A canna’ change the laws of physics

Scotty, The Naked Time, stardate 1704.3, Episode 7

Posts Tagged ‘Statistics’

Britain’s happiest places mapped – complaining makes it worse!

Posted by apgaylard on November 11, 2008

bigstockphoto_dice_in_black_22983611The BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU) has just let me know that their adjudication on the “Britain’s happiest places mapped” debacle (previously covered here and here) has been published on the BBC Complaints website.  As ever, these tend to be less detailed than the private responses given to complainants; but they provide a useful public record.  Ultimately they get distilled further into a summary document, so the link won’t be live indefinitely.

So, has the article actually changed as a result of this complaint?  Yes, but some of the changes actually make it worse:  The original tip-off phrase, “… the researchers stress that the variations between different places in Britain are not statistically significant” has gone! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Science Journalism, Statistics | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

Happy people, not places

Posted by apgaylard on October 24, 2008

In August, the BBC ran a story claiming that research had determined that some places in Britain were ‘happier’ than others.  You can see the nature of the claims in the TV news report, “Britain’s happiest places mapped“.  There was a big problem with this though: the research found no significant differences between places.  The only differences were accounted for by the socio-economic status of the people

If you read through the on-line version of the story it even pointed this out, eventuallyRead the rest of this entry »

Posted in Science Journalism, Statistics, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 11 Comments »

BBC editor concedes ‘happiest place’ story is baseless (updated)

Posted by apgaylard on September 5, 2008

[BPSDBThis is just a short post to highlight an interesting discussion that I’ve got into with the BBC’s Health Editor for their News website.  The BBC is carrying an entirely spurious story about the geographical distribution of ‘happiness’ in the UK; both on TV and on-line.

The tell-tale phrase in the on-line article is that, “the researchers stress that the variations between different places in Britain are not statistically significant.”  This appears part way through the piece and entirely scuppers it as a story.  A few ‘bad science’ types have spotted this – notably gimpy – and let the BBC know what they think. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Science Journalism, Statistics | Tagged: , , | 15 Comments »