7Fun figures: see through the number jumble

Cancer Rates Drop for Second Straight Year: Robust Pipeline of New Medicines Offers Even More Hope.

Press release headline, January 2007

Pivotal Paper in The Oncologist from National Cancer Institute Predicts Doubling of Cancer Patients.

Press release headline, January 2007

These headlines are great fun to puzzle over, especially because they were published within days of each other. They seem to be completely at odds and probably make many readers want to throw their arms up in dismay, bemoaning how those darned scientists never agree on anything. Yet, a little “secret” can be illuminating. The secret is the difference between the meaning of “rate” and “number.” ...

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