Editor’s Letter—Vol. 35, No. 2

Dear CHANCE Colleagues,

Benford’s law was thrown into the spotlight after the 2020 US presidential election. CHANCE readers may also recall its application to the Iranian Election (23(1)) and reported COVID-19 numbers (34(2)). The discussion continues in this issue with two articles. Brooks Groharing and David McCune take a data-driven approach to investigating this topic in their article, “Benford’s Law and County-Level Votes in US Presidential Elections.” In “Exploring COVID Data with Benford’s and Zipf’s Laws,” Howard Wainer and Paul Velleman contrast the use of Benford’s Law with a version of Zipf’s Law.

It is fun to think about what life after a winning Mega Millions ticket might entail, but the likelihood of such a dream coming true for any one of us is extremely low. Michael Orkin considers lottery results using the framework of hypothesis testing and p-values in his article, “The Mega Millions Lottery and Hypothesis Testing.”

Readability analysis, the measure of text complexity, has many applications. In the article “The Past, Problems, and Potential of Readability Analysis,” Nick Lines provides a historical overview, along with the pros and cons of existing techniques. The article aims to inspire statisticians and machine learning enthusiasts to contribute toward further modernization and formalization of readability analysis.

In the Taking a Chance in the Classroom column, Nicholas Horton, Jie Chao, William Finzer, and Phebe Palmer share their experience with a spam text classification classroom activity. They present four teaching approaches.

How should scientific journals handle “big if true” submissions? Should they take a risk on certain articles that make bold claims? In the Ethics in Statistics column, Andrew Gelman ponders these questions and proposes an alternative way for journals to publish without appearing to endorse eccentric claims.

In the Odds of Justice column, Mary Gray laments the struggle for equal pay for equal work. How should this goal be judged, and what is the remedy when it is not achieved?

In Book Reviews, Christian Robert shares his critique of Measuring Abundance (2020) by Graham Upton, What Are the Chances? (2021) by Barbara Blatchley, and the second edition of Learning Base R (2021) by Lawrence M. Leemis.

In sad news, Leland Wilkinson, a statistician, software developer, and author of The Grammar of Graphics, passed away in December 2021. Howard Wainer and Paul Velleman pay tribute to their friend in the Visual Revelations column.

Amanda Peterson-Plunkett

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