Slashing The Odds – a.k.

a.k. from thus spake a.k.

In the previous post we explored the Cauchy distribution, which, having undefined means and standard deviations, is an example of a pathological distribution. We saw that this is because it has a relatively high probability of generating extremely large values which we concluded was a consequence of its standard random variable being equal to the ratio of two independent standard normally distributed random variables, so that the magnitudes of observations of it can be significantly increased by the not particularly unlikely event that observations of the denominator are close to zero.
Whilst we didn't originally derive the Cauchy distribution in this way, there are others, known as ratio distributions, that are explicitly constructed in this manner and in this post we shall take a look at one of them.

Letter to my MP on racism in the US and UK

Andy Balaam from Andy Balaam's Blog

Here is the text of a letter I wrote to my MP today via

Dear [],
I am writing to you to express my growing horror at the ongoing police violence and brutality Black protesters are facing in the US, and the UK's disturbing silence on the matter.
These protests, begun as peaceful demonstrations against the state-enabled murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, have been escalated by the US police, who are using excessive force against protesters practising their civic rights. If this were a non-white country, Western countries would have denounced this brutality; instead, the UK has elected to remain silent.
I am painfully aware that the UK itself suffers from many racist structures. Thanks to systematic injustice, the recent pandemic has impacted BAME people at a vastly higher rate than white people. The death of Belly Mujinga, caused by a racist attack and by her presence at work despite underlying conditions that should have resulted in paid leave, was horrifying and preventable, and the dropped inquiry utterly disgraceful.
I ask you personally to:
- write to the Foreign Secretary asking for a strong statement of condemnation of police brutality in the US,
- make it a personal priority to address the systematic injustice of unfair outcomes for BAME people in the UK,
- ensure that the government responds materially to the report on BAME COVID-19 deaths,
- insist on a full enquiry into the circumstances surrounding Belly Mujinga's death.
Yours sincerely,