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Statistics

How Silver predictions performed

By way of Rafa Irizarry from Simply Statistics, a plot of Nate Silver's probabilities for Barack Obama winning a state versus the percentage of vote…

A quick lesson on making predictions

Political analyst and statistician Nate Silver has gotten some flack lately for consistently projecting a 70-plus percent chance of a Barack Obama win this election.…

Data on decades of Boy Scout expulsions released

The Los Angeles Times released nearly 5,000 records of allegations from the Boy Scouts of America as a browseable map and searchable list. You can…

The birthday problem explained

How many people does it take for there to be a 50% chance that a pair in the group has the same birthday? Only 23…

Data for good, not bad

I'm so glad there are people like Jake Porway in the world. The founder and executive director of DataKind gives his quick pitch on "using…

Hiring a data scientist

Thomas H. Davenport and D.J. Patil give the rundown on what a data scientist is, what to look for and how to hire them. It's…

Humans predicting the weather

Nate Silver says the weatherman is not a moron. Still, most people take their forecasts for granted. Like a baseball umpire, a weather forecaster rarely…

Analyzing text messages to save lives

Nancy Lublin, CEO of Do Something, gives a five-minute TED talk on the potential in analyzing text messages. During a texting campaign, Do Something…

Poker is a game of skill, not luck

Randal Heeb convinced a New York City judge that poker isn't a game of luck, using a 120-page report full of analysis and charts. Judge…

Twitter vs. Facebook: What people share

Edwin Chen, a data scientist at Twitter, took an in-depth look at what people are more inclined to tweet on Twitter and like on Facebook.…

Network analysis on high school hierarchy of friends

Brian Ball and M. E. J. Newman analyzed friendship data from a high school and junior high, and found a hierarchy similar to the one…

Fox News continues charting excellence

Fox News tried to show the change in the top tax rate if the Bush tax cuts expire, so they showed the rate now and…

From statistics to data science, and vice versa

Carnegie Mellon statistics professor Cosma Shalizi considers the differences and similarities between statistics and data science. If people want to call those who do such…

Computing for data analysis

If you want to learn visualization, you should learn data. To learn data, you should learn statistics. Where to begin? The free analysis courses offered…

How consumers suck at math

Derek Thompson for The Atlantic on how retail uses our numeric biases to their advantage: Now that I've just told you that consumers try to…

Data plural versus data singular

Kevin Drum on data is or data are: Now, I know that lots of people continue to foolishly disagree with me about this, but I'm…

Soda versus pop on Twitter

Edwin Chen, a data scientist at Twitter, explored the geographic differences in language usage of soda, pop, and coke. We've seen this before, so it…

Mitt Romney pseudo-venn diagram, used incorrectly

The Mitt Romney campaign put this venn diagram up a few days ago, aiming to show the "promise gap." On the left is an Obama…

How long it takes to get pregnant

The odds of getting pregnant after a certain time trying are surprisingly hard to come by. There are statistics here and there, but none provide…

Synchronized Swimming in Data and the Water Metaphor

The flood. The avalanche. The tsunami. Drowning in data. For the past few years, a couple of times a week, there's an article about all…

Analysis of chords used in popular songs

Hooktheory, a system for learning to write music, analyzed 1,300 popular songs for how chords were used. The above shows chords that followed an E…

Why robbing banks for a living is a bad idea

In an article for Significance Magazine, economists Barry Reilly, Neil Rickman and Robert Witt explain why robbing banks stinks as a profession. The return on…