Significance magazine October 2018

Written by Web News Editor on . Posted in News

The October 2018 issue of Significance is out now in print and digital formats. In this issue, we explore the use of statistics in court. Judges and jurors are often asked to make sense of statistics. But data, probabilities and uncertainties are easily misunderstood or misused by those not trained to deal with them. Is education the answer? Or is greater oversight required? Nick Thieme considers the options for the US legal system.

Then, continuing the legal theme, Jonny Jacobsen takes us back to the 1990s, when British miners were fighting for compensation for diseases linked to coal dust exposure. Epidemiology and statistics were essential to the miners’ case, so defendants sought to cast doubt on the data – and it fell to Jonny’s father, the late Michael Jacobsen, to argue that the research was sound. With a high concentration of cases of 'black lung' disease recently reported among miners in southwest Virginia, this historical account is a timely tale.

Also this issue:

  • Letisha Smith – winner of the 2018 Award for Statistical Excellence in Early-Career Writing – uses machine learning to help streamline her meal plans.
  • Andrew Gelman offers five recommendations for dealing with fundamental ethical dilemmas in statistical practice and communication.
  • Diana Scarrott presents a brief history of Zachary Macaulay, the 'brilliant statistician' who fought to end slavery in British colonies in the 1800s.
  • And, in an excerpt from his new book, The Perils of Perception, Bobby Duffy argues that our brains are partly to blame for our misperceptions about society.

RSS members can access the digital version of Significance through MyRSS, or download and read the magazine on the go with our iOS and Android apps.

If you are a print subscriber, your October issue will be arriving soon. You can subscribe online.

Significance is online at


Join the RSS

Join the RSS

Become part of an organisation which works to advance statistics and support statisticians

Copyright 2019 Royal Statistical Society. All Rights Reserved.
12 Errol Street, London, EC1Y 8LX. UK registered charity in England and Wales. No.306096

Twitter Facebook YouTube RSS feed RSS feed RSS newsletter

We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies and Terms of Use.