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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Data quality: an old issue, in more than one way

Many of the claims about one nation being better than another on something turn out to be data quality issues.  Here's another example:


TOKYO — Japan has long boasted of having many of the world's oldest people — testament, many here say, to a society with a superior diet and a commitment to its elderly that is unrivaled in the West.

That was before the police found the body of a man thought to be one of Japan's oldest, at 111 years, mummified in his bed, dead for more than three decades. His daughter, now 81, hid his death to continue collecting his monthly pension payments, the police said.

Alarmed, local governments began sending teams to check on other elderly residents. What they found so far has been anything but encouraging. ...

relatives of a man listed as 103 years old said he had left home 38 years ago and never returned. The man's son, now 73, told officials that he continued to collect his father's pension "in case he returned one day."

Similarly, those my age remember those endless Dannon Yogurt ads, contending that people in the Caucus mountains area who ate a lot of yogurt were living to very old ages.  Turns out, they didn't know where their birth certificates were -- but did know that Dannon's checks were good ;)

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