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Articles

Nigel Hawkes :: Mon 15th Jun 2009

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The DNA database: innocent or guilty, what's the difference?

 The Home Office has published a consultation paper on its plans for retaining DNA profiles of individuals arrested for crimes but not convicted.

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Nigel Hawkes :: Mon 15th Jun 2009

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Research Assessment: abandoning the denominator

 Leaving out the denominator is a cardinal error in statistics. It is unhelpful to be told that 65 people in Sheffield have swine flu, for example, if one doesn’t know the population of Sheffield. Does this bald figure mean one in a hundred people has the infection, one in a thousand, or one in ten thousand?

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Nigel Hawkes :: Mon 8th Jun 2009

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Journalists to lose pre-release access to official statistics?

Journalists may have to face the ending of the system by which they get an early sight of official statistics, under embargo.

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Nigel Hawkes :: Sat 6th Jun 2009

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Cod Statistics

 Here’s a pretty graphic from the Financial Times Weekend Magazine (page 14, June 6/7 2009) illustrating the decline in the spawning stocks of cod between 1966 and 2006. It looks good, but it’s an example of one of the oldest tricks in the graphic artist’s handbook: how to make a comparison between sets of figures look far more impressive.

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Nigel Hawkes :: Tue 5th May 2009

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Two ways of counting youth crime

“Ten thousand more young people have been diverted from a life of crime” declared the Youth Justice Board (YJB) last November. How does it know?

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Nigel Hawkes :: Tue 14th Apr 2009

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Obesity: is the future as gross as it seems?

Did you know the Government has a Children’s Plan, aimed at making Britain the best place in the world to grow up? Neither did I.

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David Lipsey :: Tue 7th Apr 2009

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Less than meets the eye: a sceptic’s guide to opinion polls

As Britain moves into pre-election spring, we can expect the opinion polls to flower in profusion. But what do they really tell us?

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Nigel Hawkes :: Thu 26th Mar 2009

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Let the power of probability be with you

IS healthcare in Britain good, bad, or indifferent? We spend £100 billion a year on it, so it would be nice to know.

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Nigel Hawkes :: Thu 26th Mar 2009

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Mismatched Framing: or how to mislead without really trying

IF a leaflet given to women claimed that hormone replacement therapy reduced the risk of colon cancer by 50 per cent, but increased the risk of breast cancer by six in a thousand, what might they c

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