Significance magazine October 2018

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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.

Conference 2018: Rapid-fire talk and poster prize winners

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The RSS conference poster exhibition gives early career researchers the opportunity to present their research at conference, and talk about their work with conference attendees.

Last year, we introduced a new rapid-fire talks section for those new to presenting their research, where each speaker had five-minutes to present their research. This section proved so popular we integrated it as a key part of the conference. 

New agreement to connect RSS volunteers to overseas projects

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The RSS has just signed an agreement with the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21) to enable RSS fellows to volunteer their time and statistical expertise to help low-income countries develop their statistical systems.

PARIS21 is an international body established by the UN, EC, OECD, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank back in 1999 to promote better use and production of statistics throughout the developing world. The new agreement will allow RSS fellows to provide technical assistance to specific PARIS21 assignments to strengthen statistical systems in developing and emerging economies.

Stats community honours Andreas Georgiou

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The RSS is one of six international statistics organisations to present Andreas Georgiou with a special commendation recognising his work at the Greek statistical authority Elstat.

The commendation was given to the former Elstat president ‘for his competency and strength in the face of adversity, his commitment to the production of quality and trustworthiness of official statistics and his advocacy for the improvement, integrity and independence of official statistics’. It was presented to Georgiou personally at a meeting just prior to the International Association for Official Statistics (IAOS) Conference in Paris earlier this month.

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