In case you missed it on allstat: the Tory government in Canada has decided to change their census, so that instead of requiring 20% of the population to fill out the “long form”, they will now merely ask (nicely?) for the form to be filled.  And to make up for some people not doing it, they’ll send out more of them, to 30% of the population. So they pay 50% more for something that’s worth much much less, cos they won’t have a clue what causes non-response, and nor will any researchers across their country for the next five years. (And any Canadian interested in historical changes over time for the centuries ahead are going to find a black hole around 2010.)

John Campey and the Data Hounds (including Sarah Palin?) had this to say:

If you, like me, think this decision is totally thick, then you could sign this petition.

Oh, and Nature ran an editorial on this débâcle, which is where I got the link to the petition (and the youtube video).

P.S. It’s not really a census if it’s “just” 20% of the population: it’s a sample. Similarly our own “census” is not a census (I did Singapore’s “census” this year, and got very irate in the process. Not just the name, but the way the answers were designed, it was really really bad. For instance, I had to choose my “race”. Searching through their list, I think I had the choice of {Caucasian, Briton, Scot}, any of which is right, but I only got to choose one, despite Scot being a subset of Briton being a subset of Caucasian.  So they probably have the right number of Scots living in Singapore but one Briton and one Caucasian too few.  Ditto when it came to my wife’s religion, they only let me choose one, but as far as I’ve been able to tell, she has two religions.)