ENAR (in the wild)
I’m currently attending the 2011 ENAR spring meeting in Miami. I arrived Sunday night an presented a poster at the opening poster presentation session. On Monday, I attended two sessions in the afternoon: the survival analysis section and, later, the policy section.
In the policy section, I saw a presentation entitled “Issues in the use of survival analysis to estimate damages in equal employment cases” by Qing Pan and Jooseph L. Gaswirth, which has been published in the journal Law, Probability, and Risk in the March 2009 issue. The presentation was two-fold: First they presented some basic methods for determining whether or not discrimination had taken place. In this case (age discrimination), it was fairly evident that the infraction has occurred. Second, the authors presented how to assess the compensation that should be awarded to the parties which had been discriminated against. In order to do so, they applied survival analysis techniques to estimate how long someone would have worked at the company if they had been employed. Very interesting stuff.
Along the same legal lines, I happened to pick up a book called “A Very Short Introduction to Statistics” by David J. Hand. While I was flipping through it I came across a section about a woman named Sally Clark. She was a woman who had two children, both of whom died within the first 11 weeks of their respective lives. Subsequently, she was charged with murder as it seemed suspicious that TWO of her children had both died so young. During the trial, Professor Sir Roy Meadow, (famous for proposing the theory of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSbP)) claimed that the chances of two of her babies dying in this fashion totally by chance was 73,000,000:1. At those odds, I suppose you would have to convict the person. However, his method for arriving at this number was flawed. The Royal Statistics Society issued a statement that began “In the recent highly-publicised case of R v. Sally Clark, a medical expert witness drew on published studies to obtain a figure for the frequency of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS, or “cot death”) in families having some of the characteristics of the defendant’s family. He went on to square this figure to obtain a value of 1 in 73 million for the frequency of two cases of SIDS in such a family.” (Read the whole statement here.) The way I feel about this can be summed up by some comments my friend (a lawyer) made when I emailed him about this case: “That’s wild that that happened in 1999. I figured it would be like
So anyway, I am now sitting in my hotel room at the Leamington (students can’t afford the Hyatt). I’ll leave you with a picture of the hotel I am staying at. I can’t wait to get a job.