Scrutiny

Guest Post by Michael Chambers
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In my first year of graduate school, my Cartography professor emphasized the need for the class not to accept everything as written and when the author presents numbers, we should review the array and assess how appropriate the numbers are in the context of the publication. We also were advised to expect that readers of our articles and other publications would probably hold our writings to the same scrutiny.

Recently the town of Charlestown was ranked 19th among all towns and cities based on an array of numbers and supposedly related variables. The sources of the numbers were not identified. The combination of variables was not explained as to their relationship to each other, the numbers were a combination of real integers, averages, and monetary values. The reader must assume that the variables used had a high degree of commonality and relatively equal eigenvalues. Nonetheless, the reader was expected to buy into the findings of the author and that the town ranks 19th in the State and that the array has some meaning that translates into good or bad. Cranston was ranked 1st in RI on that array. Is that good, bad, or just interesting? Two days after that report was filed, The Providence Journal reported that Cranston was experiencing a rat infestation in some of their neighborhoods. I’d rather be living in the number 19 town without rats.

I also read a an apology by the Chair of the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee in defense of the Progressive Blogguru explaining his great stature in the environmental protection field and there was a statement by another person saying that the Blogguru was a giant in the field of environmental issues as noted by a university professor. I did some graduate work in environmental planning and could not remember seeing mention of the Blogguru. So I went to the Internet and found no mention. The Chair of CDTC enumerated three or four projects (Love Canal, Black Mesa, McToxic, and a Vermont Opposition Group dealing in Environmental issues). I went to those websites and found nothing.

What does this mean? Nothing at all! Not all of the history and personnel records are on the Internet. So we give the Blogguru a pass on this one based on the unbiased testimony of the Chair of the CDTC and another person. So when the Blogguru questions the existence of something in a candidate’s bio, he should be advised to expect that readers of his articles and other publications would probably hold his writings to the same scrutiny.