level 1

Public or Qualitative

Slightly embarrassing video

A video has gone on Youtube called Professor Risk as part of a series made for the Cambridge 800 years anniversary. To be honest it's a bit lightweight when it comes to risk, and all the subtle bits got cut. We filmed a whole lot more including my GP taking my blood, discussing statins and screening for prostate cancer. All on the cutting-room floor. Good point: Stephen Fry does the intro voiceover. Bad point: me in my jim-jams.

Can you rank hospitals like football teams?

Elsewhere on this site we talk about the difficulties in making reliable rankings of footbal teams, but at least people can agree that winning matches is a reasonable way to measure the quality of a team. Hospitals are different - even something 'obvious' such as mortality statistics may not be the best way to asses patient safety. This is an article that appeared in the Times on December 2nd, with suitable links added.

Ecstasy and equasy, heroin and hang-gliding

This appeared in the Times on November 3rd and is based on the excellent lecture that got David Nutt sacked as chair of the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs (although he might still be in post if he had only added that it was delivered in his personal capacity). Nutt has suffered the consequences of repeatedly breaking the taboo of comparing the risks of the legal and wholesome (horse-riding) or long-established (alcohol and smoking), with the illegal and "impure" Ecstasy and cannabis.
The version below contains links to sources and a few comments and corrections.

What are the chances of successful fertility treatment?

iconThe Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) recently launched their ‘Choose a Fertility Clinic’ website which provides a huge range of information about each clinic licenced by the HFEA, with a lot of fairly complex statistics. The website carefully avoids direct comparisons and any hint of a ‘league table’, but here we look at whether we can draw statistically-valid conclusions about whether some clinics, for whatever reason, really do provide higher chances of success than others.

What's the chance you've slept with a celebrity?

Brits three romps from celeb sex” headlined the Sun on Friday, adding that “boffins at Cambridge University have calculated every person in the UK is linked to a star through their sexual partners — with just three steps separating the average person from a steamy celeb romp”.

Some recent coverage

Random events tend to cluster, and just to illustrate this we've suddenly got a burst of coverage of our work:

    Chance in football

    To coincide with the kick off of the football Premier League 2009–2010 we have updated our articles on the role of chance in football, and we have updated our animation to include leagues from across Europe over the past twenty years.

    European Football - How much is chance?


    Football
    Is football just a matter of luck? Just because a team ends up top of the league, does it really mean it is the best team? We have taken most of the major league football games played in Europe since 1993 and created an animation that shows what happened in each league and how much of the apparent difference between the teams was due to chance alone.

    Survival Worldwide

    We have adapted Link to Survival Animationour Survival Worldwide animation to visualise life table data from the Human Lifetable Database maintained by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (Rostock, Germany), the Department of Demography at the University of California (Berkeley, USA), and the Institut national d'études démographiques (Paris, France).

    Screening for disease and dishonesty

    This is a rather late announcement of pages we have put up on the use of screening tests. Using lie detectors, breast cancer and HIV screening as examples, we show how an apparently accurate test, when applied to a group of people in which only a small proportion have the thing you are trying to detect, will generate many false positives.

    Pages

    Subscribe to RSS - level 1