# Twice as good, half as bad

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1097033.  Tue Oct 07, 2014 6:30 am

In the first episode of the L season, the scores were given as such:

Colin Lane got -20, and last place.

Then Stephen said: "In third place, twice as good a score but still -10, Sarah Millican."

Well, I want to start by saying that I have the flu, in case this is a stupid point, but is -10 'twice as good' as -20?

I can see it is half as bad, but I just can't get that to be the same as 'twice as good' in this context or many others.

Would anyone agree?

One way I can get it to make sense is if good is inversely proportional to bad.

Then
 Code: good = c / bad

Thus
 Code: 2 * good = c / (1/2 * bad)

But I don't think good is inversely proportional to bad, as otherwise when something is in no way bad then it is infinitely good, and I can think of cases where it is not so! (I was going to give some examples but I am pretty sure that will digress into differing opinions on whether something is bad or not, so I will leave it up to the reader for that).

One quick example is that I might say, due to the flu, "Tomorrow I hope I will feel half as bad as I do today," but I would not say "Tomorrow I hope I will feel twice as good as I do today," because I don't feel good at all! (Cue discussion about the human brain's ability to measure feeling good and bad?)

Alternatively, if bad was -30, and good was -20, then -10 would arguably be 'twice as good'... which actually kind of works in QI scoring, but I'm still not convinced!

Sure, it's persnickety, but isn't that what QI is all about?

 1097045.  Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:19 am That's a lovely QI quibble - welcome to the forums :-)

 1097072.  Tue Oct 07, 2014 1:13 pm I suppose it's a similar question around temperature. Is -20C half as cold as -40C? Or is -173C half as hot as -73C? (ie 100K and 200K)

 1097088.  Tue Oct 07, 2014 6:54 pm Welcome James. You do realise, don't you, that the QI scoring procedures is an area where even angles and Angles fear to tread. There is a whole mathematical/linguistic can of worms here.

1097096.  Tue Oct 07, 2014 8:31 pm

 JamesCC wrote: Sure, it's persnickety, but isn't that what QI is all about?

Unequivocal accuracy? No, I don't think that's terribly high on the agenda.

;)

1097102.  Tue Oct 07, 2014 10:32 pm

 tetsabb wrote: Welcome James. angles and Angles

Yeah, I was acutely aware that I might be being obtuse (and English).

Still, I'm glad you recognized I was not being holier than thou.

;)

Last edited by JamesCC on Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:52 pm; edited 1 time in total

1097105.  Tue Oct 07, 2014 10:51 pm

 Posital wrote: I suppose it's a similar question around temperature. Is -20C half as cold as -40C? Or is -173C half as hot as -73C? (ie 100K and 200K)

Oooh, interesting point. The existence of different scales does indeed complicate the matter, and just going numerically -173C both IS and IS NOT half as hot as -73C depending on the frame of reference.

I like that.

But under what (legitimate and recognized) frame of reference is a score of -10 twice as good as -20?

I suppose the answer is: QI scoring :)

I suppose another answer is one of the ones I originally proposed: if the 'zero' point of 'bad' is -30 and good is accepted as -20 then -10 is twice as good as -20, 0 is three times as good, +10 is four times as good, and so on. But can anyone point to established precedent on this in QI? And is this an example of the much decried modern tendency to call every result 'good' creeping into that bastion of excellence, QI? Was the bit where Colin Lane said 'Well, I had fun, which is the most important thing' cut out? ;)

All that being said, your example of temperature is at least simplified by heat being inversely proportional to cold (I think, though they are imprecise terms), which removes that consideration. So IN ANY GIVEN SCALE if something is half as cold then it is twice as hot, which is not something you can necessarily say about bad and good.

Last edited by JamesCC on Wed Oct 08, 2014 4:26 am; edited 1 time in total

 1097106.  Tue Oct 07, 2014 10:55 pm Oh, and Jenny, thank you for the kind welcome! Nice of you to notice. And Troux, just :D

1097117.  Wed Oct 08, 2014 4:22 am

 Posital wrote: I suppose it's a similar question around temperature. Is -20C half as cold as -40C? Or is -173C half as hot as -73C? (ie 100K and 200K)

I think the difference here would be that temperature has a minimum to start from, whereas the QI scoring, presumably, does not?

1097120.  Wed Oct 08, 2014 4:30 am

 tetsabb wrote: Welcome James. You do realise, don't you, that the QI scoring procedures is an area where even angles and Angles fear to tread. There is a whole mathematical/linguistic can of worms here.

Was one of those supposed to say 'angels'? :p

1097124.  Wed Oct 08, 2014 4:42 am

 swot wrote: Was one of those supposed to say 'angels'? :p

Hmmm.... I did wonder whether my version of that was too obscure. :p

Acute/obtuse (angle), English (Angle), and not holy (angel)...?

 1097157.  Wed Oct 08, 2014 9:13 am What about Saxons and Jutes?

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