Home taping didn’t kill music

June 5th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, economics, evidence, evidence based policy, politics | 102 Comments »

Ben Goldacreimage
The Guardian
Saturday 6th June 2009

You are killing our creative industries. “Downloading costs billions” said the Sun. “MORE than seven million Brits use illegal downloading sites that cost the economy billions of pounds, Government advisors said today. Researchers found more than a million people using a download site in ONE day and estimated that in a year they would use £120bn worth of material.”

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Datamining for terrorists would be lovely if it worked

February 28th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, evidence based policy, politics, statistics, surveillance | 79 Comments »

The Guardian
Saturday February 28 2009
Ben Goldacre

This week Sir David Omand, the former Whitehall security and intelligence co-ordinator, described how the state should analyse data about individuals in order to find terrorist suspects: travel information, tax, phone records, emails, and so on. “Finding out other people’s secrets is going to involve breaking everyday moral rules” he said, because we’ll need to screen everyone to find the small number of suspects.

There is one very significant issue that will always make data mining unworkable when used to search for terrorist suspects in a general population, and that is what we might call Read the rest of this entry »

The least surrogate outcome

April 5th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, drurrrgs, evidence based policy, politics, statistics | 12 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian,
Saturday April 5 2008

There’s this vague idea – which has been going around for the past few centuries – that statistics is quite difficult. But in reality the maths is often the least of your problems: the tricky bit comes way before the number crunching, when you are deciding what to measure, how to measure it, and what those measurements mean.
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