The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently published an analysis of live births from 1995 to 2014 and concluded that, in England and Wales, 26 September was “the most popular day to be born over the last two decades”. The ONS points out that September, more generally, is the period in the year with a seasonal peak in the number of births. It is not difficult to establish the cause of this phenomenon: a seasonal peak of conceptions around Christmas time.
Many public conversations we have about science-related issues involve communicating risks: describing them, comparing them and trying to inspire action to avoid or mitigate them. Just think about the ongoing stream of news and commentary on health, alternative energy, food security and climate change. Good risk communication points out where we are doing hazardous things. It helps us better navigate crises. It also allows us to pre-empt and avoid danger and destruction.
December 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). This cataclysmic event demolished the planned economy and totalitarian state regimes and led to independence for its member states. Other communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) outside the USSR followed similar paths.
Our latest 'Ask a statistician' question received not one but two different solutions. We published the first response, by Sumit Rahman, back in November. Here, our editorial board chairman Mario Cortina Borja tackles the problem posed by Alec Cambell of Bellvue College in a somewhat different way.
Alec Campbell of Bellevue College writes: I’ve read about the birthday problem, and how you only need 23 randomly chosen people for there to be a 50% chance that two people share a birthday. But how many people would you need for there to be a 50% chance that every possible birthday is represented by at least one person?