Monday, 23 April 2007

Accent problems

I spent several years of my life learning to pronounce a proper name like the locals did… but for the next 24 hours, to avoid sounding like a southerner (usually not a problem for me, except for the occasional “y’all”), I have to consciously pronounce the name the way northerners pronounce it—if only so people can understand the proper name I’m using.

Teaching moments

Free Exchange notes New York Times reporter Erik Eckholm playing fast and loose with infant mortality statistics to extrapolate ominous trends from what appear to be random year-to-year fluctuations in infant death rates (and a downward-sloping overall trend, to boot).

One might also wonder what effect—if any—Hurricane Katrina had on the 2005 mortality rate. That is, if one weren’t Eckholm, who doesn’t even mention the possibility of a relationship with the largest natural disaster in Mississippi history.