Any "X times fewer" statements, such as:
. . . vegans are responsible for 2.5 times fewer food-related greenhouse-gas emissions . . . ; Heather Moore, research specialist for the PETA Foundation, quoted on Sauk Valley.com And is she talking about number of emission incidents, or volume of what was emitted? We'll never know.
. . . technology of this device has 120 times fewer false alarms . . . ; ALEJANDRA BUITRAGO in Anchorage Press.
. . . pediatricians and parents are testing five times fewer young people . . .; TIM LAHEY, M.D. in New York Times (!)
The "math" of the reverse statement--"x times as many"--can be calculated. ("3 times as many as X" if x is 100, then we are talking about 300. How does this work for a negative? 5 times fewer? What is the X in this statement? If we now have 120 times fewer false alarms, and we had 10 false alarms before, we now have (120 x 10) 1200 fewer false alarms, or 10-1200. Not possible to have -1190 false alarms.
The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see.