What is the bootstrap?

Bradley Efron

Bradley Efron (pictured) was awarded the 2018 International Prize in Statistics for the creation of the “bootstrap”, a method that “transformed science’s ability to use and understand data and helped usher in the era of data analysis through computing”. But what is the bootstrap? James J. Cochran explains.

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Misunderstanding the global burden of alcohol

Beer in fridge

Harmful alcohol consumption is known to cause several diseases and many deaths. A study published in the Lancet this August has presented the latest figures, pertaining to the year 2016.1 The authors estimate that alcohol answers for approximately 7% of all male and 2% of all female deaths, as well as 6% of male and 2% of female disability-adjusted life year losses. Moreover, respective estimates were presented for all countries over several years. But these estimates seem to be too high.

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Toby Lewis at 100

Toby Lewis

On 19 October 2018, in a West London care home, Toby Lewis turned 100. Physically fit, if a bit frail, he looks and sounds as anyone who had not seen him for 40 years would recognise instantly. He greets you with the same polite, gentlemanly air that always masked a certain eccentricity, even anarchism, that made him such an interesting and lively companion.

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Why my father had to defend decades' worth of data in court

Michael Jacobsen

Back in the 1990s, British miners were fighting for compensation for diseases linked to coal dust exposure. Epidemiology and statistics were essential to the miners’ case, so mine operators sought to cast doubt on the data – and it fell to my father, Michael Jacobsen (pictured), to argue that the research was sound.

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R book review: Two approaches to learning data science

R book covers

In 2012, the Harvard Business Review declared data scientist “the sexiest job of the 21st century”. Six years on it is still “America’s Hottest Job”, according to Bloomberg. As a statistician or data analyst you might be willing to give it a try. Of course, you need to know R. And both Modern Data Science with R (MDSR) and R for Data Science (R4DS) may help you find your way.

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