Bubble in the desert

A blog I started whilst on a GE "Bubble" assignment in Nevada. I'm back in Cambridge (UK) now but still miss the desert and my friends out there.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Excellent Talk: ‘Statistics are either dull or wrong:discuss - Statistics: can we sex them up without dumbing down?’

Went to a great talk this evening.

Billed as, "Join the Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk, Professor David Spiegelhalter as he discusses ‘Statistics: can we sex them up without dumbing down’. Bad Science’s Dr Ben Goldacre will then explore ‘Intellectual stunt doubles: learning from other people’s mistakes in statistics’.

David made some excellent presentations on understanding statistics and has some great online resources here...

Ben's talk was based on some of his material here...

Both talks highlighted some of the absolute rubbish written in the national press about statistical results. There has been a bit of a debate about bacon sandwiches causing bowel cancer. David has a really nice way of showing many different ways to look at these risks. Some ways make good newspaper headlines but are really just bull when it comes down to it.

Having recently read 'Reckoning with Risk' I was familiar with natural frequencies but was very impressed that David went a lot further in thinking about how to convey statistics. I chatted to him at the end of the talk about climate change (of course) but he had nothing to offer since the climate models are a bit inconvenient.


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