CHANCE News 2.01
              (20 Dec 1992 to 5 Jan 1993)

Prepared by Laurie Snell

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>>>>>==========>> Thanks to Bill Peterson for the first two items Is 1992 the Year of the Big One? Rumblings from a California Prophet. Jane Gross The New York Times, 3 Jan 1993, p E7. Conversation with Allan G Lindh, chief seismologist of the US Geological Survey. He contends that the recent quakes in the Mojave Desert are a "final warning" that the Big One on the southern end of the San Andreas Fault is imminent. Lindh estimates that there is a 1-in-2 to 1-in-10 chance of a major earthquake this generation. "Society is always playing a high stake poker game, when there is only so much money to spend. You have to move some problems to the foreground and others to the background." Cellar bolts (anchoring houses to foundations) are more cost effective than asteroid shields. <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> Tests Show Infection by AIDS Virus Affects Greater Share of Cells. Gina Kolata NYTimes, 5 Jan 93, pC3 (Medical Science) AIDS researchers are now finding that 10-30 percent of CD4 white blood cells of HIV+ patients may harbor the virus. Earlier studies had found only 1-in-1000 to 1-in-100 cells infected, which led to questions about how the virus could so thoroughly destroy the immune system. (See Duesberg discussion) Using "polymerase chain reaction" methods to copy fragments of genes, making them amenable to study by molecular probes, researchers have been able to detect latent HIV infection in a cell's DNA before the virus begins actively replicating. <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> High court to consider rules on scientific evidence. NY Times, Jan. 2, 1993, sec 1, p 1 Natalie Angier The United States Supreme Court has taken up a California case, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals. This original case center on whether Bendectin causes birth defects. The Supreme Court is considering the case in order to try to clarify the question of when a scientific claim is legitimate enough to put before a jury in a civil or criminal case. The deadlines for briefs is Jan. 19 and the Court is expected to rule by the summer. This article reviews the current thinking on this question and speculates on the effect of the high courts ruling on future issues such as the use of DNA fingerprinting in the courts. <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> Standarized Mess; Students Know it's easy to cheat on the SAT's. Washington Post, Jan. 3, 1993, C-1 Stewart Ugelow As the title suggests this article assesses the amount of cheating that goes on SAT's and describes the various ways that it is done. There is to be a great deal of difference of opinion about whether cheating is widespread or not. Not surprisingly ETS president says it is not but the article suggests that available data shows that it is. <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> Fear of breast cancer. Washington Post, Jan 5, 1993 Sandra G. Boodman This is a long and interesting discussion of the difficulties of assessing the risk for breast cancer. The famous 1 in 8 chance put forth by the American Cancer Association is discussed in detail as well as the many misconceptions about hereditary risks etc. Apparently, there is a lot still to understand in this field <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> Fatalismo toward cancer. Los Angeles Times, Dec 26, 1992 A-1 This is a discussion of a study published in the JAMA that looked at 844 Latinos and 510 Anglos in the Kaiser Permanentle medical care program and ask them about their attitudes towards cancer. They found that Latinos are more likely than Anglos to have misconceptions about the causes and symptoms of cancer and seem to have a more fatalistic attitude about the disease. The authors of the study offer this as an explanation for the fact that Latinos, in general, have lower rates of cancer than Anglos but are equally likely to die of it and often are more ill when their disease is diagnosed. They suggest their fatalistic attitude makes them less likely to seek out and carry through early treatment. <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> Affairs of heart plague women; delaying treatment worsens odds. The Houston Chronicle Dec 27 1992 Lifestyle pg. 2 Sally Bell; For the American Heart Association, Los Angeles Times Syndicate While the number of men and women who die of heart disease annually is essentially the same, there are a number differences relating to symptoms and progress of heart disease for men and women. It is contended that women should be as well informed about ways to control and prevention of heart disease as they are for breast cancer which has a much lower death rate. <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> Census bureau refuses to adjust '90 count. Los Angeles Times A-4. Edwin Chen and Marc Lacey The Census Bureau stated on Tuesday that it will not readjust the population estimates to account for the approximately 5.3 million people thought largely to be minority groups and homeless who were left out of the 1990 census. A federal judge in New York is expected to rule this year on a suit brought be Los Angeles, New York and other cities to force the government to make the adjustments. (See Chance article below for more about this trial) <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> Hepatitis C may be hidden epidemic. New York Times, Dec 31, 1992 A-20 Gina Kolata A study reported in the current New England Journal of Medicine shows that, in contrast to hepatitis B, once a person is infected with the hepatitis C the virus remains in the blood for years after there are no longer signs or symptoms of liver inflammation. However, a second study indicates that at least for the first 20 years after infection the death rate for people with hepatitis C may be no higher than similar but uninfected people. The articles discusses some of the problems in estimating the number of people infected with hepatitis C. <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> Chance magazine Vol 5, No. 3-4 J. Laurie Snell, John Finn A description of the "Chance" course being developed at a number of colleges. This course was inspired by Chance magazine and deals with current chance news events as reported in these news items. <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> Predicting professional sports game outcomes from intermediate game scores. Chance magazine, Vol 5, no 3-4 Cooper, DeNeve, Mosteller This article reports on a study to determine how good late-game scores are as predictors for the final outcome. It is found that basketball, hockey and football are reversed around 20 percent of the time but baseball only about 6 percent of the time. Home team advantage was also studied and found to be statistically significant without much difference between sports. Across the four sports home teams won about 60 percent of the time. <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> An adjusted census in 1990? The trial. Chance magazine, vol 5, no 3-4 Stephen E. Fienberg An account of the trial in New York before federal judge McLaughlin brought by a number of cities seeking to overturn a 1991 Department of Commerce decision not to adjust the 1990 decennial census. A blow by blow account of a battle of the giants in statistics. For the plaintiffes John Rolf, John Tukey, Stephen Fienberg and others and for the defense Paul Meier, Leo Brieman and others. We will watch for the decision! <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> Should pregnant women move? Linking risks for birth defects with proximity to toxic waste sites. Chance magazine, vol 5, no 3-4 Sandra A. Geschkwind An article based on a recent study at Yale Univsity and the New York Department of Health published in "The journal of epidmiology" that evaluates the risk of bearing children with birth defects based on distance from toxic waste sites in New York State. The article describes the risks and discusses the issues involved in answering the question "Should a pregnant women move from a home near a toxit waste site? The article includes a refreshing discussion of the difference between proving causality and exhibiting characteristics of causality. <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> Statistical Evidence of cheating on mulltiple-choice tests. Chance magazine, vol 5, no 3-4 Stephen P. Klein A discussion of the methods used to resolve cheating cases on high- states tests such as College Board exams and those used for licensing in the professions. The methods are illustrated in terms of actual cases that were ajudicated. <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> Expanding the role of the bar chart in representing crime data. Chance magazine, vol 5, no 3-4 Terry Allen and Glen Buckner Some ways to make bar graphs more accurate in their representation and more informative. Examples using crime data are illustrated. <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> Calculated Risk. Joseph Rodricks Cambridge University Press 1992 A not too technical description of way in which researchers in the disciplines of toxicology, epidemiology and risk assessment evaluate threats to human health of pollutants and chemical products. A good background for anyone wanted to discuss these topics. <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> Letter to the Editor Association for Women in Mathematics. November-December 1992 Joan S. Birman Some ideas on how one should react to a statistical observation. In this case data of Paul Selvin that showed that as of July 17, 1992 there were 288 men and five women in the tenured faculty at ten universities with strong research departments. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CHANCE News 2.01 (20 Dec 1992 to 5 Jan 1993) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please send suggestions to: jlsnell@dartmouth.edu >>>==========>>|<<==========<<<