Who is the hardest working star in stand-up comedy?

Written by Oz Flanagan on . Posted in Culture

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?

R-nought: epidemiology’s vital statistic

Written by Brian Tarran on . Posted in Health & Medicine

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.

Popularity contests and predictions - April 2015 issue preview

Written by Brian Tarran on . Posted in Significance

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.

The numbers lie: travails with a backgammon app

Written by David Kasdan on . Posted in The Statistics Dictionary

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.

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