Friday, November 29, 2013

International Year Of Statistics 2013

The International Year of Statistics (Statistics2013) is a global initiative, now encompassing more than 1400 participating organizations from 108 countries, which aims to celebrate and recognize the powerful contributions of statistical science to the lives of each one of us, on our everyday chores.

Through the combined effort of many organizations specializing in this area, the event "Statistics2013" aims to promote the importance of statistics, not only for the scientific community in the broad sense, but also for the business community, the government, the media and the public in general. Updated information throughout the course of these worldwide and national celebrations can be found in the sites and, respectively.

The objectives of this comprehensive celebration are:
- To increase public awareness of Statistics as a fundamental tool in all aspects of life in society.
- To promote Statistics as a career, especially among young people.
- To support and encourage creativity and development in Probability and Statistics sciences. Why this reminder in 2013?
Most likely the joint organization of prestigious international institutions linked to the area came forward with this idea for this year because on the same date two important anniversaries related to this science are celebrated: the 300 years since Jacob Bernoulli’s publication of the classical work on probability calculations “Ars Conjectandi”, and the 250th anniversary of the publication of the article by Thomas Bayes on the famous argument of inverse probability that would be associated with his name through the designation “Bayes Theorem”, which is the basis of a strong approach to Inductive Inference called Bayesian Statistics.
Nowadays the notions of Statistics and of (the Theory of) Probability are well differentiated. In a synthetic form, it can be said that the Theory of Probability is the study of mathematical models suitable for the description of random experiments, i.e., involving uncertainty (the so-called probabilistic or stochastic models). And that Statistics is the science of collecting, organizing, analysing, interpreting and transmitting data, i.e. measurements or observations taken from the real world, as well as the prediction of new data. Thus, Statistic is an area of science, separated from Mathematics but in many aspects (in obtaining inferences and predictions) it is based on it and dependent on Computing. Depending on the many different approaches we may have Descriptive Statistics, Statistical Inference, Statistical Prediction, Statistical Decision, Official Statistics, Mathematical Statistics, Computational Statistics, Frequentist Statistics and Bayesian Statistics.
The implications of Statistics in anyone’s life are of an extreme extent, given the multiple domains of knowledge where the ideas and methods developed by this interdisciplinary science spread to.
Take modern governance for starters, dependent on the definition of social, economic and cultural policies that demand to know exactly how many we are, how we are and what are the development trends of our population – issues that Statistics can help clarify. It is correct to say that without Statistics there is no proper governance! Reflecting on the various fields of knowledge, one can easily find examples of application of Statistics to Medicine, Pharmacy (Pharmacology), Epidemiology and Public Health, Biology, Agronomy, Ecology, Physical and Human Geography (Demography), Chemistry, Energy, Physics, Engineering (traditional and modern specialties), Economics, Finance (Actuarial Science), Political Science, Sociology, Psychology, and even in Law (Forensic Genetics) and Humanities (Quantitative Linguistics and Literature).
The impact of this branch of knowledge in other fields of knowledge is such that there are many (some recent, others have dozens of years) Statistics applications (alone or together with Mathematics and/or other subjects) among which we name, non-exhaustively: Biostatistics, Biomedical Statistics, Biometrics, Genetics Statistics, Survival Analysis, Pharmacometry, Chemometrics, Statistical Physics, Industrial Statistics, Reliability, Statistical Quality Control, Geostatistics, Environmental Statistics, Econometrics, Financial Statistics, Sociometry, Statistical Polls, Psychometrics and Stylometrics.
It is thus virtually impossible to name an aspect of modern life where statistics, as the science of uncertainty par excellence, may not be present. Therefore it can also be argued that without Statistics there is no consistent development. In an increasingly crucial manner, statistics (now understood as numbers summarizing data) are there to describe real-world situations and to assist the corresponding decision-making within contexts of uncertainty.
A full citizenship cannot but require a consistent combat against statistical illiteracy inside and outside the traditional educational environments. It is not only up to politicians and scientists, but also all citizens, to know to look beyond the apparent strangeness of numbers and find in them – just as Pythagoras - one of the true beauties of the universe.

Technical Details
Date of Issue: 24 May 2013
Values: stamps of 0,36€ and 1,00€.
Souvenir sheet with stamp of 2,00€.
Acknowledgments: Professor Daniel Paulino, Sociedade Portuguesa de Estatística
Designer: João Machado
Printer: INCM
Process: Offset
Size: stamps: 40,0 x 30,6 mm
Souvenir sheet: 125 x 95 mm
Perforation: Cross of Christ 13 x 13
Paper: FSC 110 g./m2
Sheet: with 50 stamps

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Apiculture - Madeira Island

APICULTURE EXPEDITION - Apiaries and the apicultural landscape of Madeira
The agricultural landscape of Madeira is dominated by the terraces or ledges that rise up the slopes from the sea to the mountain range.
The construction of retaining walls to support the terraces and the construction of levadas (water ways) for carrying water, have conditioned the way that the apiaries, beehives and bees integrate the landscape.
The great variety of the natural habitat, in terms of climate and vegetation, has contributed to the emergence of new subspecies or breeds of the Apis mellifera bees, with different characteristics and adapted to the different environmental conditions.
Formerly, the first colonies of Apis mellifera constituted a rustic activity whose main objective, for most of the producers, was to meet their own consumption needs.
Currently, the apicultural activity provides economic gains and contributes to maintaining and preserving the environment.
The beehives are made of wood, usually cryptomeria or pine, harmonizing in perfect tune with their surroundings.
Their conservation is made with a bath of molten paraffin to waterproof and preserve them, or they are painted with bright colours, easily blending in as a typical element of the landscape.
Many cultivated plants, especially fruit trees, depend on insects for pollination.
Sometimes the beehives are placed near the orchards so as to contribute to achieving a more rich and abundant harvest.
The vegetation cover, characteristic of the island, displays a variety of flora that is important for apiculture.
The array of bee flora, made up of native and introduced plants, permeates the landscape with vegetation that extends from the wide coast and valleys along the coastline, up to the strata of the laurel forest.
This diversity and richness of flora in Madeira, along with the absence of serious diseases, contribute to achieve high-quality honey. In its production, the colour and flavour are directly linked to the predominance of the flora used.
While the honey obtained from multi-flora is darker and generally very nutritious, the honey made from single flower species are lighter-coloured and have smoother flavours and aromas.
Just as the bees were important since the dawn of humanity, a symbol of defence and fortune, today too they continue to producing very rich natural foods, being an important contribution to biodiversity.

Technical Details
Date of Issue: 17 May 2013
Values: stamps of 0,36€ 0.70€, 0,80€ and 1,70€.
Souvenir sheet with stamp of 1,70€.
Souvenir sheet with stamp of 1,90€.
Acknowledgments: Direção Regional de Agricultura e Desenvolvimento Rural
Região Autónoma da Madeira
Designer: Elizabete Fonseca
Printer: Cartor
Process: Offset
Size: stamps: 40,0 x 30,6 mm
Souvenor sheet: 125 x 95 mm
Perforation: Cross of Christ 13 x 13
Paper: FSC 110 g./m2
Sheet: with 50 stamps