Playing with risk

Playing Borel

Imagine you hold three six-sided dice in your hand. Now throw them, and before they come to a stop, answer me this: do you think you will roll at least two of the same number? Yes or no. More importantly, how much do you want to bet on that outcome?

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How times have changed for teenagers: Baby names and degrees


In our December 2018 print edition, Jeff Ralph, the Royal Statistical Society's William Guy schools' lecturer for the 2017-18 academic year, explains how times have changed for teenagers, as told through official statistics. The print article tackles the subjects of life expectancy, household income, household expenditure and inflation. In this web-exclusive piece, Ralph explains how baby names have changed over the past hundred years, and how the number of undergraduate degrees awarded have gone up and up.

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Does Taylor Swift have a big (and bad) reputation? Twitter scraping using R

Taylor Swift

"Big reputation, big reputation, ooh you and me we’ve got big reputations." Taylor Swift released her sixth studio album, Reputation, in November last year. The old Taylor is dead, and in her place is a new, edgier Taylor, toughened from the years of media scrutiny, turbulent relationships and high-profile celebrity feuds. Whether you like the album or not (personally, I love it), this article is not really about Taylor Swift. This is about my first experience delving into the world of Twitter scraping.

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Betting on a royal birth: how many babies will be born the same day?

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and family

On 4 September 2017, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – better known as “William and Kate” – announced they were expecting their third child. Bookmakers immediately began taking bets. At the time of writing, most were offering 10/11 on a boy and 10/11 on a girl (i.e., those who bet £11 would win £10). They were also taking bets on the choice of name: Mary was the bookies’ favourite for a girl, with odds of 3/1, while Arthur was the favourite for a boy, at 9/1.

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A time to kill: Great British serial killers

London alley

"Serial killer" is a term customarily used to refer to a person who has murdered three or more people over a period of more than a month. Perhaps the most infamous of these criminals is Jack the Ripper, who terrorised the streets of London in the year 1888. 

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