Preface
This book was begun when two of the authors decided that their
collaboration on their introductory probability book was both pro-
ductive and fun. We cast about to find some other project on which
we could continue this collaboration. At the same time, all three
of the authors were working on Chance News, which is an ongoing
website containing reviews of news and journal articles pertaining to
probability and statistics in the real world. It was decided that we
should try to write a book in which we would take some of our favorite
articles in Chance News and revise and expand them.
The result is not exactly what was originally planned. Instead
of having many short chapters on a variety of subjects, the present
book consists of four chapters in which we go into some depth on the
covered topics. In fact, it is this depth that we think makes this book
different than other books that cover applications of probability and
statistics to the real world.
In the first two chapters, we use some ideas from calculus. Much
of the more technical mathematics has been placed in appendices so
as not to break the flow of the chapters. We think that even if a
reader has not studied calculus, he or she will be able to read and
understand most of the material in these chapters. In particular, one
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