Significance October issue

Can a pet tortoise predict when it’s about to rain? That’s the somewhat unusual question posed by Conner Jackson, winner of Significance magazine’s Statistical Excellence Award for Early Career Writing. Jackson’s article, 'Pietro the weather tortoise and the pursuit of soggy bun prevention', leads the line-up of feature articles in the October 2021 issue of Significance.

In the same issue there’s a focus on cybersecurity and how text analysis can be used to spot 'phishing' attempts. And part three of the magazine’s 'History of the Data Economy' appears, with this latest instalment telling the story of how social media sites became data economies in their own right.

There’s also an interview about the UK statistical system’s response to Covid-19 and how it is preparing for what comes next; a discussion about data science standards; and an update to the story of 'the lady tasting tea'.

Plus, have you ever wondered who was the best friend on the TV show Friends? Matthias Basner has, and he presents a quantitative analysis that attempts to answer that question.

Also in the October issue:

  • Statistical inference allows researchers to learn things about a population using only a sample of data from that population. But if it isn’t a random sample, inference becomes tricky or outright impossible, as Norbert Hirschauer, Sven Grüner, Oliver Mußhoff, Claudia Becker and Antje Jantsch explain.
  • Rob Gandy examines the contradictory adjectives used by the media to describe the same numbers in different contexts.
  • Leighton Vaughan Williams introduces readers to 'The Doomsday Argument'.
  • A copy of the RSS Member update (RSS members only)

RSS members can access the digital version of Significance and Member Update through MyRSS; subscribers can also download and read the magazine on the go with our iOS and Android apps. Print issues will be mailed to subscribers soon.

Significance is online at

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