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Statistics of the year 2018

2018 Statistics of the year

The second annual Royal Statistical Society ‘statistics of the year’ have been announced. The Guardian reports that these include top prize for “90.5%, the proportion of plastic waste that has never been recycled”, and that other statistics awarded or commended involve Jaffa Cakes, poverty, gender equality, climate change and someone called Kylie Jenner. The RSS says “the Statistics of the Year aim to show the sometimes surprising stories that numbers can tell us about the world”.

Statistic of the year from the RSS.

Environment, Jaffa Cakes and Kylie Jenner star in statistics of year, at The Guardian.

Seeing Theory explains basic stats concepts with whizzy graphics

Screenshot of the front page of the Seeing Theory website

If you like pretty visualisations and statistics, we’ve found the website for you. Seeing Theory has been put together by a group of undergraduate students at Brown University in the USA, and aims to make statistics more accessible through interactive JavaScript visualisations. Starting from simple coin and dice examples, it builds up to Bayesian inference and regression analysis. It’s also very pretty!

They’re also hoping to produce an accompanying textbook, and a draft version is viewable now and looking for your feedback.

Seeing Theory website

The competition I entered into the first MathsJam Competition Competition

A couple of weekends ago was the big MathsJam gathering (I might call it a recreational maths conference, but this is discouraged). Two of the delightful sideshows, alongside an excellent series of talks, were the competitions. The Baking Competition is fairly straightforward, with prizes for “best flavour, best presentation, and best maths”:

The first will reward a well-made, delicious item; the second will reward the item which has been decorated the most beautifully and looks most like what it’s supposed to be; and the third will reward the most ingenious mathematical theming.

You can view the entries from this year on the MathsJam website.

RSS Stat of the Year

The Royal Statistical Society is seeking nominations for the best statistic of 2017 – they’re looking for the “statistics that you think really capture the year so far”. The nomination form (docx) can be downloaded from their website, and their criteria include that it should be accurate, coherent and not misleading, and that it should have a public interest dimension (but it doesn’t need to have already had media attention).

The judging panel is chaired by Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter and includes journalists, statisticians, economists and pollsters. The winning statistic will be unveiled in December.

More information

Stat of the Year, on the RSS Website

Hans Rosling and Raymond Smullyan have died

Why should I worry about dying? It’s not going to happen in my lifetime!

Raymond Smullyan, This Book Needs No Title (1986)

This week, the mathematical community has lost not one but two of its most beloved practitioners. Earlier this week, Swedish statistician Hans Rosling passed away aged 68, and today it’s been announced that author and logician Raymond Smullyan has also died, aged 97.

Maths helps maths graduates get professional jobs

The Destination of Leavers of Higher Education (DLHE, pronounced ‘deli’) survey sends a questionnaire to all UK university graduates six months after graduation and this gives some idea of what happens to students once they graduate. It is flawed, but has a high response rate and is an interesting tool.

There is a second type of DLHE survey, which is longitudinal. This surveys graduates 3.5 years after graduation, and the 2010/11 longitudinal data has just been released. This deserves some investigation and I don’t have time right now, but I did notice a couple of tables that make me proud of my subject.

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