Newsletter - September 2004
Contents: 
   

The President’s Corner
Upcoming Annual Meeting
Friday Night Mixer
ASA President-Elect Sheds Light on Phantom Voting at Annual Meeting
Southern Nevada Spring Seminar & Dinner Party
Membership Directory Coming!!!!!
Treasurer's Notes
Chapter Rep's Comments

Dear Nevada ASA Member,
We hope you enjoy the second issue of the NV-ASA Newsletter.

The President’s Corner
  By Debra Stiver, President

Greetings Nevada Members:
I hope you are considering attending the chapter’s upcoming annual meeting,
luncheon and speaking event October 22 and 23 in Las Vegas.  We are happy to
present the new president of the American Statistical Association, Dr. Fritz
Scheuren, as the keynote speaker and round table discussion leader. Dr.
Scheuren is the VP of Statistics at NORC, a survey research arm of the
University of Chicago.  He continues to teach at George Washington University
and is a Fellow of ASA and AAAS and an elected member of the International
Statistical Institute.   Dr. Scheuren has investigated a wide variety of
controversial subjects over his career, including the election vote count
problems that occurred during the 2000 presidential election.  For the 2004
national election, Dr. Scheuren will be studying the effectiveness and
reliability of the newer electronic voting machines, including Nevada’s new
system that was just used in the state’s primary election.  His opinions and
observations promise to provide considerable food for thought and maybe just a
wee bit of controversy.  You can read a preview of his work in his editorial
that appeared in the latest AmStat News.

In last issue’s message, I discussed several important goals that the Nevada
chapter would like to tackle during 2004 and 2005.  Goal number one addresses
the need for increased membership in our chapter in southern Nevada, and
particularly in northern Nevada and the rural areas of the state.   Rural
cities like Elko, Ely, and Fallon provide higher education for Nevada’s
populace through community colleges or satellite campuses of UNR and UNLV.  And
of course, the students that graduate from high schools in the rural areas go
on to become students at our universities and perhaps employed in a variety of
professions that utilize statistical analysis.  The government is a primary
employer in rural areas.  Many of these employees are extensive users of
statistical methodology and analysis.  We need to expand our membership in
these areas and hopefully grow our educational poster.  Eventually, we might be
able to conduct annual meetings and/or expand career day activities in our
rural cities. It is very important, therefore, that word of our upcoming annual
meeting travels throughout the state.

Both the northern Nevada and southern Nevada group held special events in their
prospective areas this past spring.  In the North, a mixer was sponsored by the
chapter in May.  The mixer was held on the UNR campus and provided food and
libations for members.  The main purpose was to introduce members to one
another.  The statewide poster contest that was held during early spring was
very successful, especially for a first-time endeavor.  We expect this program
to grow dramatically in 2005 now that we’ve experienced the learning curve.
Our other major event, Career Day, will take place separately at both ends of
the state during spring, 2005.  We ask that you consider offering your time and
talent as either a sponsor or speaker.  And, of course, we always need hands to
cover the physical work.  Career Day is a great opportunity to introduce high
school and college students to the wide field of statistics.  The events can
only improve with increased chapter member participation.  Look for
announcements in future newsletters and flyers.  Finally, Nevada chapter
representatives participated in presentations at the 2004 national ASA meetings
in Toronto.  We hope to also contribute some information at next year’s annual
meeting in Minneapolis.  The executive board will continue to look to other
chapters and entertain suggestions and advice on worthwhile activities for
chapter members.

Do You Have a Newsworthy Event We Need to Know About?
If you have any suggestions for improving the Nevada chapter, sponsoring or
holding events, or other information, please do not hesitate to contact me at
stiver@unr.edu or 775-784-1124. We’d like to include a “kudos to our members
section” in our newsletters and let everyone know of members’ accomplishments.
Examples include a newly published paper, conference speech, promotions etc.
(or just some good old interesting announcements).  Send them in and help us
grow our chapter!
Sincerely,
Deb Stiver

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Upcoming Annual Meeting
  By Dorothy Wilson, Secretary

We will be having a fall luncheon in conjunction with our 3rd annual meeting,
this October, featuring ASA president-elect Fritz Scheuren.

When:  Saturday, October 23, 2004 from 12:00pm-3:30pm

Where: Marie Callender's, 4785 W. Flamingo, 89103, Las Vegas

Topic:  The Phantom Candidate: The Impact of Voting System Errors on Democracy

Description: Lost, missing, and miscounted votes are referred to as the "Phantom
Candidate".  In the 2000 election, this "Phantom Candidate" had more votes than
all third party candidates combined, including Ralph Nader.  In at least 10
states, the margin of error exceeded the margin of victory, potentially
affecting at least 105 electoral votes.  If the upcoming election is close, we
may again see the margin of error exceed the margin of victory.
Come join us and gain insight to the following intriguing questions:
 * Does our election system have the accuracy to determine a winner when the
votes are close?
 * Could our election be too close to call?
 * What can we do professionally?
 * What steps can be taken to ensure that our leaders are not determined by the
ability of our election systems, but determined by the will of the people?

Cost: Chapter Members - $25
        Non-Chapter Members - $30, including chapter membership -$35
        Students will receive a $10 discount

Please reserve your spot by registering online by Wednesday, October 20th at
http://www.nevada.edu/~nvasa/register.html


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Friday Night Mixer
  By Dorothy Wilson, Secretary

The chapter will also host a Friday night mixer with Fritz Scheuren on October
22nd, where you will have the opportunity to participate in a discussion of
"the phantom candidate" issue and how it relates specifically to Nevada.  More
details including time and location will be coming soon on e-mail.

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ASA President-Elect Sheds Light on Phantom Voting at Annual Meeting
  By Carol Thompson, Program Committee

Dr. Fritz Scheuren is playing a double-header for NV-ASA October 22-23, 2004.
Although the timing fits a discussion of statistics on the World Series, this
is your opportunity to hear perspectives on the question: “Does our election
system have the accuracy to calculate a winner when vote totals are close?”
Dr. Scheuren will kick off the annual meeting at the Friday evening mixer with
an impromptu discussion/panel of “the phantom candidate” issue in the upcoming
election nationally and in Nevada.  As the keynote speaker at the Saturday
luncheon and business meeting, Dr. Scheuren will discuss the impact of voting
system errors on democracy, where efforts and energy need to be focused to
lesson the errors, and what role statisticians can play.  Both events will be
open to members and the public.

Dr. Scheuren is President-Elect for the American Statistical Association (ASA),
and the VP for Statistics at NORC, a survey research arm of the University of
Chicago.  He has been a principal at Ernst and Young, LLP, and before joining
NORC, was a Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute working on welfare reform,
following a long career of public service.

Dr. Scheuren presently focuses as much as possible on human rights activities,
working right now on projects for the Commission on International Religious
Freedom, on Native American Trust Fund issues, and most recently, on
improvements in vote counting for the 2004 presidential election.  He continues
to teach at George Washington University where he set up a graduate certificate
program in survey sampling that he continues to manage. Dr. Scheuren is a
Fellow of ASA and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and
is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute.

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Southern Nevada Spring Seminar & Dinner Party
  By C. L. Cross, Ph.D., NCC, Southern Vice-President

The Southern Nevada region of the Nevada Chapter of the American Statistical
Association hosted a seminar and dinner party on May 4, 2004.  Seventeen
members and guests dined at Marie Callendar’s restaurant and were treated to a
lecture by Dr. Eric Renshaw of the University of Strathclyde entitled: “From
Killer Bees to Saddles and Quantum Optics – A Random Meander through Markov
Populations and Forests.”  Dr. Renshaw provided an introduction to space-time
stochastic processes and stochastic approximation theory.  Specifically he
discussed a predator-prey modeling processes, showed details of a simulation of
a foot-and-mouth disease epidemic in the UK, and showed examples of his ongoing
work using space-time lattice structures and marked point processes. Everyone's
attendance and participation at this event was greatly appreciated.

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Membership Directory Coming!!!!!
  By Carol Thompson, Program Committee

To promote professional contact between members of NV-ASA, we are planning to
put together a membership directory to be used only for this purpose. The first
directory will likely be sent out via email in pdf format in late fall. To
allow members to include only the information they want to share with other
members, an email will be sent from the NV-ASA secretary in late September to
early October to each member with the information currently available.
Adjustments can be made and returned to the secretary. The types information
considered for inclusion in the directory are:
 Name (minimum to be included)
 Company/Affiliation
 Mailing Address (member can choose home or work)
 Phone Number
 Fax Number
 Email Address
 Statistical Interests or Areas of Expertise

Any questions regarding the directory can be directed to Dorothy
Wilson(dwilson@harrahs.com).

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Treasurer's Notes
  By Paul Nakayu, Treasurer

The annual treasurer's report will be presented at the Annual Meeting,
but there are several items related to Chapter finances that we would
like to bring to your attention right away.

NV SALES & USE TAX EXEMPTION
In July the Chapter applied for sales/use tax exemption. The Nevada
Department of Taxation found that as a professional or trade association we do
not qualify for tax exempt status as a religious,
charitable or educational organization as described in NRS 372.3261.
We did not appeal the decision.

PAYPAL CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT
We have received notification of a pending class action settlement
regarding PayPal. We opened a PayPal account in March 2003 and are
thus members of the class entitled to receive a portion of the
settlement payment if it is approved.

In order to receive a cash payment from the settlement, we would need to submit
an online claim form by October 23, 2004, the date of our annual meeting.
As I understand it, we would not be Dispute Resolution Claimants
because we were not directly affected by the issues in the litigation.
Rather, if we choose to participate in the settlement we would be
seeking recovery under the Statutory Damage Fund. That fund would
distribute one million dollars equally among those who make timely,
valid claims.

If anyone has information regarding reasons we might not want to
submit a claim, please contact me directly at nakayu@nevada.edu.
More information on the proposed settlement is available at
        https://www.paypal.com/settlement/

PROPOSED CHANGES TO DUES STRUCTURE
Two changes to the current dues structure are being considered by the
Chapter officers.

The first change involves an increase in dues for Associate chapter members,
those who are not also members of the national ASA. Many
benefits from the national association, including grants for speakers,
traveling courses and career day support, are funded at least in part
from dues paid by ASA members. The argument, then, is that it is in
our best interest to promote membership in the national association,
and that Associate members should be willing to provide some
additional financial support for the Chapter and its programs in lieu
of providing it indirectly through membership in the ASA. In addition,
students who join ASA would receive membership in the Chapter at no
additional cost.

The second change involves an approach to raising money for the Nevada
Statistics Poster Competition prize fund. Rather than solicit Chapter members
directly for donations as was done this past year, members would be asked
whether they wanted a fixed portion of their dues earmarked for the prize fund
when they join and each time they renew their membership. In this way the
membership as a whole will help determine the level of support our Chapter
provides for this annual event, and it will help raise awareness, particularly
among new members, of the importance of this outreach effort. This approach
would be supplemented by fund raising efforts in the community.

Please contact any of the Chapter officers if you have input regarding
these changes. The Chapter officers will notify the Chapter membership of any
changes they wish to recommend two weeks prior to the Annual Meeting. The
changes would then need to be approved by a majority of members voting at the
Annual Meeting.

Paul Nakayu
nakayu@nevada.edu

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Chapter Rep's Comments
  By Hokwon Cho, Chapter Representative

One of the main jobs of the Chapter Representative is to promote the chapter's
interests at the annual meetings of the Council of Chapters (COC) of the ASA
held during JSM.  The other is to submit financial and annual reports on the
activities of the chapter to the Council and the Board of Directors of the ASA.
Happily, I have been doing my job (with the help of the other executive
officers) since August 2002.

This summer, for JSM 2004 (held on Aug. 8-12 in Toronto, Canada), Sandra Catlin,
Chapter Past-President, participated in the Annual meeting on my behalf.
(Thanks, Sandra.)  At the COC Workshop and Reception, she gave a presentation
on the two career days that have been held by our chapter and participated in a
three-person panel discussion.  Presentations were given by the other two panel
members on chapter involvement in local science fairs and the ASA K-12 Poster
Competition. Our chapter was one of just a few chapters recognized by the K-12
Poster Competition speaker.  In February 2004, David Thiel, Education
Committee, helped coordinate our chapter's first participation in this national
competition.

At the COC Business Meeting, the new affiliate chapter status for
Mu Sigma Rho, the national honorary society for statistics students, was
introduced.  The new "affiliate" status makes it easier to start a local
chapter.  ASA Chapters (and hence our members!) were encouraged to look into
this possibility.  It was also suggested that ASA members might consider
becoming involved with judging local science fairs and encouraging a stronger
emphasis on statistics.  For more details about the COC business meeting, you
can visit the web at www.amstat.org and click on "Chapters". COC is planning to
start posting more information (e.g. minutes) on the web for Chapter members.
Thus, much information was gleaned at JSM this year.

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