Entering a Dark Age of Innovation?, Adler, Robert, NewScienctist.com
How to Lie With Statistics, Huff, Darrell, , WW Norton&Co, 1954
The article in the NewScientist.com about an upcoming paper, had all the trappings of a "tongue in cheek" joke: Someone from someplace respectable proposes something highly controversial by cooking the numbers.
When I read the article, I found it didn't pass the "laugh test".
The fundamental "errors of statistics" so totally bias the statistical results that could have been used to advertise Darrell Huff's book!
But, looking on the web, I found that "controversy" seems to win out over intelligence and common sense. (This was just like the time in Intel when some undergrad at a 3rd rate college in New Hampshire managed to send a mail to Andy Grove requesting a computer for his "important research" and got attention from over 4 levels of management.)
For a bit of fun, you read the article: can you identify the 10 or 16 "problems"?, each of which means the results are totally useless?
Then, do a quick search on the web and look at what "respected reporters" say.
Below is my summary and analysis.
The article is a "review" of an upcoming article by Jonathan Huebner, a physicist working at the Pentagon's Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, California to be published in Technological Forecasting and Social Change.
Based on his insight that "promised advances in technology were not appearing as quickly as predicted", he wondered if "there was a reason for this". "Perhaps there is a limit to what technology can achieve."
Huebner does some statistical analysis on inventions and, voila, concludes that innovation is declining. His conclusions (as summarized in the review) include:
Huebner concludes that:
I've made the analysis a lot easier by picking out the "results" from the chaff it was embedded within.
My assessment is;
Now, it could be that the author has all this covered in his paper...
but the summaries don't read that way.
=> They read as if he is about to go job hunting and wanted to get his name known!