A common peeve, but really now... - Jay Maynard

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Sunday, 31 January 2010


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0950 - A common peeve, but really now...

One sure way to get a rise out of a parliamentarian is to argue that a majority is "one more than half" or "50% plus one" or some such. (A majority is simply "more than half"; the reason that such attempts at precision are wrong is that they're off by one if the total number of votes is odd.) Even those who make that mistake will, nevertheless, see the problem with this headline, reported on criggo.com:

'We hate math', say 4 in 10 - a majority of Americans

location: 56031
current mood: [mood icon] amused

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Comments:


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From:ekatarina
Date: - 0000
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Sigh.

When we have generalist teachers who do think highly of math teaching early numeracy, this is what happens.

Sigh.

Ekatarina
From:po8crg
Date: - 0000

Off by one?

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Surely you mean they are off by a half? 50%+1 of an odd number would be one-half more than the majority, not one more.
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From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000

Re: Off by one?

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The problem is that you can't have half of a vote.

Take a body with 21 members present and voting. Half of that is 10.5, which, since you can't have half of a vote, means that you need 11 votes to be a majority. 50%+1 is 11.5, which means 12 votes are needed.

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