estimates> guestimates> make up numbers

So a deep water oil platform being leased or pumped by BP sort of blows up, the blowout preventer doesn’t prevent crap, and oil is spewing into the Gulf. This is gonna be a bummer. BP and the government place the estimate of oil release from drilling experts on the alter of the media for our consumption. It does not take long for the Inference Engine to fire up and start wheels to turning.

There is no requirement that an estimate be anywhere near accurate or scientific. Look up the definition of the word, it can range to mere opinion, and this spill is a bad thing, so BP is bad, so you know their estimate must be wrong. An easy inferolation, the Inference Engine clicks into 2nd gear.

There’s lots of rocks in America, so within mere hours we are swamped with MondayMorningQuarterbacks & ArmChairGenerals coming forth with ‘expert’ testimony and new guestimates. Multipliers of 10 and 100 start appearing, and these estimates are tempered with the word could as in … “Saturn could loose it’s orbit and join the Earth and Moon in a 3-way”. Well yes, it could, but doesn’t the chance of highly unlikely cross any of your frontal lobes?

Harry Smith on the the CBS Early shows says “The spill is estimated at 8K, but it could range to 80K, and might even be as high as 800K per day”. We’ve hit 3rd gear, we are rolling up near highway speeds, shit just start making up numbers !!! We also don’t need to distinguish between gallons vs barrels, as all you’re doing is confusing the masses.

Gwen Ifill, on Washington Week, damned near has a cat on live TV when bobble head 2 offers up an estimate of double that of bobble head 1. Take a reality pill girl, these numbers your guests are tossing about do not, I repeat, DO NOT change the volume of oil actually coming out of the well head. There is no Cause & Effect between the news you’re reporting and actual facts.

We’re cruising in 4th gear. Ya gotta love the combo of News and Media, it’s a constant source of humor. The professional journalists have factors from 10 to 1,000 (or better) to toss about, and despite the wide range actually talk as though (pick a number) is a fact.

I’m waiting for someone to estimate the sea rise due to oil release.

Could someone turn the Hyperbole knob up a bit?

While we wait, shall we turn to page 23 of our McLuhan Hymnal and sing along?


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