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Statistics

Why the American Community Survey is worth keeping

Jerzy Wieczorek, a statistician with the U.S. Census Bureau, explains why the American Community Survey is worthwhile. Besides the direct estimates from the ACS itself, the Census Bureau uses ACS…

House votes to cut the American Community Survey

Last month Republicans were pushing a bill to get rid of the American Community Survey, an 11-page questionnaire about housing, education, and other things. Yesterday, a bill passed to cut…

CNN transcript collection, 2000-2012

Thanks to the Internet Archive and CNN, thirteen years of transcripts, about a gigabyte compressed, is available to download as one file. For over a decade, CNN (Cable News Network)…

Common statistical fallacies

I've been reading papers on how people learn statistics (and thoughts on teaching the subject) and came across the frequently-cited work of mathematical psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman. In…

Hans Rosling makes Time 100 Most Influential

It was bound to happen at some point. Doctor and statistician Hans Rosling, best known for his sword-swallowing TED talk, among plenty of other things, made the Time 100 Most…

Why $1m Netflix algorithm never went to production

Five and a half years ago, Netflix offered data and a $1 million prize to improve their recommendation system by at least ten percent. In 2009, a statistics team at…

The Accidental Statistician

George E.P. Box, a statistician known for his body of work in time series analysis and Bayesian inference (and his quotes), recounts how he became a statistician while trying to…

What a Pound of Change is Worth

After seeing his friend's CoinStar receipt for 27 pounds of coins that equalled $256.14, Dan Kozikowski dug deeper and estimated what a pound of change is worth, on average. Now,…

Fear of Big Brother and Government Surveys

Other than ten-year population estimates, the United States Census Bureau annually collects information about how people live in the country through the American Community Survey. It's an eleven-page survey [pdf]…

1940 Census Individual Records Released

The 72-year mark has arrived, and the United States Census released individual records from 1940 yesterday. So you can now, for example, see that J.D. Salinger lived at 1133 Park…

Freakonomics Critique and Rebuttal

Whoa. What did I just read? I think most of you know of Freakonomics, but in case you don't, it started as a book in 2005, by economist Steven Levitt…

New iPad battery size is huge

From Gizmodo, this shows battery size in the new iPad versus that of the iPad 2. The battery in the former is 70 percent bigger than that of the latter.…

Stephen Colbert on Target and predictive analytics

"Target doesn't just know when you're buying sheets. They know what you're doing in between them." [Comedy Central via @alexlundry]…

Companies learn your secrets with data about you

In the 1980s, students and researchers at UCLA, led by marketing professor Alan Andreasen, found some interesting spending patterns when people approach major life events. [W]hen some customers were going…

Jeremy Lin is no fluke

Nate Silver looks at past players who have scored 20 or more points, had 6 or more assists, and shot better than 50 percent in four or more games in…

An action plan for data science, a decade ago

Data science has been covered at length during the past couple of years, and we tend to think of it as a field of study just a couple of years…

Challenges measuring crime worldwide

You would think that something so concrete, carefully recorded by authorities, wouldn't be too tough to tabulate, even if at a large scale. Not so. Homicide is a "serious crime…

Texting on the toilet

I thought this riveting post on the New York Times Bits blog about the rise of the toilet texter deserved a graphic. Since their graphics department is no doubt busy…

More people want to learn statistics

Data is hot right now, so as you would expect, more people are signing up and applying to learn about it. Quentin Hardy for The New York Times reports. At…

The Fixie Bike Index and hipsters

Priceonomics takes the association of fixie bikes to hipsters, and creates the Fixie Bike Index. After starting with New York, they branch out to national numbers. In short, fixed gear…

Social network analysis used to convict slumlords

In working with tenants to help their city attorney convict a group of slumlords, an economic justice organization collected public data on housing violations that were going unfixed. They tried…

Lego mathematics and growing complexity in networks

Legos are the best toys ever invented. That's indisputable fact. So it's no surprise that Mark Changizi et al. at Duke University used the toys in their study of growing…