Editor’s Letter—Vol. 29, No. 3

Dear CHANCE Colleagues,

After themed issues devoted to nurturing statistical thinking before college, forensic statistics, and ecology, this issue of CHANCE offers interesting articles with diverse themes.

The horrific story of the trans-Atlantic slave trade of Africans is the topic of our first article. Sam Tyner tells the story of slave ship routes through fascinating and informative visualization using the R package geomnet.

As I am writing this letter, reports are hitting the news of a new cluster of cases of Zika infections in Miami Beach. The Zika virus is an emerging epidemic of great concern in the Americas. Abigail Smith discusses the history of Zika and ways of modeling the epidemic.

We then examine the statistics behind hitting for the cycle in baseball. The legendary Babe Ruth never did it. Michael Huber tells us why.

Michael Proschan then describes the role of statisticians on FDA advisory committees. He says that membership on these committees is challenging, rewarding, and critical for optimal FDA decision-making. I have sat on FDA Advisory Committees for more than a decade and I could not concur more!

Ed Stanek next offers a thought-provoking and interesting article touching upon the foundation of statistical inference based on sampling theories. Be sure to visit the YouTube video for additional explanations.

It was my great privilege to talk with Cyrus Mehta and Nitin Patel, co-founders of Cytel, Inc. Cyrus and Nitin discuss their personal journeys and the evolution of Cytel. Despite a great Indian-American success story, they remain appreciative and humble. It is my honor to call them friends and colleagues.

In our Book Reviews column, Christian Robert reviews Statistics Done Wrong: The Woefully Complete Guide by Alex Reinhart and Measuring Statistical Evidence Using Relative Belief by Michael Evans.

It is an election year and we are in election season. Howard Wainer examines the evidence in the 2016 presidential campaign, comparing the American (Nativist) Party from the 1850s, often called the “Know Nothing” party, to one of today’s political parties.

Scott Evans

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