A common instantiation of the carbon credits concept is to allow companies and individuals to mitigate the impact of the environmental damage they cause due to emitting greenhouse gases by paying for a "credit". In this case the credit is sold on behalf of a project which has somehow reduced carbon usage elsewhere. The idea … Continue reading Most rainforest carbon offsets may not actually offset any carbon
Category: In the news
The Follower – an art project highlighting another way your data can be used to surveil you
Dries Depoorter's art project 'The Follower' is a clever use of publicly available video and image data and a fun glimpse into the how those "casual" Instagram shots are really taken. It's also a somewhat harrowing warning about what information us members of the public are unknowingly sharing in a world where tools can process … Continue reading The Follower – an art project highlighting another way your data can be used to surveil you
Should artificial intelligences win art competitions?
Vice reports that the Colorado State Fair's fine art competition has been won by a person called Jason Allen, who submitted this AI-generated piece of art. I do quite like the picture, but, as you might expect, it's created a bit of uproar amongst some artists of a more traditional nature. One of the more … Continue reading Should artificial intelligences win art competitions?
Why the majority of England’s Covid deaths are now from vaccinated people despite the fact that the vaccines work well
It may be more than two and a half years into the pandemic, but the battle of "what is true?"" regarding many aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic continues. Many of us have probably seen a chart like this floating around social media in recent times. A representative example of these charts, this one from The … Continue reading Why the majority of England’s Covid deaths are now from vaccinated people despite the fact that the vaccines work well
The Great Resignation of British Ministers
Last week was a pretty dramatic week for UK politics. On Tuesday, Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid, the UK's chancellor and health secretary respectively, resigned from their cabinet posts within minutes of each other, citing the incompetency and impossibility of working with Prime Minister Boris Johnson as their motivation. Over the next couple of days, … Continue reading The Great Resignation of British Ministers
Study estimates that the Covid-19 vaccines saved 15 million lives last year
In a new study published in the Lancet, Watson et al. estimate that by the end of 2021, the Covid-19 vaccines have prevented an estimated 14.4 million deaths (with a 95% credible interval of between 13.7- 15.9 million deaths) . The estimate would rise to 19.8 million (19.1 - 20.4 million 95% CrI) if they … Continue reading Study estimates that the Covid-19 vaccines saved 15 million lives last year
The Roe vs Wade leak and data privacy
Earlier this month, as anyone who has been anywhere near social media or a newspaper even here in the UK will know, a draft opinion from the US Supreme court was leaked. It showed a majority opinion that the decision that has protected the right of Americans to access abortion services for the past almost … Continue reading The Roe vs Wade leak and data privacy
Are you (statistically) smarter than a politican?
Time to test yourself! Give the below three questions a go, before proceeding 1. If you toss a fair coin twice, what is the probability of getting two heads? 2. Suppose you roll a 6-sided die. The rolls are: 1, 3, 4, 1, and 6. What is the mean value? 3. And what is the mode value? 4. Suppose there was a diagnostic test for a virus. The false-positive rate (the proportion of people without the virus who get a positive result) is one in 1,000. You have taken the test and tested positive. What is the probability that you have the virus?
The effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine: 95% or 0.84%?
At the time of writing, about 87% of UK adults have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. The huge majority of mainstream scientific or journalistic sources report the vaccine efficacy as being very high, up to 95% depending on the specific vaccine and specific measure in question. It may be somewhat lower … Continue reading The effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine: 95% or 0.84%?
Covid-19 testing in England’s secondary schools: the story so far
Last week, secondary schools in England reopened for all pupils, after several months of semi-closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic. During that period, most teachers were busy labouring hard to conduct their lessons remotely, often persevering with minimal extra resources and inconsistent central guidance. A smaller proportion were still going to school, in order to … Continue reading Covid-19 testing in England’s secondary schools: the story so far