What is the main theme of the collected essays in A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The essays in A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper are collected to illustrate the theme that mathematics can be and is misused in newspapers and other media to misrepresent or represent with a bias or blind to other representations the facts, figures and statistics associated with issues.

The theme is discussed in relation to national, international, local, business and social news issues. To illustrate the theme, in medical reporting, saying that 100,000 people in every major city have environmental poisoning syndrome sounds greater than saying less than 1 percent of the population suffer from this environmental illness. Those who are fighting for the recognition of the problem will most likely choose the absolute number whereas those who ridicule sufferers and even protest its existence will most likely present the percentage in order to downplay its significance.

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A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper

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