Crunching things

1 Feb

THE Editor is sitting at the internet desk, where the online version of the Nitherley Observer and Bugle is uploaded and managed. He’s discussing the best way to present the latest round of council tax rises with the website wizard, Blank Frank.

Editor: “What I would like is the figures for last year and the figures for this year side by side in a graphic, with a third table showing the rise in percentage points. I think that’s the best way to do it. Plus, the MD is in the office today and that’s the sort of thing he likes to see.”

Blank Frank: “The problem with that is: how do we work out the percentage points?”

Editor: “We just work it out. If you have one value and another value which is the first value increased or decreased, you can work out what the percentage is.”

Blank Frank: “Yeh, but how do you actually do that? I presume there is a formula or something.”

Editor: “I think you take the little number away from the big number then times it by a hundred.”

Blank Frank, clicking on a calculator: “Nah. That gives us a rise of 767 per cent for the first council. That doesn’t sound right.”

Editor: “Perhaps you take the big number from the little number. No, that doesn’t sound right either. Do you divide the big number by the little number then multiply by a hundred? Or do you divide it by a hundred? Try that.”

Big Bernard, from the newsdesk: “It’s nothing to do with big numbers and little numbers. You have to determine which value you want to show as a percentage point rise of the other and work that way.”

The managing director strolls across the office and nods pleasantly. “I heard you talking just there. Is there anything I can help you with?”

Editor: “Er . . .”

Blank Frank, jumping in: “Yeh, we can’t work out these council tax rises as percentage points because we’re all thick, basically. It needs someone with brains to do it.”

MD, punching the Editor on the shoulder in a jovial manner: “Good job you’re not in charge of the editorial budget, hey? Okay, Frank. Email the figures to me and I’ll sort them out when I’ve had a coffee.”

The MD walks away.

Editor: “Doesn’t that sort of thing absolutely grind down your fucking will to live?”

Big Bernard, from the newsdesk: “You take the big number away from the little number, divide it by the square root of the hypotenuse and multiply the answer by 3.142 – or 22 over seven if you prefer the imperial format. Works for me every time.”

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