Stand-up comedy is big business, at least at the top of the game. Kevin Hart’s ‘What now?’ tour this year is set to break all kinds of records. During his last tour, he became one a handful of comedians to sell-out Madison Square Garden and this year he is back there with three shows. Then he will end the tour in his native Philadelphia as the first comedian to headline a show in an NFL stadium. Kevin Hart is undoubtedly the biggest star in stand-up comedy right now, but who is the hardest working?
At the start of a disease outbreak, there is one statistic epidemiologists must quickly try to calculate: r-nought, or R0 – the basic reproduction number of a disease. R0 tells us the average number of people who will be infected by one infected person before that person dies or gets better. If R0 is less than 1, epidemiologists can breath a little easier. If R0 is greater than 1, we might have an epidemic on our hands.
I recently came across a couple of blog posts on the colours used in movies, where the colours were extracted from either movie posters or the actual frames of trailers. I was inspired to try something similar with paintings, where we have data for a longer period than the era of film.
We are heading for a general election here in the UK, which means the news media is awash with numbers – from voting intentions to seat projections to popularity measures. Psephologists and statisticians, journalists and campaign strategists are all picking through the data to see what it might reveal about the likely outcome on 7 May. Meanwhile, politicians continue plucking numbers out of thin air (while the Royal Statistical Society urges them not to), and organistions like Full Fact and the Institute for Fiscal Studies struggle to keep everyone honest.
I have a mild addiction to playing backgammon on my smartphone. I have tried several free game apps, but none have proven fully satisfying to me. I reserve the status of ‘satisfying’ for a game that is fair and challenging, regardless of the end score. This means that the computer player (CPU) needs to demonstrate some skill and its dice rolls should be random and probabilistic.