Stochasticity is everywhere – and finding the order in disorder can unlock new ways to understand biology.
Erlon Silva - TRI Digital/Moment via Getty Images
An epigenetic model of cancer that incorporates the concept of stochasticity could also explain why cancer risk increases with age and how biological development can be reversible.
Is there a limit to human life expectancy?
The oldest person in the world, Kane Tanaka of Japan, died in April 2022 at 119 years. The record of Jeanne Calment of France, who died at 122, has stood for almost 25 years. Will it be beaten?
A lottery jackpot being won by 433 people in the Phillipines has raised accusations of foul play. Then again – such outcomes usually do.
Who will be next to cross this stage and accept a Nobel Prize?
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images News via Getty Images
Buying and selling stocks – with real or play money – is a way to harness the wisdom of the crowd about questions like who is going to win a competition.
Before the pandemic, an intergenerational tea party wouldn’t have seemed a risky proposition.
fotostorm/E+ via Getty Images
People want a simple answer. Is this action safe? But despite Anthony Fauci bouncing responsibility for COVID-19 risk assessment to individuals, your risk can’t be boiled down to one probability.
So much uncertainty around risk can make it extra hard to decide what to do.
Richard Drury/DigitalVision via Getty Images
People tend to dislike uncertainty and risk – two things that are hard to avoid completely during a pandemic. That’s part of why it can feel especially draining to make even small decisions these days.
Rapid Antigen Tests are being rolled out by the millions for Australians to check their COVID status. But a result should be interpreted in context.
Keeping a safe distance from each other isn’t made simpler when units of measurement are being butchered.
(Egan J. Chernoff)
Why haven’t people gotten upset about how our social distancing signs are fostering innumeracy?
A ‘100-year flood’ doesn’t mean you’ll be flood-free for the next 99 years.
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Flood plain statistics can be confusing. There are better ways to think about the risk of severe weather than 100-year storm or flood.
Euro 2020 stickers.
We used probability to find out what collecting all 678 stickers might cost you.
Shutterstock/G Stock Studio
With the Australian Open about to start this year’s grand slam series, a crunch of the data from past performances gives a hint at who is the current best male player, possibly.
Philosopher Nick Bostrom’s theory suggests there’s a one-in-three probability we live in a simulation.
A black swan event must meet three criteria: it must be an outlier, must have a major impact and must be declared predictable in hindsight.
The danger of treating COVID-19 as an astronomically rare and improbable event is that we will treat it as such and fail to prepare for the next pandemic. And there will be another pandemic.
A statistics professor used his expertise in calculating probabilities to come up with a 98 winning percentage for Tim Hortons popular Roll up the Rim contest.
(Photo Illustration/The Conversation)
Tim Hortons changed Roll up the Rim to include a digital element. A statistician correctly predicted that playing on the last day of the contest would dramatically increase the odds of winning.
Kea were able to correctly guess the most probable scenarios, by evaluating various physical and social cues. Previously, only great apes and humans were known to be able to understand probability.
What a scramble.
Scrambling it is much easier than solving it. But it still involves some fascinating questions, such as the number of random moves needed to consider the cube truly messed up.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrates after his team won the NFL divisional playoff football game against the Houston Texans on Jan. 12, 2020.
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
Watching the chances of victory change injects life into sports, both real and fantasy.
The simple dice can provide an introduction to statistics.
Wages, starlight and polls can all be interpreted using statistics. While probabilities, medians and noise can be challenging, a simple dice can provide insights into statistics.
Clinical trials are important, but can’t get us to medicine prescribing that is 100% effective.
Image Point Fr/Shutterstock.com
Clinical trials are used to establish that medicines work. But these don’t take into account the genetic differences between us that can mean very different outcomes for different patients.
There are 130 billion gallons of water in Wisconsin’s Lake Mendota, and now, trillions of spiny water fleas.
It’s cheaper to prevent biological invasions than to react after they happen. But it’s hard to detect invaders while there are still just a few of them. Knowing when and where to look can help.