Number of homes grows 13-fold! Or not.

Let’s think this through: In a story about census data, one paragraph says 13,535 homes equals 5.7 percent of the total in Lawrence.

The next paragraph says 13,000 homes equals74 percent of the total.

Something smells fishy.

Let’s do some research: The city estimates that Lawrence has 14,393 owner-occupied homes and had a population of 80,098 in 2000.

Now let’s do the math: If 13,000 equals 74 percent of the total, that means there are 17,570 owner-occupied homes in Lawrence. That’s certainly within the ballpark.

But that first estimate? If 13,535 equals 5.7 percent of the total, that would mean the city had  237,456 homes.

That’s 13 times the actual number and three times the number of people.

Forget about smelling fishy: Something smells like the belly of a rotting whale.

I’d suggest trying an abacus next time, but this was more a lapse in logic than a lapse in calculation.

Sometimes editing is about using your nose.

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