June 3, 2016


  • David Cameron should ban hedge funds from trying to cash in on the EU referendum by commissioning private exit polls to speculate on sterling before the official result, Labour’s deputy leader has said.” (Guardian) But. “If you think that this is bad — and Watson probably isn’t alone in thinking that it’s bad — then it seems to me that you have to identify which part is bad. Is it asking someone how she voted? Is it asking lots of people how they voted? Is it making a prediction about the Brexit vote? Is it trading based on your prediction? Which specific thing would you make illegal?” (Matt Levine)
  • Generation Zero likes trains, and thinks other people also like trains. Rather than just asserting this or putting up a petition, they’re trying to crowdfund a real opinion poll to find out Auckland public opinion on maintaining a train option for the proposed harbour crossing. Obviously they’re doing this because they think they know what the answer will be, but it’s still a welcome step towards evidence-based lobbying.
  • Google’s ‘Digital Ethicist’ on how software design hijacks people’s minds — changing the (implied) question to affect people’s decisions.

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 »