Probability in Health and Medicine

Eating right still at core of dietary guidelines

“The committee is expected to downplay the importance of lowering cholesterol intake and may put less emphasis on eating lean meats…. In December, the advisory panel said in its preliminary recommendations that cholesterol is no longer ‘considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.'”

Washington Post, February 11, 2015, Associated Press

More Questions from the Author

How to Explain Almost Everything: The Power of Probability in Everyday Life by Dr. Robert A. Hitlin

More Questions from the Author:

What is the likelihood of life on other planets?

How can credit card companies afford to pay for the large amount of credit card fraud?

Do dating websites work?

When playing 5 card draw poker, should you keep a kicker (high card) along with a pair?

Do SAT and ACT scores predict success in college?

What is the best strategy for investing in the stock market?

Probability in Psychology

How the Gambler’s Fallacy Wreaks Havoc in Everyday Life

“In a fascinating new study demonstrating how the gambler’s fallacy functions in the real world, Daniel Chen, Tobias Moskowitz and Kelly Shue show that “misperceptions of what constitutes a fair process can perversely lead to unfair decisions.” Chen et al analyze data from refugee asylum courts, loan application reviews and baseball, positing that in these three very different contexts, judges, bankers and umpires make “negatively autocorrelated decisions.” In other words, they (perhaps unconsciously) tend to avoid long strings of the same answer, sometimes sacrificing accuracy of judgment for the sake of a pattern of decisions that looks fairer and that regresses toward the mean.”

Steven Mazie, Praxis, January 23, 2015

Probability in Health and Medicine

New Class Of Antibiotic Found In Dirt Could Prove Resistant To Resistance

“Every time an antibiotic is used, bacteria are getting to know it a little better. And eventually, they develop methods to fight it. But because of its unique method of action, this new antibiotic could keep working for longer than any other before bacteria even started to get wise — maybe even longer than 30 years.”

Rachel Feltman, Washington Post, January 8, 2015

Probability in Sports

Updating Kentucky’s Odds Of Going Undefeated

My colleague Carl Bialik and I wrote last week about the chances that the University of Kentucky’s basketball team would finish the 2014-15 season undefeated. At the time, the Wildcats were 27-0; they still needed to navigate past their four remaining regular-season foes, three opponents in the SEC tournament and six in the NCAA tournament to end the year a perfect 40-0. We pegged their odds of success at about 26 percent.

Neil Paine, FiveThirtyEight, March 6, 2015

Probability in Language

Did Shakespeare write his plays?

Some people question whether Shakespeare really wrote the works that bear his name – or whether he even existed at all. Could it be true that the greatest writer in the English language was as fictional as his plays? Natalya St. Clair and Aaron Williams show how a linguistic tool called stylometry might shed light on the answer.

Natalya St. Clair and Aaron Williams, Ted Ed