Estimating rates of occurrence over time of hazards such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes is crucial for risk assessment and planning. But it can be difficult. Human records only go back so far, and older ones may be patchy, making it hard to pinpoint the start of the “reliable history” for a particular type of event. Fear not, though, says Jonathan Rougier: a simple event-rate estimator might still hold up, even if we “overshoot” the reliable history by a century or more.
Mass public shootings in the United States have increased in number and severity in recent years, and there has been a corresponding rise in media reporting of such incidents. Does media coverage of these events lead to a short-term increase in the probability of additional shootings? James Alan Fox, Nathan E. Sanders, Emma E. Fridel, Grant Duwe and Michael Rocque investigate.
Statistics are vital for understanding society, but they can pose a risk to the privacy of individuals who contribute their data. Claire McKay Bowen illustrates some of the methods used to minimise that risk – with the aid of a famous artwork.
Suzanne Thornton, Dooti Roy, Stephen Parry, Donna LaLonde, Wendy Martinez, Renee Ellis and David Corliss call for a more inclusive – and informative – approach to collecting data on human gender and sex.
Significance is a bi-monthly magazine for anyone interested in statistics and the analysis and interpretation of data. Its aim is to communicate and demonstrate in an entertaining, thought provoking and non-technical way the practical use of statistics in all walks of life, and to show informatively and authoritatively how statistics benefit society. It is published on behalf of the Royal Statistical Society, the American Statistical Association, the Statistical Society of Australia.