Project #42832 - "Playing with numbers- Crime rates, Death tolls and Federal Budgets

 

Playing With Numbers

 

Thread Number One: Crime Rate

 

It would be nearly impossible for any two people from two different locations in the United States to agree on anything regarding the crime rate.  The stance by the FBI that the violent crime rate in the United States has been steadily going down would be snorted out by most people living in Chicago who see a parade of shootings every night on the local news, or for that matter anyone who lives in the border towns near Mexico where the ongoing drug wars have exacted a serious toll.  But the crime rate is going down – but what is the crime rate?

 

There is a huge difference in the number of crimes committed versus the crime rate.  The number of crimes that are reported is a number that stands on its own (although there is a lot missing from this number) while the crime rate is the number of crimes committed within a given population.  Our population has been on the increase so that alone is a significant factor in why the crime rate appears to be going down. 

 

But this chart doesn’t tell the whole story.  What is missing from this chart that would effect that statement that the crime rate is going down?  Lots to choose from so do your best.

 

 

 

Thread Number Two: Drug Deaths

 

Our worry over drugs is a constant theme in the United States.  Illegal drugs are a significant factor in crimes committed – robberies, assaults, murders – as well as a source of impairment and addiction.  Legal drugs – prescription drugs – have become more of a concern as the FDA has reported a significant increase in addiction to a large variety of prescription drugs over the past two decades.

 

But charting those concerns is always problematic and the two posted charts illustrate what some of those problems are.  All kinds of problems with these two charts – can you figure out what some of them are?

 

 

 

Thread Number Three: Federal Budget

 

Everyone has a lot to say about how the money collected to pay for federal budget items (collected through tax dollars) is spent.  And nearly everyone is wrong.  For example, spending on the space program (thought to be in the billions and billions and billions) was always a thorn in many people’s side – “we have enough problems on Earth without spending money on going to the moon.”   What most people never realized (and which NASA and the government poorly articulated) is that since the inauguration of the space shuttle some 30+ years ago – most spending came from private money – investors and various technology companies who wanted to get their communication satellites into space so we on Earth could have the Internet, IPhones, wireless communication, digital everything that needs a signal. And then there were the defense contractors who wanted to get their spy satellites into space.   And then it certainly does help to have all those weather satellites in space – let’s us know when things like tornadoes, blizzards and hurricanes are approaching. 

 

But it does take some serious reading to figure out how the budget is divided and spent.  So let’s see what sense you can make of this chart that I posted on the federal budget.  There are seven things that should leap out to you but you can focus on just one or two.  What is unclear on this chart?

 

And for a bonus – we constantly hear complaining about how much we spend on foreign aid for disaster relief in foreign countries – with the comment that we should be spending this money at home.  So in looking at the article on Foreign Aid – are we really all that generous?  Is the government really sending way too much money overseas to help people out in times of natural disasters?  Why do we have this impression?

 

 

 

 

 

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Due By (Pacific Time) 10/10/2014 12:00 am
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