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Statistics

Monty Hall xkcd

Nice one, xkcd.…

Degrees of separation between athletes from different sports

You've probably heard of the six degrees of Kevin Bacon. The idea is that you can name any actor and trace back to Kevin Bacon through actors who have worked…

Government data shutdown

When you go to the United States Census site, Data.gov, or similar government-run sites, you see this. "Due to the lapse in government funding, census.gov sites, services, and all online…

Consequences of big data exclusions

Big data, in all its glory, promises insights into the soul of humankind. There's a hefty restriction though. Data only tells you about the population and actions of individuals it…

Tracking criminal movements and predicting hot spots

In the latest SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, Chaturapruek, et al. describe modeling criminal movements based on where potential criminals live and areas of interest. Data available on distance between…

A visual explanation of Simpson’s Paradox

When you look for overall trends, you often poke around the data in aggregate, but when you zoom out too far, you could miss details or within-category variation. Sometimes when…

Dialect quiz shows where others talk like you do

North Carolina State statistics graduate student Joshua Katz already mapped dialect across the United States, and now there's a fun addition in quiz form. Answer the 25-question survey (or the…

UK Census at risk

There is a possibility the UK Census is scrapped for cheaper options next year. The census faces its biggest shake-up in its 200-year history under Office for National Statistics proposals.…

Data in the service of humanity

For this rainy Labor Day, here's an uplifting talk by DataKind founder Jake Porway. He talks data and how it can make a worthwhile difference in areas that could use…

The inventor of modern probability

Andrei Kolmogorov is a name unfamiliar to most, but his work had lasting impact. Slava Gerovitch profiled the mathematician, describing the change in thought towards probability theory, which was once…

A master’s degree in statistics is worthwhile

Statistician (and brand new PhD student) Jerzy Wieczorek explains the usefulness of a master's degree in statistics. There's a huge difference between undergraduate Stats 101 (apply a few standard procedures…

Pickle Index for population estimation

As China moves forward with a plan to move 250 million people to cities, officials developed a need to keep track of how many people are still in rural areas.…

Why everyone is more popular than you

Mathematician Hannah Fry is back with another video. She explains why it seems like everyone in your network — on Twitter, Facebook, and in real life — is more popular…

Google search suggestions by country

Google search suggestions have transformed into a never-ending source of entertainment and a candid peek into what people look for in the world. We've seen insecurities change with age and…

Behind the Netflix recommendation system

Wired has a fun Netflix interview on the behind-the-scenes work on the recommendation engine. If you liked 1960s Star Trek, the first non-Trek title that Netflix is likely to suggest…

An analysis after watching a year’s worth of SportsCenter

Patrick Burns for Deadspin watched 23,000 minutes of SportsCenter, keeping track of the specifics of what the show covered over the year, such as what teams, players, and player descriptions.…

Data.gov revamp

After budget cuts a couple of years ago, I assumed Data.gov was all but dead, but apparently there's a new site in the works. The original version of Data.gov was…

Datalandia, the fictional town saved by data

GE has a short video series on a fictional town called Datalandia where machines talk to each other and data is exchanged in a hero-like fashion. "This summer the most…

Predicting riots

Hannah Fry and her group at University College London investigate data from the 2011 London riots and found that the complex activity of rioters is reminiscent of shopping behavior and…

Dictionary of Numbers extension adds context to numbers

We read and hear numbers in the news all the time, but it can be hard to imagine what those numbers mean. For example, big numbers, on the scale of…

Statistics jokes

There's a fun CrossValidated thread on statistics jokes. Here's the one with the top votes: A statistician's wife had twins. He was delighted. He rang the minister who was also…

Beer recommendation system in R

Using data from Beer Advocate, in the form of 1.5 million reviews, yhat shows how to build a recommendation system in R. The goal for our system will be for…