermitting in a cave for the last week, North Korea claimed that they've tested nuclear missles underground. In a wonderful piece of objective and topical journalism, Sky News reported on this issue by blabbing about Israel's nuclear capabilities. In particular, I quote:
Type "Israel nuclear" into Google's search engine and you get 28 million results. That is two million more than if you type "Russian nuclear". Russia may have a much bigger nuclear arsenal, but there is always more speculation and discussion about things that are secret. [link]
Usually we don't talk about politics here, and this post is no exception. This is merely an analysis of a poor piece of journalism, and I will not deal with the obvious overall slant of the article and its shoddy political journalism. After all, poli-sci people need something to do with their time.
So, with that out of the way, let's compare Google searches. The Israel analogue of "Russian nuclear" is "Israeli nuclear," not "Israel_ nuclear." In other words - not a fair comparison. So let's do it ourselves: "Israeli nuclear" gives 9.73 million hits while "Russian nuclear" returns 25.7 million. OK, more results about Russia than Israel. Well, I suppose we can try "Israel nuclear" which gives 27.7 million, still less than "Russia nuclear"'s 28.7 million. So their argument is deceitful in its presentation. That's no surprise.
But, as many other people have pointed out (sorry for lack of links), using Google's returned results to prove a point is stupid to begin with. A simple counterexample. If there is "always more speculation and discussion" about secret things, please note: "Clinton democrat" gives 12.2 million results, while "Bush democrat" gives a whopping 20.1 million reults. Do you think anyone really suspects that Bush is a democrat in secret when no-one's looking?
Stupid reporters.

5 comments:

  1. I've always wondered whether israel actually has nuclear weapons, or whether it just denies having nuclear weapons, knowing that no one will believe it. I mean if you think about $5 million shkalim/yearfor the upkeep of empty silos is a lot less than the amount Russia spends for those missles it's not using. As long as Israel never needs the missles, it comes out ahead.

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  2. Plus you could have used Google Battle. That's what it's for.

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  3. Speaking of which, the world has much to fear from Not Uncle Sysfrog.

    Sorry about the triple comment.

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  4. Good call, notElon. Israel vs. Russia gives 27.2 vs. 29 million, and Israeli vs. Russian gives 9.21 vs. 24.5 [note updated numbers].

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  5. Not Uncle Sysfrog10/13/06, 9:13 AM

    well...Notelon is correct.....
    be afraid of Canada....be VERY afraid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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