On Friday, Mark Schleifstein filed a report in the TP on new storm risk assessments. Schleifstein write about the risk of a "100-year storm." He uses the phrase 7 times, in fact. Three times he refers to a "50-year storm" and three times to a "500-year storm."
According to the TP's editors:
There are better ways to describe risk for hurricanes and river floods, and scientists, engineers and government officials would be doing the public a service if they talked in terms of percentage of risk. Doing so takes a little more explanation, but people will be far better informed.Scientists, engineers and government. It's curious that they don't include the media in that list.
So is the TP uninterested in performing a public service. Or does the newspaper just not have the time to explain the odds to the public in terms of percentage of risk. For the scientists, 100-year storm is a shorthand phrase, and they no doubt understand what it really means. Isn't it the media's job to translate technical issues into terms a layman can understand?