Archive for the ‘Maths in the News’ Category

The Winner of the 2008 United States Presidential Election: Statistics

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

The polls have closed, the votes have been counted, and a clear winner has emerged from this election: statistics.  Okay, Barack Obama also won, but everyone else is covering that story.  So, let’s cover the real victory here, a victory for mathematics!

(more…) My New Favourite Political Site

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Mathematicians love Baseball.  Maybe not the game itself (though many do), but mathematicians tend to love the metagame behind Baseball, the statistics of Baseball.  As a result, there are a good number of mathematicians whose career is to analyse the statistics of Baseball.  One such mathematician is Nate Silver; well, technically, his degree is in economics, but that’s close enough.  Nate Silver is the co-author of the annual Baseball Prospectus, as well as many other books published by Baseball Prospectus.  Baseball Prospectus and its eponymous annual volume is a group devoted to analysing the statistics of Baseball and forecasting the game of Baseball.

However, I’m not here to talk about Baseball; I’m here to talk about politics.  In early 2008, Nate Silver started a site called FiveThirtyEight, a reference to the number of total electoral votes in a modern Presidential campaign.  This site proclaims to do, in their own words, “Electoral Projections Done Right.”


Abuse of Statistics: Part 1

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Well, now is as good as a time as any to start my little blog.  We’ll start off with my favourite topic: misuse of statistics.  In my personal research, I have found that 90% of researchers abuse statistics (That’s a joke.  Laugh).

Now, on to the stupid!

Prenatal and Postnatal Exposure to Cell Phone Use and Behavioral Problems in Children. [via The Indepdent]

Mothers of 13,159 children completed the follow-up questionnaire reporting their use of cell phones during pregnancy as well as current cell phone use by the child. Greater odds ratios for behavioral problems were observed for children who had possible prenatal or postnatal exposure to cell phone use.

Exposure to cell phones prenatally-and, to a lesser degree, postnatally-was associated with behavioral difficulties such as emotional and hyperactivity problems around the age of school entry. These associations may be noncausal and may be due to unmeasured confounding. If real, they would be of public health concern given the widespread use of this technology.