…And Statistics

BBC: Asteroid danger in 2014 downplayed
Astronomers monitoring near Earth objects are playing down the chances of a newly-discovered asteroid hitting Earth in 2014. They say that there is a one in 909,000 chance of asteroid 2003 QQ47 impacting our planet. The chances of a catastrophe are likely to become even slimmer once more measurements of the asteroid's orbit have been made.

Erm, no they're not: the chances of this potential catastrophe happening will in no way be affected by any measurements we might happen to make on Earth (either the catastrophe will happen, or it will not). Only the predicted odds of the catastrophe happening will be affected by the measurements.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the BBC website:

BBC: Earth hits '2,000-year warming peak'

Of course, strictly speaking, you can't talk about statistical peaks occurring in the present tense: for all we know, the temperature might continue to rise—in which case, the temperature now wouldn't be the peak.


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