You meet an old friend on holiday, you find your colleague shares your birthday, you win the lottery. Exactly how rare are these rare events? David Spiegelhalter investigates in his regular column on uncertainty and risk.
NHS budgets, third world debt, predictions of global warming, inflation, Iraqi war dead, the decline of fish stocks or hedgehogs, the threat of cancer — there's hardly a subject people care about that comes without measurements, forecasts, rankings, statistics, targets, numbers of every variety. Do they illuminate or mislead? Introducing their new book, Michael Blastland and Andrew
Dilnot take a look at numbers in the media and show that a little maths goes a long way in unravelling dodgy media claims.
Did you know that you can't average averages? Or that Paris is rainier than London ... but it rains more in London than in Paris? Andrew Stickland explores the dangers that face the unwary when using a single number to summarise complex data.
Numbers are bandied around all the time in sports coverage - and cricket is particularly rich in statistics and rankings. It has probably not escaped your attention that the World Cup of cricket has just finished in South Africa (Australia won - again) and so to mark the occasion, Rob Eastaway tells Plus what it takes to be the best.