This is statistics more than mathematics but hopefully it will fit in this category. Let me preface this by saying I have no interest in discussing the politics of this or the morality of war - there are other forums for those discussions. :wink:

I am interested in the analysis of this report (you can read the entire thing here). There has been a lot of support as well as criticism of it's conslusions but my ability to analyze the statistics behind it hamper any attempt to support or contradict those conclusions.

It has reported confidence interval of (95% CI 8000–194 000). Is that too broad a range? What does this really mean? I hear a lot of talk about the gaussian curve regading this and probablitly of accuracy. :?

I wonder if the sample size is appropriate to draw the conclusions it draws and if cluster sampling skewed those results.

In short, I wonder a lot about statistics. I have a good engineering and science background but it's been a long time since those college statistics classes. Since the exit polling debacle this week and how often we see statistics in the news, I think it would be great to figure out a way to seperate the wheat from the chaff in these types of reports so I can understand what's really going on. I picked the lancet article since it's recent and so widely reported.

Any statisticians here willing to help me look into this and help me answer my questions?