Math is a funny thing

We have always felt that there is much wisdom in Lewis Carroll. Take this passage, for example. . .

‘I know what you’re thinking about,’ said Tweedledum; ‘but it isn’t so, no how.’

‘Contrariwise,’ continued Tweedledee, ‘if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.’

. . . which came to mind this week, in the wake of the Observer-Dispatch story detailing the long-awaited project footprint that will accommodate the region’s state-of-the-art medical center. The size of the footprint–25 acres–prompted us to revisit the last few years of social media back-and-forth, in which our “no” friends decried the then-34-acre project outline.

That earlier conceptual rendering, they said, showed that the new hospital would decimate a “large portion,” a “huge part”–“1/4 of” downtown. More recently, even as the defined footprint has shrunk from 34 to 25 acres, our “no” friends have transitioned “large,” “huge” and “1/4” to . . . “1/3.”

At the risk of inflicting mathematics on anyone–on a weekend!–we offer (after extensive research) that 25 is less than 34, and that 33.3% (1/3) is more than 25% (1/4). How, then, can our “no” friends claim that the footprint is now one-third, that it has grown from their earlier claim, even as it has shrunk? And, as for any percentage, is the acreage of downtown Utica a precise and fixed thing?

But enough questions. As we noted earlier, the weekend is here; so let’s all ponder the vagaries of rhetorical math and conclude with the words of another favorite, and appropriate, author, Theodor Seuss Geisel:

“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.”

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