Monday, August 21, 2006

Bad reporting

I was just reading this article on Yahoo news: U of Texas-Austin tops party school list, and found this text:

Tests showed Phanta "Jack" Phoummarath's blood alcohol level was 0.50 percent,
more than six times the legal limit.

Six times the legal limit of what? In many states 0.8% is the limit of blood/alcohol content for driving. Not for sitting on a sofa with a plastic cup in your hand.

Last time I checked, there is no law limiting how much you can drink, only where you can do it, and some rules about what you can't do while drunk.

Writing it this way makes it sound like the poor kid (who died of alcohol poisoning) was doing something illegal, and that some kind of additional law enforcement would make the world a better place.

That's just bad reporting.


Anonymous said...

According to this website ( the limit in most states is typically .08%, not .8%.

The LD50 for ethanol is about 7g/kg (.7%), so BAC of .8% would be lethal to many.

Bad math: worse than bad reporting? Discuss...

Jay Bazuzi said...

Glad my editor is looking out for me. :-)

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