statistics

This is the second part of our new column on risk and uncertainty. David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge, continues examining league tables using the Premier League as an example. Find out just how much — or how little — these simple rankings can tell you.

Life is full of coincidences, but how do you work out if something is really as unlikely as it seems? In this article Rob Eastaway and John Haigh find chance in church and work out the odds.
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.

League tables are controversial and for good reason. Few things are simple enough to be measured by a single outcome like, for example, the number of exam passes or successful heart operations. But even if we do accept a single yardstick, we haven't yet reckoned with chance, which by itself can produce apparent patterns to delight any tabloid editor.

With the rugby world cup in full swing, it's time to look at some numbers
This year's prize goes to Srinivasa S. R. Varadhan
Emily Poskett works as a government statistician for the Department for International Development. With lots of travel and the opportunity to make a real difference in poorer countries, her job is far more than just number crunching.
Runner up in the general public category. "Lies, damned lies, and statistics..." Ben Parker tells us how to tell good statistics from bad, and make sure your cat is well-fed.
A statistical study into Iraq war deaths sparks controversy
Collecting chances
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