The Numeracy The Journalistic Class

For some reason, I happened upon this old WSJ piece on John Paulson, the hedge fund manager who profited most from the financial crisis.

Explaining how Paulson and his portfolio manager Paolo Pellegrini crafted the “best trade ever”, we have this gem:

Late at night, in his cubicle, Mr. Pellegrini tracked home prices across the country since 1975. Interest rates seemed to have no bearing on real estate. Grasping for new ideas, Mr. Pellegrini added a “trend line” that clearly illustrated how much prices had surged lately. He then performed a “regression analysis” to smooth the ups and downs.

Why, yes, we need scare quotes to describe dark, arcane wizardry like “trend lines” and “regression.” Clearly, these guys are rocket scientists!

Le sigh.