If you haven’t played Guess The Correlation yet, you definitely should – but please read this article first. And make sure you’re not at work. And that you’ve eaten something recently. Once you start playing, you’ll forget whatever else you were doing, or that you were meant to be doing. It’s an addictive little thing.
In September 2015, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC) announced the finding of their expert group that processed meat was a ‘Group I carcinogen’, putting it in the same category as cigarettes and asbestos. Cue headlines such as "Bacon, ham and sausages have the same cancer risk as cigarettes warn experts". The WHO had to try and sort out the subsequent confusion by pointing out that the ‘Group 1’ classification was about the confidence of an increased risk of cancer existing, and said nothing about the magnitude of the risk.
Statistics play an important role in improving human lives, not least through helping to identify potential policy needs and by measuring the impact of policy implementations. This was noted more than a month ago, on 20 October, when we celebrated World Statistics Day – which sought to promote the message that better data helps create better lives. But what do we mean by ‘better data’?
I have a mild addiction to playing backgammon on my smartphone. I have tried several free game apps, but none have proven fully satisfying to me. I reserve the status of ‘satisfying’ for a game that is fair and challenging, regardless of the end score. This means that the computer player (CPU) needs to demonstrate some skill and its dice rolls should be random and probabilistic.