4 thoughts on “THE END OF TIMES

  1. Very interesting! I noted that story and it seemed kind of fishy to me (http://typosphere.blogspot.com/2015/08/a-sinking-ship.html) but I did not do the legwork to check the statistics. You explain, very clearly, why the reasoning in the story was nonsense and why Mr. Johnson’s defense is incoherent. I’m not going to cancel my NYT subscription (I do enjoy getting that hunk of tree flopped onto my lawn on Sundays), but I am disappointed that the editors ran such a biased and illogical story—on the front of the Magazine, no less. Furthermore, the story is pernicious because it contributes to the mindless celebration of all things digital.

    Another ludicrous example of a leading story that plays fast and loose with statistics is the Wired cover story that claimed “the Web is dead” a few years back, The percentage of Internet traffic devoted to traditional web pages has indeed declined. Why? Because people are streaming more audio and video, which of course takes up a lot of bandwidth. But in fact, the use of the Web is continuing and growing. It was a classic case of lies, damned lies, and statistics.

    • I love the comments you made on the typewriter in the cover illustration.

      I was very disappointed in the magazine’s editor. It was hard not to have high hopes for the man who reintroduced poetry to the magazine. I also thought his book (Nothing Happened and Then It Did) was excellent. I wish it were not the same man who made these editorial decisions and then defended them so reflexively.

      Richard, it looks like your book will also be a nice hunk of tree. Look forward to reading about The Typewriter Revolution soon.

    • Thanks for the cite and the great article. I hadn’t known about the NEA study. At first glance, the ASEC analysis confuses me. It looks odd to present the 95.3 percent earnings growth statistic for musicians. It looks like you have to choose trough to peak type endpoints along the musicians’ volatile cycle to get there. The linearization is more useful for understanding what happens over time rather than where you choose your endpoints, and it shows a lower growth rate than for other workers. I’m not sure why that statistic isn’t the focus of the text.

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