Ten News Stories of 2010 – and the Statistics that Made Them

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Significance Magazine
According to Significance Magazine (jointly published by Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association) the following are the top ten stories of 2010.

1. Progress in the prevention of HIV:    Public health studies result in HIV treatment advancements.
2. Drug regulation: restrictions and retractions:   Related to breast cancer and type 2 diabetes.
3. Measuring a teacher’s value:  LA Times graded teachers based on standards tests results. 
4. Political rhetoric finds a helpmeet in statistics:   “a statistical recovery and a human recession.”
5. Census of Marine Life: The first census of the world’s seas completed in 2010.
6. Death of Frederick Jelinek:  a pioneer in speech recognition and statistical methods of NLP.
7. The genetic key to Shangri-La:  Dr. Paola Sebastiani genetics advancements related to longevity.
8. Screening saves: CT Scanning definitively associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer mortality.
9. Fat kills: Quantitative reviews in various areas of health and nutrition.
10. Words, words words: Culturomics project produces the Google Ngram Viewer.

The details are parceled out in 5 articles: Part 1 | Part 2  | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Other Stories – or my $0.02.
The following are not exactly in the same category as the listings in significance magazine – but they involve personalities and events that affect many members of the R community and have some sort of analytical/statistical significance.

World Statistics Day
I mean, I missed picking up a greeting card – but the objective of the celebration is pretty worthwhile:

building support and better understanding for official statistics among the general public and the policy-makers worldwide.

For the R community, R-Bloggers has had a banner year and provided a great deal of visibility for the R community.  They are looking for sponsorship – so please consider supporting them.

U.S. Economic News
News involved the use of additional zeros tacked on to end of numbers.  The recovery.org web site has been somewhat underwhelming.  Edward Tufte’s nomination to serve on the Recovery Independent Advisory Panel was a fascinating development.  His emphasis on clear and truthful presentation of information could be a Good Thing.

New Era of Data Journalism
The World Bank has continued to provide more data on economic and social topics.  
A couple of blog posts covered this, and an R package is also available to access the World Bank Data API.  There has been an increased refinement in data journalism as well as controversy surrounding WikiLeaks during 2010.  

Data Marketplace
InfoChimps is pioneering an online marketplace for buying and selling data.  Seems that they have a plausible idea – they recently landed 1.2 million dollars in funding.

Benoit Mandelbrot
Another noteworthy death this year that was not mentioned was the loss of the “Father of Fractals” – Benoit Mandelbrot.  

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