Statistics need Stories to give them meaning. Stories need Statistics to give them credibility. Every Thursday John Bailer, Richard Campbell and Rosemary Pennington get together with a new, interesting guest to bring you the Statistics behind the Stories and the Stories behind the Statistics.
The Numbers Behind America’s Pastime | Stats + Stories Episode 177
Much of the United States is buried under snow and ice, leaving many dreaming of spring. For some – that dream of spring brings with it a longing to hear the crack of a ball on a bat or the taste of peanuts in a ballpark. With the spring thaw comes baseball season and, with it, the inevitable number crunching associated with the sport. Data and baseball is the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories with guest Christopher J. Phillips.
Phillips is a historian of science at Carnegie Mellon University. His research is on the history of statistics and mathematics, particularly the claimed benefits of introducing mathematical tools and models into new fields. He is the author of "Scouting and Scoring: How We Know What We Know about Baseball" and "The New Math: A Political History," and his work has been featured in the New York Times, Time.com, New England Journal of Medicine, Science, and Nature. He received his Ph.D. in History of Science from Harvard University.
Everything Makes Sense with Statistics, Right? | Stats + Stories Episode 176
Our lives are framed, every day by data and statistics, though we may not always be aware of that fact. Helping us make sense of this universe of data is the goal of many an economist, statistician, and journalist. It’s also the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories with guest Tim Harford.
Tim Harford is an economist, journalist and broadcaster. He is author of "Messy", and the million-selling "The Undercover Economist". His newest book “The Data Detective” was released in the U.S. and Canada earlier this month. Harford is a senior columnist at the Financial Times, and the presenter of Radio 4's "More or Less", the iTunes-topping series "Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy", and the new podcast "Cautionary Tales". Tim has spoken at TED, PopTech and the Sydney Opera House. He is an associate member of Nuffield College, Oxford and an honorary fellow of the Royal Statistical Society. Tim was made an OBE for services to improving economic understanding in the New Year honors of 2019.
Love, Sex and the Pandemic | Stats + Stories Episode 175
The COVID pandemic has complicated everything from school to work to grocery shopping. The need to physically distance from people not in our homes has made it difficult to maintain friendships or causal relationships while being stuck at home with a significant other for months on end can make even the biggest house seem tiny. COVID’s impact on relationships and sex is the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories with guest Debby Herbenick.
Herbenick is a sex educator, sex advice columnist, author, research scientist, children's book author, blogger, television personality, professor, and human sexuality expert in the media. Dr. Herbenick is a professor at the Indiana University School of Public Health and was lead investigator of the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior.
Lying With Statistics | Stats + Stories Episode 174
If the last year’s done anything, it’s made clear how important statistics and data can be to our understanding of the world. It’s not just statisticians and public health officials pouring over things like positivity rates or infection rates, the general public’s also become more familiar with the concepts. But, sometimes, highly visible data can lead to some highly suspect conclusions. And bad data, like bad romance, can lead to bad decisions. Damned lies and dubious data are the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories with guest Joel Best.
Best is a Professor Of Sociology And Criminal Justice At The University Of Delaware. His writing focuses on understanding how and why we become concerned with particular issues at particular moments in time–why we find ourselves worried about road rage one year, and identity theft a year or so later. He’s written about the ways bad statistics creep into public debates, and about dubious fears, such as the mistaken belief that poisoned Halloween candy poses a serious threat to our kids. Check out his books Damned Lies and Statistics, More Damned Lies and Statistics, Stat-Spotting.
The Recent (Regrettable) Rise of Race Science | Stats + Stories Episode 173
Race science, the belief that there are inherent biological differences between human races, has been “repeatedly debunked” in the words of the Guardian, and yet, like a pseudo-scientific hydra it raises its heard every so often. Most recently race science is the return of scientific racism is the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories, where we explore the statistics behind the stories and the stories behind the statistics with guest Angela Saini.
Angela Saini is a science journalist, author and broadcaster. She presents radio and television programmes for the BBC, and her writing has appeared across the world, including in New Scientist, Prospect, The Sunday Times, Wired, and National Geographic. In 2020 Angela was named one of the world's top 50 thinkers by Prospect magazine, and in 2018 she was voted one of the most respected journalists in the UK. Her latest book, Superior: The Return of Race Science, was published in May 2019 and was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and the Foyles Book of the Year.
Making Decisions During the Pandemic | Stats + Stories Episode 172
Risk is a tricky thing. We like to think we understand it but when it gets down to brass tacks it can be harder to wrap your brain around things like acceptable or unacceptable risk. How do you define it how do people understand risk. The COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted the trouble we sometimes have understanding risk, communicating risk is a focus of this episode of Stats and Stories with Baruch Fischhoff
Baruch Fischhoff is the Howard Heinz University Professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy and Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University. Fischhoff’s a member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the National Academy of Medicine and past President of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making and of the Society for Risk Analysis. He was founding chair of the Food and Drug Administration Risk Communication Advisory Committee and chaired the National Research Council Committee on Behavioral and Social Science Research to Improve Intelligence Analysis for National Security. His research focuses on judgment and decision making, including risk perception and risk analysis. Fischoff is the author of a number of books on the subject, including Acceptable Risk and Risk: A Very Short Introduction.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Best way to learn about and appreciate quantitative thinking
I found this podcast while enrolled in a beginning quantitative methods course. It has been so incredibly helpful (and inspiring!) to hear the interviews from statisticians and researchers who work with data, and put it into the context of the stories they're trying to understand. The interviews are interesting and entertaining, and helpfully put all of these concepts that I've been abstractly learning about into practical realities.
I just listened to Episode 48: "Were the cancer clusters real? Statistical support for evaluating public policy" with guest David Banks - interesting topic & knowledgable guest. This episode highlighted how Statisticians can help make the world a better place when they work together with Journalists/the Media. I'm still a bit crushed by what I learned about Gregor Mendel, though.
Statistics affect our lives in so many ways but most people are not aware of it. Understanding how statistics relate to my everyday life makes this a really interesting podcast! Give it a listen!