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Proofiness The Dark Art of Mathematical Deception

ISBN-10: 0670022160
ISBN-13: 9780670022168
Edition: 2010
Authors: Charles Seife
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Description: The bestselling author of Zeroshows how mathematical misinformation pervades-and shapes-our daily lives. According to MSNBC, having a child makes you stupid. You actually lose IQ points. Good Morning Americahas announced that natural blondes will be  More...

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Book details

List price: $25.95
Copyright year: 2010
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 9/23/2010
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 304
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.50" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.188
Language: English

The bestselling author of Zeroshows how mathematical misinformation pervades-and shapes-our daily lives. According to MSNBC, having a child makes you stupid. You actually lose IQ points. Good Morning Americahas announced that natural blondes will be extinct within two hundred years. Pundits estimated that there were more than a million demonstrators at a tea party rally in Washington, D.C., even though roughly sixty thousand were there. Numbers have peculiar powers-they can disarm skeptics, befuddle journalists, and hoodwink the public into believing almost anything. "Proofiness," as Charles Seife explains in this eye-opening book, is the art of using pure mathematics for impure ends, and he reminds readers that bad mathematics has a dark side. It is used to bring down beloved government officials and to appoint undeserving ones (both Democratic and Republican), to convict the innocent and acquit the guilty, to ruin our economy, and to fix the outcomes of future elections. This penetrating look at the intersection of math and society will appeal to readers of Freakonomicsand the books of Malcolm Gladwell.

A graduate of Yale University in Mathematics, Charles Seife's areas of research include probability theory and artificial intelligence. His journalism includes articles for The New Scientist, The Economist, and Scientific American among others. His first book, Zero: the Biography of a Dangerous Idea, won the PEN Award for Non-fiction.

Introduction: Proofiness
Phony Facts, Phony Figures
Rorschach's Demon
Risky Business
Poll Cats
Electile Dysfunction
An Unfair Vote
Alternate Realities
Propaganda by the Numbers
Acknowledgments
Statistical Error
Electronic Voting
The Prosecutor's Fallacy
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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