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The global reach of social networks

Social network popularity around the world in 2011 as determined by Google search statistics. [more inside]
posted by OverlappingElvis on Oct 21, 2011 - 22 comments

Wake Me Up When September Ends

After beating the Texas Rangers on Sept. 3, the Boston Red Sox were 84-54. Although half a game behind the Yankees in the American League East, the Red Sox had a nine-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays for the wild card and roughly a 99.6 percent chance of making the playoffs. Fast forward one excruciating month to a dead heat with Tampa coming into tonight's bitter imbroglio. Boston struggles ahead of laughingstock Baltimore by a single run until a rain delay clears the field, leaving them in the surreal position of rooting for the hated Yankees playing down in Florida. They can only watch from the sidelines as the rival Rays, tied with Boston in the pennant race but down 7-0 against New York, roar back to life with six runs in the eighth inning and a tie run on the final pitch at the bottom of the ninth. And then, after blowing two different strikes that would have salvaged the game, Boston loses to Baltimore, completing what is arguably the worst late-breaking collapse in the history of major league baseball.
posted by Rhaomi on Sep 28, 2011 - 196 comments

The Growing American Fertility Divide

Knocked Up & Knocked Down Why America's Widening Fertility Class Divide is a Problem [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Sep 27, 2011 - 89 comments

Watch the bubbles grow

IMF Data Mapper v 3.0 [more inside]
posted by infini on Sep 23, 2011 - 6 comments

Lots. Really, there are lots of photographs.

How many photographs are there?
posted by seanyboy on Sep 21, 2011 - 29 comments

Florence Nightingale's Statistical Diagrams.

Florence Nightingale's Statistical Diagrams. Famous as the mother of modern nursing, she was also an immensely talented applied statistician and visual information artist. These skills were instrumental in persuading 19th century British health authorities to improve hospital hygiene. She originated a graph type now known as “Nightingale's Coxcomb” and used it to dramatic effect. Examples of these graphs were presented in her monograph, “Notes on matters affecting the health, efficiency and hospital administration of the British army” published in 1858. That same year she became the first female fellow of the Statistical Society of London (now Royal Statistical Society). An animation of the coxcombs here. The Nightingale Crimean War coxcombs are considered by some to be one of the three best graphics in history. [more inside]
posted by storybored on Sep 15, 2011 - 30 comments

The bottom of the pyramid

U.S. Poverty Rate, 1 in 6, at Highest Level in Years (NYT) - An additional 2.6 million people slipped below the poverty line in 2010, census officials said, making 46.2 million people in poverty in the United States, the highest number in the 52 years the Census Bureau has been tracking it, said Trudi Renwick, chief of the Poverty Statistic Branch. That represented 15.1 percent of the country. The poverty line in 2010 was at $22,113 for a family of four. (related)
posted by infini on Sep 13, 2011 - 121 comments

F**k Statistics

Statistical analysis of OKCupid profiles exposes some sexually fascinating revelations:

- Herbivores like giving oral more than omnivores
- Twitter users are more likely to masturbate today
- Christians and Atheists are just as likely to claim they have never masturbated
- The correlation between men who prefer gentle sex & use of the word 'boating'

I f**king love statistics [more inside]
posted by 0bvious on Aug 31, 2011 - 75 comments

Experimental type of type

Generative Typografie - experimental programmatic type and infographics (demos and text auf Deutsch)
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 28, 2011 - 6 comments

Rape Reporting During War

"Rape Reporting During War: Why the Numbers Don't Mean What You Think They Do." An article in Foreign Affairs arguing that the incidence of rape during wartime is both understated and overstated, and that these are both serious obstacles to addressing the issue of wartime sexual violence.
posted by John Cohen on Aug 7, 2011 - 19 comments

If you shave off your eyebrows, they will never, ever grow back.

Jason van Gumster has been telling a lie a day since November 8, 2006.
posted by infinitewindow on Aug 2, 2011 - 34 comments

Grifters, unite!

Cash WinFall, or how to turn the lottey into a real moneymaker. In Massachusetts, one state-sponsored lottery has become a game you can't lose....if you know the trick. A tale of math, grinding and grifting in the Boston Globe.
posted by Diablevert on Jul 31, 2011 - 47 comments

What comes after one? Usually four.

A corpus analysis of rock harmony [PDF] - The analyses were encoded using a recursive notation, similar to a context-free grammar, allowing repeating sections to be encoded succinctly. The aggregate data was then subjected to a variety of statistical analyses. We examined the frequency of different chords and chord transitions ... Other results concern the frequency of different root motions, patterns of co-occurrence between chords, and changes in harmonic practice across time. More information, analysis, and explanation here.
posted by Wolfdog on Jul 29, 2011 - 33 comments

Distant Reading, or, the "Science" of Literature

On not reading books. Franco Moretti, author of the controversial Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History, proposes that literary study needs to abandon "close reading" for "distant reading": "understanding literature not by studying particular texts, but by aggregating and analyzing massive amounts of data." He is co-founder of the Stanford Literary Lab, where he and like-minded colleagues have published studies on programming computers to use statistical analysis to identify a novel's genre(PDF) and analyzing plots as networks(PDF). Similar projects are on the way.
posted by Saxon Kane on Jun 26, 2011 - 53 comments

Line by Line

The Street Price of Cocaine, Country to Country The Economist's report is based on data from the UN's recently released World Drug Report.
posted by modernnomad on Jun 24, 2011 - 43 comments

There is no perfect pasta sauce: there are only perfect pasta sauces!

"The mind knows not what the tongue wants." We all take variability and niche markets for granted these days, but back in the 70's and 80's, the American food industry was obsessed with the so-called platonic dish - a perfect and universal way to serve a food. Howard Moskowitz, of prego fame, helped explode the idea in the food industry and beyond. In this TED talk, Malcom Gladwell, tells you all about it and why variability matters a lot. [more inside]
posted by fantodstic on Jun 24, 2011 - 48 comments

Who works for congress?

Although much has been said about the demographic composition of the United States Congress, much less has been said about the thousands of staffers who work behind the scenes, drafting legislation, interacting with constituents, and advising their congressperson. The National Journal has created two infographics that attempt to describe this silent, but influential workforce.
posted by schmod on Jun 20, 2011 - 19 comments

The Cartoon Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything

Larry Gonick is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe (later The Cartoon History of the Modern World), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn-by-way-of-Pogo chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment, and (yes!) Sex. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention, assorted math comics (previously), the Muse magazine mainstay Kokopelli & Co. (featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"), and more. See also these lengthy interview snippets, linked previously. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 6, 2011 - 29 comments

Simulated Language

In the recent MIT symposium "Brains, Minds and Machines," Chomsky criticized the use of purely statistical methods to understand linguistic behavior. Google's Director of Research, Peter Norvig responds. (via) [more inside]
posted by nangar on May 28, 2011 - 95 comments

More statistical hijinks on climate change

“certain styles of research were suggested to be prone to ‘groupthink, reduced creativity and the possibility of less-rigorous reviewing processes.’ Edward Wegman is a professor at George Mason and a distinguished statistician with a long career, a former winner of the ASA's Founders Award. In 2006 he testified before Congress on climate science, sharply criticizing the statistical methodology of Michael Mann's "hockey stick graph," which showed a sharp increase in global temperature in the last part of the 20th century. One section of Wegman's testimony concerned "social network analysis," and suggested that Mann's tightly-knit network of co-authors might have led to insufficiently aggressive peer review. USA Today reports that Wegman's testimony contained a substantial quantity of plagiarized material, and the peer-reviewed article derived from the testimony has been retracted by the journal that published it. John Mashey has compiled an obsessively thorough catalogue of the plagiarized text. (large .pdf.) [more inside]
posted by escabeche on May 21, 2011 - 26 comments

* 162m others not shown

100 years of world cuisine is a statistical exploration of military conflict that is both artistic and disturbing.
posted by anigbrowl on May 15, 2011 - 28 comments

A Typical Jordan Game

Compiling the Absurd Box Scores from Space Jam. Courtesy of The Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective.
The Monstars, behind a vicious defense and a quick-strike transition offense featuring the unprecedented 3-point-line dunk, seize early control and take a 66-18 lead going into the half. Pound (Barkley) and Bupkus (Ewing) are dominant. Things look grim for Jordan, Bugs Bunny and crew.
posted by KevinSkomsvold on May 12, 2011 - 14 comments

Bill James Applies His Science to Serial Killers

Bill James, a pioneer in the field of baseball statistics, has now turned his attention to serial killers and their methods.
posted by reenum on May 5, 2011 - 38 comments

sometimes things go up, sometimes things go down

Go figure: How to succeed in business by doing nothing Article about variability in business and why it is sometimes better to do nothing. "You're a dynamic business leader. Let's say you make widgets - though you might equally make big-budget Hollywood movies. Your widgets, or your movies, vary. Some widgets are perfect, some a tad too long. Some movies make mega-bucks at the box office, some bomb. So what do you do? Well, you're dynamic, so you react, of course. Something must be done. " [SLBBC]
posted by marienbad on Apr 28, 2011 - 16 comments

Is teacher evaluation statistical voodoo?

"Value-added modeling is promoted because it has the right pedigree -- because it is based on "sophisticated mathematics." As a consequence, mathematics that ought to be used to illuminate ends up being used to intimidate." John Ewing, president of Math for America and former executive director of the American Mathematical Society, criticizes the "value-added modeling" approach used as a proxy for teacher quality, most famously in a Los Angeles Times story that called out low-scoring teachers by name. A Brookings Institution paper says value-added modeling is flawed but the best measure we have of teacher value, arguing that the metric's wide fluctuations from year to year are no worse than those of batting averages in baseball. (Though the weakness of that correlation is mostly a BABIP issue.) Can we assign a numerical value to teacher quality? If so, how?
posted by escabeche on Apr 27, 2011 - 62 comments

Papers and More on Data Mining

It has applications in health care, pharmaceuticals, facial recognition, economics/related areas, and of course, much much more. Previously, MeFi discussed controversial homeland security applications, and the nexus between social networking and mobile devices that further contributes to the pool. With plenty to dig into, let's talk Data Mining in more detail. [more inside]
posted by JoeXIII007 on Apr 22, 2011 - 14 comments

Everything you would only do in the privacy of your own home, Jon Kyl prefers to do on a subway car. #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement

Last week during the Senate budget negotiations, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), gave a speech that included the following statement: "If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that’s well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does." That statement is drastically different from the statistics reported by Planned Parenthood, which list 90 percent of its services as preventive in nature, compared with 3 percent that are abortion-related. When asked about this apparent discrepancy, Jon Kyl's office replied that "his remark was not intended to be a factual statement." And that is when things got noisy. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 15, 2011 - 136 comments

A critical moment in statistics

Statistical hypothesis testing with a p-value of less than 0.05 is often used as a gold standard in science, and is required by peer reviewers and journals when stating results. Some statisticians argue that this indicates a cult of significance testing using a frequentist statistical framework that is counterintuitive and misunderstood by many scientists. Biostatisticians have argued that the (over)use of p-vaues come from "the mistaken idea that a single number can capture both the long-run outcomes of an experiment and the evidential meaning of a single result" and identify several other problems with significance testing. XKCD demonstrates how misunderstandings of the nature of the p-value, failure to adjust for multiple comparisons, and the file drawer problem result in likely spurious conclusions being published in the scientific literature and then being distorted further in the popular press. You can simulate a similar situation yourself. John Ioannidis uses problems with significance testing and other statistical concerns to argue, controversially, that "most published research findings are false." Will the use of Bayes factors replace classical hypothesis testing and p-values? Will something else?
posted by grouse on Apr 11, 2011 - 45 comments

More Americans are Surviving Cancer

According to new data released by the CDC yesterday, more Americans are surviving cancer thanks to advances in increased early detection and treatment. CDC analysis shows an unprecedented 20% increase in survival rates between 2001 and 2007, which is nearly a quadruple increase since 1971. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 11, 2011 - 27 comments

There can only be one...billion.

The most typical person on the planet is a 28 year old Chinese man. For now. [more inside]
posted by phunniemee on Mar 4, 2011 - 50 comments

Are you better off today than you were four, no, forty years ago?

The Most Shocking/Depressing/Enraging Interactive Infographic You Will See Today unless you've been in the "top 10%" since 1969. Move the sliders for other interesting/surprising/sad perspectives into parts of the past century.
Disclaimer: "Income Growth" is just one data point of many regarding economic well-being in the USofA, some of which appear elsewhere in non-interactive form elsewhere on the site. Your personal mileage may vary. Remember, if you've done well despite not being in the "top 10%", then somebody else has done worse.
posted by oneswellfoop on Feb 23, 2011 - 176 comments

Sabermetrician in exile

Sabermetrician in Exile. Voros McCracken's radical idea -- that pitchers have very little ability to induce batters to hit into outs, and succeed mostly insofar as they can strike out a lot of hitters and give up few home runs and walks -- has changed the way baseball teams are constructed. (Heard of BABIP? That's him.) Every major league team has employees who rely on McCracken's insights. McCracken, struggling to make his rent in suburban Phoenix, isn't one of them.
posted by escabeche on Feb 12, 2011 - 20 comments

Wrangler

Stanford's Visualization Group has produced a data cleanup web app called Wrangler that works like straight up magic.
posted by chunking express on Feb 4, 2011 - 32 comments

CH-CHUNG

Law and Order conviction rate vs. New York City crime rate
posted by docgonzo on Feb 3, 2011 - 56 comments

So this is why I never win.

Cracking the Scratchie. With cheating and money laundering and statistics, this story seems like it should be about something more exciting than scratch-off lottery tickets. But it isn't.
posted by jacquilynne on Feb 1, 2011 - 92 comments

2 0 1 0 a year in reviews

2 0 1 0 a year in reviews - This visualization renders a browsable, searchable distribution of all 2010 Pitchfork music reviews
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 31, 2011 - 26 comments

predicting civil unrest

Professors' global model forecasts civil unrest against governments - With protests spreading in the Middle East (now Yemen - not on the list) I thought this article and blog on a forecast model predicting "which countries will likely experience an escalation in domestic political violence [within the next five years]" was rather interesting. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 27, 2011 - 42 comments

What is your State the Worst at?

The United States of Shame. Surprisingly, Florida is not the oldest state. Unsurprisingly, Utah uses the most internet porn.
posted by jacquilynne on Jan 24, 2011 - 103 comments

China internet stats - more than 450m users

According to official Chinese stats, make of them what you will, there are now 457 million internet users in China. They are said to include 450m who have broadband, and 303m who use mobile internet. 304m play online games, 140m use online banking, and 63m microblog. These users are estimated to spend an average of 18 hours a week online. As a benchmark, the current US population is estimated at 312m.
posted by philipy on Jan 19, 2011 - 26 comments

Lies, damned lies, and exaggerated significance tests

Apparently They, of "They say..." fame, have been misusing the statistical significance test. So much of what "They say" might not actually be. (via)
posted by cross_impact on Jan 18, 2011 - 51 comments

The Girl's Guide to Having an Abortion

"Nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion.... At least half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy by age 45, and, at current rates, about one-third will have had an abortion." Abortion is one of the most common medical procedures in the U.S., but it can be very difficult to get unbiased information about the procedure. From Jezebel: The Girl's Guide to Having an Abortion.
posted by jokeefe on Jan 16, 2011 - 104 comments

WAR! Huh! Good god, y'all!

Wins-above-replacement, or WAR, is a Sabermetric term of art for baseball player comparison. Fangraphs, one of the go-to sites for baseball nerdlingers, now offers a way to make WAR grids, an amazingly easily comprehended visual display comparing players based on WAR, sortable by team, position and season, with a default topline of player age. [more inside]
posted by klangklangston on Jan 14, 2011 - 54 comments

Data Tools of the Fuuuuture ... fuuture ... future ... uture... ture ... re ...

Dataists give their hopes and dreams for data, data tools and data science in 2011. Already, Google has provided Google Refine (previously) to help clean your datasets. While great visualizations can be created with online tools or by combining R (great posts previously), with ggplot2, GGobi, and even Google Motion Charts With R (already built into Google Spreadsheets). Need data? Needlebase, helps non-programmers scrape, harvest, merge, and data from the web. Or if you’re introspective, Your Flowing Data and Daytum provide tools to measure and chart details of your own life.
posted by stratastar on Jan 11, 2011 - 19 comments

Should have seen this one coming, too.

Following the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology's decision to publish Daryl Bem's writeup of 8 studies (PDF) purporting to show evidence for precognition (previously), researchers from the University of Amsterdam have written a rebuttal (PDF) which finds methodological flaws not only in Bem's research, but in many other published papers in experimental psychology. Could this prove to be psychology's cold fusion moment? [more inside]
posted by yourcelf on Jan 8, 2011 - 21 comments

Win Steve Landsburg's Money

Google is known to ask the following question in job interviews: In a country in which people only want boys every family continues to have children until they have a boy. If they have a girl, they have another child. If they have a boy, they stop. What is the proportion of boys to girls in the country? Think you know the answer? If so, Steve Landsburg may be willing to bet you up to $5000. [more inside]
posted by gsteff on Jan 1, 2011 - 279 comments

Energy=Mass of City squared

A Physicist Solves the City [more inside]
posted by Ndwright on Dec 24, 2010 - 37 comments

How Long is Babby Formed?

"Normal" human pregnancies last 40 weeks, right? Well, no; they can vary quite a bit by the mother's race, age, number of previous children, family history of delivering early or late, home state, work habits, and even the fetus' HLA type. So where does that "40 week" thing come from? Oh, dear. So check out this super-nerdy pregnancy statistics website, from an engineer mom who is collecting data from the public (see the raw data and auto-generated graphs, and read the FAQ about the survey, with more cool graphs). Looking for day-by-day probabilities on when that baby's due? This would be your stats table with daily prediction (adjust dates at top of page as needed). Of course, you could always shut up your constantly inquiring relatives and friends another way.
posted by Asparagirl on Dec 16, 2010 - 45 comments

Where we are. Who we are.

The New York Times presents an interactive map of America's population separated by race, income, and education, according to census data from 2005 to 2009. One dot for every 50 people. (Previously) [more inside]
posted by schmod on Dec 15, 2010 - 80 comments

Never tell me the odds.

Measure-theoretic probability: Why it should be learnt and how to get started. The clickable chart of distribution relationships. Just two of the interesting and informative probability resources I've learned about, along with countless other tidbits of information, from statistician John D. Cook's blog and his probability fact-of-the-day Twitter feed ProbFact. John also has daily tip and fact Twitter feeds for Windows keyboard shortcuts, regular expressions, TeX and LaTeX, algebra and number theory, topology and geometry, real and complex analysis, and beginning tomorrow, computer science and statistics.
posted by grouse on Dec 5, 2010 - 17 comments

BBC - Hans Rosling - The Joy of Stats

Hans Rosling [previously, previously] compares the health and wealth of 200 countries over 200 years in 4 minutes using the best infographic ever. Interactive Flash version here.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Dec 2, 2010 - 36 comments

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