In the June 2015 issue of their magazine, Consumer Reports tries to convince me to wear a bicycle helmet. They do not succeed, nor should they. While it may be true that we should all be wearing helmets, nobody should be persuaded by Consumer Reports' statistical arguments, which are so silly as to be laughable.
There has been much wailing and gnashing of blogs since the dismal performance of the pre-election polls. These had confidently and consistently predicted a rough tie in vote share between Labour and Conservative, but when the votes were counted the Conservatives had a 6.5% lead.
If the opinion polls had proved accurate, we would have woken up on the morning of May 8 to a House of Commons in which the Labour Party had a chance to form a government. By the end of the day, the country would have had a new prime minister called Ed Miliband.
By now, we’ve all heard of the addictive tile-mashing game called 2048. Last week, I picked up 2048 for the first time and - true to my nature - I started designing an AI to beat the game for me the following day. It didn’t take me long to find out that there’s already some pretty good AIs out there, so I picked up the best 2048 AI I could find and fired several instances of it to see what it could do. Much to my surprise, it not only beat 2048… it crushed every human record in 2048 that I could find.
One of the more interesting dynamics in British politics in recent years has been the rise of UKIP – the UK Independence Party. UKIP might still be a minority party (the latest Guardian poll projection forecasts it to win three out of 650 seats in the next parliament), however the apparent electoral allure of its anti-immigration rhetoric has forced the bigger, mainstream parties to talk tough about migrants.