Sunday, September 16, 2007


Solve the word problem and go to the head of the class

Our meeting will be hosting the Eyes Wide Open Across PA memorial next month, and this morning I'm going to worship at a neighboring meeting so that I can recruit volunteers for EWO from among their members.

The original Eyes Wide Open was a memorial consisting of a pair of boots for each American service person killed in the Iraqi conflict. The American Friends Service Committee first assembled the memorial in Chicago in 2005, when the body count stood at 700-something. It toured the country for two years, adding boots as the number of casualties rose. By the time the number of American military casualties got to 3,000, the memorial had become just too massive to haul around. It was assembled for the last time last May. Since then, the AFSC has dispersed the boots to its state chapters, who continue to mount the exhibit, each one memorializing the number of dead from its state. I've volunteered for the memorial and blogged about it previously.

EWO also includes a proportionate number of shoes of various sizes and styles, representing the Iraqi civilians who have perished.

I've always been poor at math, so maybe someone can answer this word problem:
If 3,775 American military personnel have perished in the Iraq war to date, and the O.R.B.' s latest estimate of Iraqi civilian casualties stands at more than 1,000,000, what would be the proportion of civilian shoes to military boots that AFSC would need in order to mount a representative memorial to Iraqi civilians, if they were still doing the original exhibit?


The O.R.B., or Opinion Research Business, is one of the UK's formost "corporate and issues-led market research companies." They report in a recent news item that their research has shown that over 1,000,000 Iraqi civilians have died. The O.R.B.'s methodology is similar to that used by researchers at Johns Hopkins, who reported last October that over 655,000 Iraqi civilians had perished in the violence.

And after you've answered the word problem, maybe you can answer this question for me:
Why?

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