January 17, 2013


  • An illustration of what happens to promising new medical treatments: the first randomized trial of fish oil found a 70% reduction in rate of deaths, though the study was too small to be reliable.  After the second study, the estimate was down to 20%.  It’s now 4%, with a margin-of-error of 6%. 
  • A Wall Street Journal infographic that’s doing the rounds, on the impact of the ‘fiscal cliff’.  Includes a representative solo mother with two children, who faces a $3300 tax increase. On her income of US$260,000.  The median household income for families with female householder and no husband is US$32978 (that also includes a subset of the unmarried couples with children, but there’s fewer of them in the US than here).
  • Roger Peng writes about the Beijing air pollution. It is indeed ‘crazy bad’, but the Great London Fog was substantially worse.  Similarly, when you read about developing-country water pollution, remember that the Cuyahoga River, in Cleveland, caught fire several times.

Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient See all posts by Thomas Lumley »