Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Latest sensational event probably poor guide to underlying long-term trend

(For Hopi…)

A NEWLY RELEASED statistic shows that the thing it measures has sharply and unexpectedly changed. The move takes the number index past the psychologically important level at which overexcitable fools gibber a bit.

The sheer oddness of the number, which has been met with gaping and shrieks aplenty, almost certainly means that it means very little. The index usually only changes gradually, and this latest statistic represents the biggest ever change since records began not all that long ago. The nearest comparison was the sudden shift a couple of years back, after which nothing much happened except that it later turned out to have been wrong.

Today’s statistic is the first provisional estimate for the number covering a period of time that did actually pass some while ago without anyone noticing anything unusual. It is still liable to be revised a few times as new data comes in, then encased in concrete and dumped in the sea, before being revised again in a very quiet voice in the dead of night.

A spokesman from the Institute For Stuff (IFS) said: “You got me out of bed for this?”

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