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102 years on from the sinking of the Titanic, the tragedy that befell the ship, its crew and passengers still has the power to haunt us. A Denver Post blog, published near to the centenary of the disaster, reasoned that the enduring fascination lies in 'a compelling list of "if onlys"' that accompany any discussion of Titanic.
If only Titanic had heeded the ice warnings.
If only ice hadn’t drifted so far south.
If only the lookouts had seen the iceberg sooner (or later).
If only the watertight compartments had extended higher.
If only the ship had enough lifeboats for all.
If only the Californian had come to the rescue.
Writing in the July issue of Significance, Earth systems scientist Grant Bigg and systems engineer Steve Billings assess the data surrounding the second of those 'if onlys' to ask whether Titanic really was unlucky to be sailing in a year of increased ice risk.

Elsewhere in the same issue, Tobias Jolly poses an 'if only' of his own, wondering how many road deaths might be averted if sat navs could be programmed to plan the safest routes, not only the shortest or fastest.

And here's a 'what if' for you: How different might the debate over Scottish independence have been had different choices been made about the collection, analysis and reporting of key data? Ahead of the referendum on 18 September, Jim Cuthbert and Margaret Cuthbert share two examples of how decisions on statistical disclosure and analysis shaped political discussions.

The full contents list for July's magazine can be found here. Print copies are incoming, but if you are a Royal Statistical Society or American Statistical Association member, log in to your respective members' areas to access the digital edition today. Non-member subscribers can access the digital edition here.

July's issue is noteworthy not only for its articles, but for being the last to be edited by Julian Champkin. Regular readers will recognise the dedication Julian has shown over the past nine years to creating a magazine that fascinates, informs and entertains in equal measure, so I'm sure you'll join me in thanking him for making Significance what it is today.

He'll be a hard act to follow, of that I'm sure. But as I set about continuing Julian's work, as well as developing my own plans for the magazine, I'll be looking to you – the readership – to highlight the things you love about the magazine, and the things you don't.

If you have thoughts, feedback and opinions to share, please email me. And if you have an urge to write for the magazine or website, or have an idea for an article you want us to pursue, details on how to get involved with Significance can be found here.

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