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
The maths of the Eurovision song contest
Shane Whelan likes a challenge, and his career path has been defined both by what he enjoyed and by a desire to keep learning. Becoming an actuary seemed like the perfect solution.
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