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UK Man Prevented From Finding Chipped Pet Under Data Protection Act 340 340

Dave Moorhouse was elated when he was informed that a microchip provider had information on the whereabouts of his stolen dog. This joy soon faded when the company informed him that it could not divulge the Jack Russell terrier's location because it would breach the Data Protection Act. Last week a court agreed with the chip company and refused Mr Moorhouse's request for a court order compelling them to reveal the name and address of the new owners. Steven Wildridge, managing director of the chip company said: “This is not a choice, it’s an obligation under the Data Protection Act. If the individuals involved do not want us to pass on their details to the original owner then we cannot do so unless compelled to following a criminal or civil proceeding."

Comment: Re:Statistics (Score 2, Informative) 764 764

Completely agree with this.

Statistics is more often than not used as a "tool on the side" to illustrate study conclusions, while it should be at the very heart of any scientific analysis, all the way from the initial measurement planning to the model validation and further. Too often, the scientific process is still largely based on subjective judgement instead of robust statistics. While experience helps to avoid glaring errors, the process is doomed to produce erratic research as long as decent statistics are not involved. Judgement can be deceived, numbers can't.

Quite interesting in this regard: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/57091/title/Odds_are,_its_wrong

Comment: Re:Doesn't matter. (Score 2, Insightful) 764 764

Regarding communication: that's completely normal. Have you ever tried making carefully qualified statements when explaining scientific research to the public? It does not work. The public expects definite statements from science, it doesn't want to hear what uncertainties are involved or what data is lacking for more certain conclusions.

This study might be interesting in this context: http://arxiv.org/abs/1004.5009v1

Comment: Re:He could have fixed it with a wave of the hand (Score 1) 615 615

Depends on your social circle, I think. I'm in Belgium, and like you, only a minority of the people I know are religious. But on the whole of Belgium, I suspect things are quite different.

Anyway, I have no data to support this. I just *fear* that they have their numbers going for them.

Much of the excitement we get out of our work is that we don't really know what we are doing. -- E. Dijkstra