Napoleon's Russian Campaign - 200 years on

Written by Michael Mernagh on . Posted in History of Stats & Science

Historians this year will commemorate the bicentenary of Napoleon’s campaign in Russia in the War of the Empires. On June 24, 1812, he crossed the Russian frontier with 422,000 men.More than half of them were either conscripts or mercenaries from twenty nationalities across Europe. Of these, 95,000 came from the Grand Duchy of Warsaw.

World Trade Center anniversary: what did 9/11 really cost?

Written by Julian Champkin on . Posted in History of Stats & Science

The tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center is this Sunday. Its direct cost in human lives was 2,996. That is the number who died in the towers, in the Pentagon, as firefighters on the ground, and in the four planes that crashed. Its indirect cost in human lives was even greater. It sparked off the invasion of Afghanistan, where Coalition forces have suffered some 2613 military deaths. The number of Taliban deaths is unknown but has been estimated at around ten times that number. The number of civilian deaths is even less well documented, is astonishingly vague and uncertain, but certainly runs into many thousands.

PhDs couldn't tell an actor from a renowned scientist

Written by Mikhail Simkin on . Posted in History of Stats & Science

Forty years ago, a singularly interesting lecture was held at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. The subject was 'Mathematical Game Theory as Applied to Physician Education.' The speaker was Dr. Myron L. Fox from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, a pupil of von Neumann and an authority on the application of mathematics to human behavior. The attendees were psychiatrists and psychologists (MDs and PhDs) who were gathered for a training conference. They listened to the lecturer with great interest, asked many questions and were satisfied with speaker's replies. They gave him flying grades in the satisfaction questionnaire. Nobody suspected anything wrong. In reality the speaker was an actor and knew nothing on the subject of his lecture.


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