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Why a 75% correct test will be wrong 9 times as often as it is right

Probability is misleading and, as so often is the case, Tim Harford has explained it brilliantly.

He imagines a test for a disease that is 75% accurate, meaning it correctly identifies infected people 75% of the time, but incorrectly returns a false positive on uninfected people 25 . He tests 100 people, 4 of whom are infected. Continue Reading


How a radio show made one fan so angry he’s raised £11,000 (and counting) for charity

Are you familiar with The Archers?

It’s one of the longest running soap operas in Britain, a radio show set in rural Ambridge. While its storylines are often bucolic, it is currently running a story about Helen, who is suffering coercive and physical abuse at the hands of her husband, Rob.

It has led real life sufferers of coercive abuse such as Helen Walmsley-Johnson to write about her experiences.

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Why we should all be more like Steve Ballmer than Steve Jobs (hint: Ballmer was mediocre. Compared to Jobs, so are we all)

It’s not often a how-to post makes me laugh out loud.

Over on Medium, David Barnes made some great points about why we should all seek to emulate Steve Ballmer, ex CEO of Microsoft, rather than Steve Jobs, late founder and CEO of Apple.

Starting with the fact that most of us are unlikely to be successful genius entrepreneurs who launched our first wildly successful business in our 20s.

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How one musician makes a living just by asking.

Musician Nate Maingard hit a milestone today.

Since he announced his Patreon campaign in April 2014, he has received $20,000. Patrons currently give him $1,700 a month. Which is not exactly riches, but compared to the uncertainty that many artists face, it is a great start.

In a blog post today, Nate says, “Since joining Patreon I have written 16 songs, made many youtube music videos, started vlogging (video blogging), played a bunch of intimate house concerts, mentored other indie creatives, become a part of The Lyrical Nomads Collective and have even guest lectured at creative colleges in London and Amsterdam!”

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One surprising reason why you should never tell anyone your porn star name

Do you know your pornstar name?

For as long as the Internet has been a mainstream thing, there have been a steady stream of quizzes or websites that let you identify the name of your porn alter-ego.

The first one I remember is “the name of your first pet” + “your mother’s maiden name”.

I tried it out in my head. It’s pretty good. It made me laugh. I’m not going to share it with you. I’ll tell you why in a minute.

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Book review: The Churchill Factor tells us little about Churchill, but lots about Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has followed in the footsteps of a long line of politicians writing political biographies. Johnson chose Churchill, not because Churchill needs another biography – or even a hagiography – but because Johnson is desperate to cast himself as Churchill’s spiritual heir as he positions himself for Tory party leadership (which, by the vagaries of the British constitution, would also make him Prime Minister.)

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Folio Fans: The anatomy of a unique publisher

This is a guest post by Toby Hartwell, the former Managing Director of The Folio Society. I love his description of the success of The Folio Society.

It may not come as a surprise to those of you who are aware of The Folio Society that this bastion of traditional hard back publishing is also home to some very interesting fans. They are core to the continued survival of Folio and rejoice in the relationship that they have with the publisher. Folio is probably alone as a book publisher in having such a strong direct relationship with its customers at the heart of its business model. Over the years it has engendered the perfect breeding ground for passionate and enthusiastic followers of its brand. For those unfamiliar with The Folio Society, the company has, for the last 67 years been publishing beautiful illustrated editions of some of the world’s greatest books. In a sector where roughly 95% of book sales are at prices below £20, some 95% of Folio books are priced at above £20 and many of them are hefty three figure prices. Arguably, if you look at the publishing sector as a whole all Folio buyers are already book super fans in some way.

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