Can you guess what it is yet?

Just a bit of fun for the end of the year.

See if you can work out what the image above represents. Use the form, below, to submit your response, making sure to describe as much detail as possible. There will be a prize (probably chocolate) for the first accurate answer and, depending on the responses, a prize for the funniest. Results will be announced after 2011.

Update, 1st January 2012:

Here is the solution.

Losing my religion

David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, yesterday announced that the UK is a Christian country. The rights and wrongs of him making this announcement will have to wait for another day, but I would like to thank him for pointing out what these buildings were that I have seen recently*.

However, I imagine some residents of Golder’s Green, Leicester and other areas may beg to differ.

*In the last few hundred years.

Premier league predictor

In 2009, on the final day of the football season, David Spiegelhalter, a Statistician, attempted to predict the outcome of the Premier League fixtures using a mathematical model. He correctly identified the outcome (win, lose or draw) of 9 matches and the correct scoreline of 2 games. As a comparison, Mark Lawrenson, a football pundit, correctly predicted 7 outcomes and 1 scoreline using football ‘knowledge’. There had been ten fixtures in total.

The article detailing these predictions can be seen here, while the article detailing the maths behind the model can be seen here.

I have since replicated the model and adjusted it so that people can use it to predict any Premier League fixture of their choice. Please be aware that it may take a few minutes for any changes or selections to appear on this page – so please be patient with any ‘refreshing’.

The ten most recent games that people have requested to be predicted are listed below.

The percentages shown are the chances of obtaining that result. Sometimes a team may, for example, be ‘expected’ to win, while the single most likely result could be a 1-1 draw.

A breakdown of how the model works for the first (top) listed game is detailed below.

However, there are a number of limitations.

  • David Spiegelhalter details the limitations of much of the maths within his article.
  • The model becomes more accurate as the season progresses – as the amount of data on which the model is based increases (it is particularly inaccurate at the start of the season).
  • It is only as accurate as the information that has been entered – if I don’t update the results, the accuracy of the model will not update accordingly. See the table, below, to check how up-to-date any results are.
  • Changes and selections take a few mintues for data to appear on this page.
  • Only ten predictions are displayed at a time, which could be problematic if a few people want to simultaneously view predictions for a few matches.

Results upon which the model is based.

Live questionnaire

This is an experiment to see what can be achieved by embedding Google spreadsheets and forms into web pages. Feel free to answer the question, refresh the page and watch the pie chart change (if the numbers become too large, the data may have to be cleared).

Continuing with the experiments, this box will tell you if today it is christmas:

Embedded tweets

Some discussion has appeared recently about Twitter’s new look. Intriguingly, it comes with a few nifty features such as an ability to embed tweets, so I thought I would have a play:


Click any tweet, select ‘Details’ followed by “Embed this Tweet” for the html code. Full details of how this is done can be seen here.

Klout; any clout?

There has been much discussion recently about Klout, a website which claims to analyse online influence. On 17th October 2011, I had a score of 34 (whatever that means), and was described as being influential about the ‘Federal Reserve’ – see here.

Almost two months later, I am advised that my score has increased to 44, together with an increasing number of people it claims that I influence. However, I now appear to be influential about Law, Fraud and Voting in addition to the Federal Reserve.

I would therefore like to ask the people behind Klout:
On what basis am I influential about these topics, of which I have relatively little interest?

Where next

Having recently ordered a few items online, they are currently in the process of being delivered. So when I didn’t arrive home from work until late yesterday evening, I was not overly surprised to discover a delivery receipt claiming my parcel had been left in my ‘safe location’ which, for the record, had not previously been specified as a ‘safe location’.

When I returned home from work today at a more sociable hour, I was not as much surprised by the fact that there was another delivery receipt from the same courier, as by the location in which they left today’s delivery… in the bin.

Thanks. Well, at least they reduce the chances of theft by introducing a random element to their delivery locations.

More views on strike action

Following my recent post in order to gather opinions on the strike on November 30th, it is clear that opinion is divided. There are still a few days to go, but there are people who work in both the private, and the public, sectors who both support and oppose the strikes.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, most private sector workers oppose the strikes, while most public sector workers support the action. I do think that there is a lack of understanding – private sector workers do not seem to fully appreciate the degree of the cuts the government are proposing, while public sector workers feel victimised.

Clearly, both the government and the unions have some work to do, if not just to get the population at large to understand the facts.

Update 10th December 2011:
Views on strike action

Employment type

These charts will automatically update with any subsequent data.

Views on strike action

Please could you spend a moment completing this brief questionnaire.
My reasons for asking can be found at the end of this post.

There are many differing views about the proposed strike next week by public sector workers.Typically polls have received a turnout of between 30% to 50% – with up to 80% of those voting supporting strike action.

I am interested to know what support there is overall, including from those who are not even able to vote, and will publish the results shortly. Those of you who I have discussed this with in person probably expected something along these lines at some point.

Update 30th November 2011:
My opinion on recent comments can be seen here.

Update 10th December 2011:
Results have been added here.