### New stats apps show a virtual reality

A snapshot of two apps developed to visualize and compare climate model output and output from a statistical model (emulator). The statistical emulator app reproduces annual three-dimensional temperature from 1850 to 2100 (a) and reproduces daily winds over the Arabian peninsula from 1920 to 2100 (b). Credit: KAUST The latest advances in computing and virtual…

### Did you solve it? Gunpowder, reason and plot

In my puzzle column earlier today I set you the following conundrum, concerning an incident in which six men were arrested during the 1605 Gunpowder Plot. Each of the men were questioned in private about who was a traitor and who was loyal. They made the following remarks. Augustine: Felix is loyal, Erasmus is a…

### Can you solve it? Gunpowder, reason and plot

Hi guzzlers, Today’s puzzle concerns the Gunpowder Plot, in which Guy Fawkes and pals attempted to burn down the Houses of Parliament on this day in 1605. In an incident as yet unreported by historians, six men were rounded up by the authorities on suspicion of being traitors. By chance the men had alphabetically consecutive…

### Can maths solve the fake news voting conundrum?

Credit: CC0 Public Domain With the American midterm elections around the corner, rumours of a UK general election in the winter, and a potential second referendum on Brexit, mathematicians from the University of Surrey and AXA Switzerland have produced a mathematical model that details the impact of fake news on voting behaviour. In a paper…

### Numbers in the news? Make sure you don't fall for these 3 statistical tricks

And, to my stats-savvy eye, it is a bunch of hogwash. Just when it seems that news consumers may be wising up – remembering to ask if science is “peer-reviewed,” the sample size is big enough or who funded the work – along comes a suckerpunch of a story. In this instance, the fast…

### McDonald's Monopoly—A statistician explains the real odds of winning

The odds of finding the winning Château Frontenac game piece are more than 16 million to one. Credit: THE CONVERSATION CANADA/Scott White, CC BY In 2000, a fraud worth over \$24 million was uncovered in the United States. Jerome Jacobson, who served 15 years in prison for his role in the deception, was at the…

### New definition returns meaning to information

A clownfish navigates a sea of information. Credit: Santa Fe Institute A fish on the Great Barrier Reef continually acquires new information from its environment—the location of food, the murkiness of the water, and the sounds of distant ships, to name a few examples. But only some of that information is meaningful, in that it…

### Huge lottery prizes due to simple math, with a few surprises

Jean Pierre fills out several Mega Millions lottery tickets for purchase at a convenience store Monday, Oct. 22, 2018, in Orlando, Fla. No one won the \$1 billion jackpot in Saturday night’s drawing, which means the top prize for Tuesday night’s Mega Millions drawing would be the largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history. (AP Photo/John…

### Did you solve it? Cutting the perfect slice.

In my puzzle column earlier today I set you the following puzzles: 1. Can you cut the shape below into two identical parts using one single line? The line does not have to be straight. Solution: So obvious when you see the answer, right? 2. Below are two figures, each divided into four parts that…

### Mathematics as weapon against desertification

Google Earth image from the research area (8°5’N; 47°27’E), with clear vegetation patterns.  Ph.D. student Robbin Bastiaansen applies mathematics to get insight in practical problems. By comparing mathematical models with developments in existing ecosystems, he hopes to demystify the process of desertification. His research has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS),…