The meaning of life can be found in a number: 42

The 42-year-old Dirk Scott is attending what he claims is his 20th Sevens.

For instance, statistics show the average age of overseas visitors to the Sevens is 42. So it's surely no coincidence that in Douglas Adams' eternally thought-provoking sci-fi comedy/philosophy classic, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, "the answer to life, the universe and everything" is 42.

Sunday, 24 March, 2013, 8:47am

Lesson for society in census scandal

Lily Ou-Yang Fong, Commissioner for Census and Statistics, responds to a question from the media about allegations of fabrications by researchers and announce to set up a task force to probe the issue. Photo: May Tse

Allegations of fabricating statistics have been made against census officers.

The controversy involving the credibility of the Census and Statistics Department has damaged the Hong Kong government's reputation.

Firstly, the fact that census officers may have fabricated answers when conducting household interviews indicates the lack of scrutiny within the department.

25 Jan 2013 - 2:35am 2 comments

Youth population shrinks 25pc in 30 years

Hong Kong may face a threat to its economic productivity amid a drastic 25 per cent drop in the number of young people here in the last 30 years.

The number of people aged between 15 and 24 has fallen from 1.146 million in 1981 to 860,000 in 2011, government statistics show.

22 Jan 2013 - 4:09am

'Fake census' officers may be criminally liable

Commissioner for Census and Statistics Lily Ou-yang Fong

Frontline census officers accused of faking answers in an apparent bid to speed up their work could be criminally liable, and the commissioner says she will lead a task force investigating the case.

But lawmakers said the Census and Statistics Department probe was not enough and called for an independent inquiry.

9 Jan 2013 - 5:17am

Fake census claims put low jobless rate in doubt

Frederick Ho Wing-huen, former commissioner of the Census and Statistics Department. Photo: Jonathan Wong

An investigation has been launched over allegations that as many as nine out of 10 frontline census officers fabricated answers - and it could mean Hong Kong's low jobless rate has been underestimated for a decade.

8 Jan 2013 - 6:33am 1 comment

The algorithm of life is a powerful thing

Barack Obama (centre) with supporting celebrities Jay-Z (left) and Bruce Springsteen at a campaign event in Columbus, Ohio.

My wife thinks George Clooney has universal appeal. But according to the data-mining quants who helped propel Barack Obama back into the White House, the liberal film star and Obama supporter is most attractive to women aged between 40 and 49 on the west coast of the United States.

10 Nov 2012 - 12:55am 1 comment

Statisticians Nate Silver and Sam Wang run circles around the pundits

President Barack Obama's re-election is announced in New York's Times Square. The results were forecast with uncanny accuracy by young mathematicians. Photo: EPA

Tuesday's election result was not just a victory for President Barack Obama, but a validation for the new breed of so-called "big data" number crunchers.

They include New York Times blogger Nate Silver, whose uncanny accuracy in predicting the result has turned him into something of a mathematical rock star.

9 Nov 2012 - 12:03pm

Favourite backers hurting big time but tide will turn with Whyte leading way

Douglas Whyte

From time to time, we like to look at various statistical aspects of racing but rarely is there a stat which jumps out like the current state of affairs with outright favourites.

26 Sep 2012 - 2:45am

Voters 'more co-operative' with exit polls, says HKU's Robert Chung

Voters were much more co-operative when it came to talking about this year's election which saw Leung Chun-ying elected Hong Kong Chief Executive. Photo: AFP

Voters were more co-operative with exit pollsters in this month's Legislative Council election than they were in 2008, generating largely accurate results, a leading pollster said.

20 Sep 2012 - 3:32am

HKU will run Legco exit polls despite fears of abuse

Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu

Pollster Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu will run exit polls during next month's Legislative Council election despite concern about polling agencies sharing data with parties for voting purposes.

30 Aug 2012 - 5:36am

US-based Science Exchange lets researchers recheck study results

US-based Science Exchange lets researchers recheck study results

So many scientific studies are making incorrect claims that a new service has sprung up to fact-check reported findings by repeating the experiments.

19 Aug 2012 - 10:52am

Thank God the flag-waving is over for the next 4 years

Thank God the flag-waving is over for the next 4 years

The 1980s pop star Morrissey provoked a flurry of outrage in the media last week when he condemned the "blustering jingoism" of London 2012, and described Britain as "foul with patriotism" following the country's success in the Olympics.

Now Morrissey is what the Reverend Spooner would undoubtedly have called "a shining wit", but on this occasion old misery-guts had a point.

14 Aug 2012 - 9:33am

Uphill struggle

The world's investors sift through the semantics of China's economic policy pronouncements with increasingly desperate optimism.

27 Jun 2012 - 12:00am

Factor in natural capital, and China's growth rate plunges

Ask any 10 Hongkongers where they think China ranks in the economic league table of different countries, and the chances are that all 10 will give you the same answer.

'Second,' they will say, 'behind the United States but gaining fast'.

And they will be right - up to a point.

22 Jun 2012 - 12:00am

Two wrongs don't make a right line

Hong Kong registered its lowest rate of economic growth in more than two years in the first quarter, with a slowdown on the mainland having a knock-on effect.

SCMP, May 12

Maybe this town is changing but it certainly didn't feel to me like three months in which the economy grew by only 0.4 per cent year over year.

15 May 2012 - 12:00am