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Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Do power laws imply self-regulation?" by Robert P. Freckleton and William J.Sutherland. Nature, 27September 2001, page 382.

The authors write in response to an article that appeared in the 5 April issueof Nature (pp. 652-3). That article contained data associated with thenumber of patients waiting to see a physician. The authors of that articleshowed that the data obeyed a power law and argued that the data wereself-regulating. Freckleton and Sutherland state that it is too soon to beconvinced of the presence of self-regulation in the data and suggest ways toresolve the question of self-regulation.

--- Mike Breen