Lottery league tables

The Daily Mail and other media sources have featured league tables for the 'luckiest parts of the country' based on the proportion of the population that have become millionaires by winning the lottery. Straight Statistics have done a nice demolition job on this absurd story, pointing out that any comparison should be based on the number of tickets sold, not the population.

Visualising uncertainty

We have had a review paper published in Science called Visualising uncertainty about the future, although it primarily focuses on probability forecasts.

You may access the full paper by following the links below.

Visualising uncertainty about the future

A great use of a 'spaghetti plot' of multiple model predictions for Hurricane Katia in this NBC news bulletin .

possible-hurricane_0.jpg

possible hurricane paths

Visualising Cochrane Summary of Findings

iconA visualisation of the Cochrane Summary of Findings table for adjuvant radiotherapy after surgery for cervical cancer.

Spotting a hoax using statistics

A report claiming that users of the Internet Explorer browser had lower IQs than users of other browsers has been revealed to be a hoax. I had been asked to comment on the report by BBC Technology and had got suspicious about the figures. The perpetrators of the hoax, which had received extensive coverage, have listed the reasons why they should have been detected, but did not include 'dubious statistics' in their list.

When does a single vote count?

1,362 Cambridge academics recently voted on ‘no confidence’ in the universities minister David Willetts, and this resulted in an exact draw with 681 voting each way: by the rules it meant the motion, or ‘Grace’, was not passed. A natural question to ask is: what was the chance of this happening?

Cats, cancer and confusion

If mobile phones don't cause brain tumours, what does? Well, according to stories today in the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph, it might be cats. Or at any rate a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, one of whose hosts is the domestic cat. But don't go exiling your kitties yet; the admirable Ed Yong has explained in his blog that the study in question doesn't establish anything of the sort.

Mobile phones: where did the story go?

This Friday's xkcd comic was about mobile phones and cancer. Regular readers of UU will know that I've shown an interest in that subject before, here, here and here. The main point of the comic was good, but what's this "another huge study" on phones and cancer in the first frame of the comic, and why hadn't I heard about it?

Another Look at Entropy

icon
Entropy is a term that draws both fear and reverence from the greatest physicists and mathematicians. How do you describe it? What does it even mean? Who in their right mind would want to quantify a phantom concept that's impossible to see or touch?

Wisdom of the Crowds by SingingBanana

icon
James Grime says "We reveal the answer to my Wisdom of the Crowds competition. I asked you to guess how many jellybeans were in a jar. How close was the wisdom of the crowd, but first we need to answer - which average should we use?".

Pages

Subscribe to Understanding Uncertainty RSS