Now this intrigued me. There's a table with the report, listing the absolute numbers and the yearly growth rates for cars and two-wheelers in TN over the last four years. It tells me that on April 1 2004, there were 5,547,755 two-wheelers and 564,949 cars in TN: a nearly 10-to-1 ratio. How did that turn around in four years to there being more cars today than two-wheelers?
Quick answer: it didn't. On April 1 2008, according to the same table, there were 8,260,019 two-wheelers and 829,789 cars in TN: still a nearly 10-to-1 ratio.
So why the headline, why that first sentence?
Because T Ramakrishnan has confused growth rates with actual numbers. Still from the same table, over the last year, the number of two-wheelers has increased by 10.08%. The number of cars, by 11.33%. This is the first time, still going by the table, that the growth rate of cars has been higher than the growth rate of two-wheelers.
And that first time, of course, occasions a news report to announce that there are "more cars than two-wheelers" in Tamil Nadu.
Update: The article in question is here, though note that the title has since been corrected to "Growth rate of cars higher than two-wheelers". (Should I take credit for that?)
The first sentence, though, remains the same: "Cars have overtaken two wheelers in the State."
Then there's "City, Thane and Konkan will get 102% rain: Study" in the Times of India (May 27).
What does "102% rain" mean? You might think, 2% above what the area usually gets, 2% above "normal". To begin with I would puzzle about a monsoon prediction that's so precise. How was it deduced?
But there's a still more intriguing sentence in the report: "Anything between 5% and 100% is classified as normal rainfall."
That's right. If in 2008, we get a twentieth as much rain as we have done in any given monsoon season gone by, that'll be "classified as normal rainfall".