As Stephen Gaojia, the coordinator for the Sierra Leone national Ebola response has said: ‘As long as Ebola remains in any country, I don’t think the world is safe. The longer it continues in this country, the worse it gets for the rest of the world.’
The current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa started over a year ago with a single child in Guinea and has now spread to nine countries1. The countries most afflicted have been Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. There have been over 13,700 confirmed or suspected cases in these countries with an estimated case fatality rate of 70.8%2.
Do certain things happen because we expect them to happen? Jasper Fforde suggests so. The comedy/fantasy author, whose books include The Eyre Affair, Shades of Grey, and the Last Dragonslayer series, introduces his theory of 'expectation-influenced probability'.
The EU has demanded rapid payment of £1.7 billion from the UK because our economy has done better than predicted, and some of this is due to the prostitution market now being considered as part of our National Accounts and contributing an extra £5.3 billion to GDP at 2009 prices, which is 0.35% of GDP, half that of agriculture. But is this a reasonable estimate?
A few weeks back I was feeling fairly smug, having put a bit of money on a 'No' vote in the Scottish referendum. I then placed a few quid on UKIP to win the Heywood and Middleton by-election earlier this month, which they didn't. But the latter result was quite close, so I felt that somehow it had been a 'good bet' to have made. So what makes a person right or wrong to have placed a bet in the first place? (Mathematically that is, leave your morals at your home page.)
Contrary to popular opinion, we have witnessed a fall in many types of crime over the past two decades. Between 1995 and 2013/14, all crime recorded by the Crime Survey for England and Wales fell 62%, with a 51% fall in robbery and a 17% fall in theft from the person. Despite widespread attention, there is still little consensus as to why we have seen such declines in crime. To make inferences about why crime has fallen, first we need to develop an in-depth understanding of the nature of specific offences over time.