Archive for The Guardian

UK vs. Horizon Europe [episode 23]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2022 by xi'an

Just read in The Guardian that the UK Government or more exactly the PM hopeful Liz Truss  (since Boris Johnson has gone AWOL!) is starting a formal procedure against the EU for British scientists being excluded from Horizon Europe funding due to said Government renegading on its former signature of the Northern Ireland Protocol. (After the EU announced last June re-commencing its infringement proceedings against the UK.) Just stick to Science!

war crimes multiply

Posted in Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , on July 13, 2022 by xi'an

a forecasted end to Roe v. Wade

Posted in Kids with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2022 by xi'an

“After today, young women will come of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers had. The majority [of the Supreme Court] accomplishes that result without so much as considering how women have relied on the right to choose or what it means to take that right away. The majority’s refusal even to consider the life-altering consequences of reversing Roe and Casey is a stunning indictment of its decision (…) Now a new and bare majority of this court – acting at practically the first moment possible – overrules Roe and Casey. It converts a series of dissenting opinions expressing antipathy toward Roe and Casey into a decision greenlighting even total abortion bans. It eliminates a 50-year-old constitutional right that safeguards women’s freedom and equal station. It breaches a core rule-of-law principle, designed to promote constancy in the law. In doing all of that, it places in jeopardy other rights, from contraception to same-sex intimacy and marriage. And finally, it undermines the court’s legitimacy.”  Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, June 24, 2022

“Judge Thomas noted that in its rationale, the court’s majority found that a right to abortion was not a form of “liberty” protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution — as the court had said in Roe. Then, he took aim at three other landmark cases that relied on that same legal reasoning: Griswold v. Connecticut, a 1965 decision that declared married couples had a right to contraception; Lawrence v. Texas, a 2003 case invalidating sodomy laws and making same-sex sexual activity legal across the country; and Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 case establishing the right of gay couples to marry.” The New York Times, June 24, 2022

Scrapping Covid surveillance study would put public health at risk [by Silvia Richardson]

Posted in Books, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2022 by xi'an

Royal Statistical Society president (and very dear friend) Sylvia Richardson published this tribune in the Guardian defending the preservation of a national surveillance system last week:

Sajid Javid is right to argue against scrapping the Office for National Statistics’ Covid surveillance study. Throughout the pandemic, national surveillance studies have provided invaluable information to support decision-making.

For any real-time health surveillance system to be reliable and cost-effective, it cannot rely solely on self-reported tests. These data sets are likely to be biased, as it is impossible to know how many people are also reporting their negative results and, if tests start to come with a cost, how many people simply aren’t testing. If we are to get reliable information about the prevalence of Covid, it is essential to maintain studies such as the ONS’s and React to allow statisticians to estimate infectiousness and the proportion of the population who are infected (including those without symptoms), as well as to identify new variants.

Abrupt disruption of a surveillance system is wasteful, will make tracking of prevalence meaningless and will put in jeopardy the future health of the public. If important surveillance studies must be scaled down, this cannot be led by arbitrary cost-cutting targets, but should be led by statisticians to ensure that studies continue to provide reliable information.

eugenism and the complete opposite [not a book review]

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , , on February 21, 2022 by xi'an

When reading last Sunday the Guardian book review of Control: The Dark History and Troubling Present of Eugenics (to appear) by Adam Rutherford, I got reminded of a recent Nature (general public) article on the “mixed-race” myth in Latin America. Which itself reminded me of an opposition I noticed when preparing for  the discussion on eugenics at the 2019 JSM. The Nature article, “How the mixed-race mestizo myth warped science in Latin America“, tells the story of a post-racial society with enough mixing (mestizaje, which also has a colonial coloration) between earlier ethnicities throughout the population to achieve greater social cohesion and put an end to racism. Story that appeared in the early 1900’s in opposition to North America’s and (part of) Europe’s eugenic policies oriented towards (supposedly) “preserving racial purity”. This story alas did not prevent racism, though, with “skin colour [still being] a powerful determinant of wealth and education levels across Latin America”, and forced sterilisations, incl. in the 1990’s. And, while creating a poorly defined label, it was also instrumental in repressing indigenous communities and cultures.

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