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Our Phony Economy.

Our Phony Economy. [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Aug 12, 2008 - 102 comments

Government spending and tax levels

Want to know how government spending and taxation levels have gone up or down over the last 20 years, and how they compare with other countries? The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has a handy set of tables (Excel, HTML-ized by Google): total spending, total revenues, fiscal surplus or deficit (Norway's surplus is 17% of GDP). Part of the statistical tables for the semi-annual OECD Outlook.
posted by russilwvong on May 30, 2008 - 6 comments

Are US Inflation and Employment Underestimated?

"Hard Numbers: The Economy is Worse than You Know" [full article for Harper's subscribers, a different abridged version] discusses how the Consumer Price Index and other US economic statistics have been manipulated over time. Among other things, the article claims, these changes make Social Security checks 70% lower than they would otherwise be. [more inside]
posted by salvia on May 5, 2008 - 73 comments

If it ain't a mess, it'll do till the mess gets here

Statistics compiled by State Senator Eliot Shapleigh in the state's annual ranking, entitled "Texas on the Brink" report dreary news in just about all categories used to characterize standards of living, from education to health to enfranchisement. [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 15, 2008 - 15 comments

US Presidential Greatness as a Function of Experience

Is an Experienced President a Good President?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Mar 10, 2008 - 92 comments

Put away your asterisks

Steroids, "Other Drugs," and Baseball: a Voice of Scepticism on the Impact of Steroids on Major League Baseball. Eric Walker suggests a "juiced" ball made much more of an effect than PEDs.
posted by mrgrimm on Jan 28, 2008 - 32 comments

95% of gaijin demand 70% more pie charts

Election poll fatigue? Diversify your daily dose of stats with What Japan Thinks. Check out Japan's favorite emoticons, thoughts on drinking vinegar, and of course awwcats. [more inside]
posted by soma lkzx on Jan 25, 2008 - 28 comments

Convicted by Statistics?

Dutch nurse Lucia De Berk has had her case reopened 5 years after her conviction for multiple counts of murdering her patients. [more inside]
posted by Jakey on Jan 4, 2008 - 6 comments

US Census Bureau's DataWeb

TheDataWeb - a network of online data libraries on topics including census data, economic data, health data, income and unemployment data, population data, labor data, cancer data, crime and transportation data, family dynamics, vital statistics data
posted by Gyan on Dec 26, 2007 - 10 comments

Animal Planet investigates alcoholism in monkeys

"Significantly, the percentage of monkeys and humans who avoid alcohol is the same." [YouTube]
posted by finite on Dec 10, 2007 - 28 comments

Global Development By The Numbers

The new UN Human Development Report is out. Lots of interesting stuff on climate change. But for me, nothing beats the Human Development Index, a number that means different things to different people.
posted by StrikeTheViol on Nov 28, 2007 - 8 comments

10.8% say, "shove it."

How depressing is your job? The Office of Applied Studies, a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, released a report ranking various occupations in order of the number of depressive episodes experienced by workers. "Personal Care & Service" occupations (defined by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics here) top the list. One wonders if these are the occupations contributing to the growth of the so-called "service economy," and if so, are we heading for a deepening national malaise?
posted by univac on Oct 13, 2007 - 51 comments

The Price of Fame

Brad Laidman critiques the findings from the Centre For Public Health at Liverpool John Moore University report [pdf] 'Elvis to Eminem: quantifying the price of fame through early mortality of European and North American rock and pop stars.' [more inside]
posted by tellurian on Sep 14, 2007 - 25 comments

Is There Such a Thing as Sexual Honesty?

National Center for Health Statistics says the median for heterosexual men is seven partners and for heterosexual women it’s four, and isn't that just plain BS? The New York Times has looked at the NCHS study and found The Myth, the Math, the Sex while Salon explained that Chaste women + promiscuous men = impossible. Now Janet W. Hardy, the author of The Ethical Slut, reminds us either men are rounding up or women are rounding down. Then she does something radical by admitting that she has honestly, depending on your definition, perhaps hundreds of lovers. Is either gender ready to be honest about sex? For instance, do hookers or blackout sex even count?
posted by PeteNicely on Aug 17, 2007 - 83 comments

Baseball Stat of the Day Blog

What's the fewest number of pitches pitched in a complete game? How many times has a relieving pitcher been awarded a win without even facing a batter? How many different pitchers has Julio Franco faced? What's the greatest number of hits in a game where all of them are home runs? Who's hit the most grand slams in the ninth or extra innings? These questions and many (many) more at Baseball-reference.com's fantastic Stat of the Day blog.
posted by Plutor on Aug 2, 2007 - 34 comments

The fingers you have used to dial are too fat. To obtain a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad with your palm now.

The progression of obesity in America (where one's BMI is greater than 30) from 1985 to 2005.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jul 28, 2007 - 108 comments

NBA Player-Season Map

Completely amazing graph of every NBA player for every season in which he played at least five minutes since 1979. Points Per Game are on the Y-Axis, sum total of every other stat on the X-axis, with the data points colored with RGB depending on the player's statistical tendencies during that season. Full explanation of methodology here. Gigantic monitor recommended. Via the always excellent TrueHoop.
posted by Kwine on Jul 12, 2007 - 20 comments

The Leaden Echo and The Golden Echo - Early Childhood Lead Exposure and Criminal Activity Later In Life

...Although crime did fall dramatically in New York during Giuliani's tenure, a broad range of scientific research has emerged in recent years to show that the mayor deserves only a fraction of the credit that he claims. The most compelling information has come from an economist in Fairfax who has argued in a series of little-noticed papers that the "New York miracle" was caused by local and federal efforts decades earlier to reduce lead poisoning. The theory offered by the economist, Rick Nevin, is that lead poisoning accounts for much of the variation in violent crime in the United States. It offers a unifying new neurochemical theory for fluctuations in the crime rate, and it is based on studies linking children's exposure to lead with violent behavior later in their lives. What makes Nevin's work persuasive is that he has shown an identical, decades-long association between lead poisoning and crime rates in nine countries...
Research Links Lead Exposure, Criminal Activity
Research Links Childhood Lead Exposure to Changes in Violent Crime Rates Throughout the 20th Century    (PDF)
posted by y2karl on Jul 8, 2007 - 56 comments

Closer to the heart

"In 2003, Americans spent an estimated US$5,635 per capita on health care, while Canadians spent US$3,003... Canada’s single-payer system, which relies on not-for-profit delivery, achieves health outcomes that are at least equal to those in the United States at two-thirds the cost." What do wealthy, educated Americans living in Canada think?
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jul 3, 2007 - 137 comments

How many abortions o'clock is it?

World Clock SWF application showing the time of day expressed in actual time, the number of species passed into extinction, barrels of oil produced, the temperature of the earth, prison population, world population, and deaths by various causes. Because, y'know, you weren't depressed enough already. Site also offers a number of free games, calculators and applications for your own site.
posted by psmealey on Jun 30, 2007 - 36 comments

Church Locking in England

Church Locking: shattering the myth that "all churches are locked". With the aim of visiting every church in England and recording whether it is kept locked or unlocked, this ten-year-old 'side project' now has statistics by county and diocese, county maps, and a map of the country showing their progress.
posted by chrismear on May 16, 2007 - 29 comments

121 pints of tears on the wall, 121 pints of tears...

"The average person will eat over 10,000 bars of chocolate, shed 121 pints of tears and have sex more than 4,200 times". A documentary airing tonight in the UK is attempting a new method of visualizing statistics related to an individual's impact on the environment. Human Footprint is scheduled to air on Channel 4 at 9PM GMT. There is a "calculator" you can use to get the statistics adjusted for your age (and give you a little more data behind the statistics if you can sit through a page by page flash demo).
posted by notmtwain on Apr 25, 2007 - 29 comments

congress ordered study on abstinence programs backfires

Mathematica Policy Research Inc. released the findings of their study on government funded abstinence programs. The results? Not so great for the abstinence programs, or the federal & state governments which combined spend $80+ million funding the programs. The major findings were that the abstinence programs they studied had no correlation with a decreased level of sexual activity in the population of teens they surveyed. Interestingly, one of the programs they studied was a voluntary after school program consisting of daily 2.5 hour sessions with enrollment beginning at grade 3 and continuing into the 8th grade, and even that program didn't produce a significantly higher number of abstinent teens. The study was ordered by Congress. You can read the full study here (pdf, 164 pages.)
posted by nerdcore on Apr 13, 2007 - 61 comments

The Number

Whatever one's opinion of its possible limitations, the 2006 Iraq mortality survey produced epidemiological evidence that coalition forces have failed to protect Iraqi civilians... If, for the sake of argument, the study is wrong and the number of Iraqi deaths is less than half the infamous figure, is it acceptable that "only" 300,000 have died? Last November, with no explanation, the Iraqi Ministry of Health suddenly began citing 150,000 dead, five times its previous estimate. Is that amount of death acceptable? In January, the United Nations reported that more than 34,000 Iraqis were killed violently in the last year alone. Is that acceptable?
Regarding The Number, the result of what one of the study's authors calls an episode more deadly than the Rwandan genocide... [more within]
posted by y2karl on Mar 7, 2007 - 44 comments

The decline of rape aka feel free to walk on my lawn

The three-decade decline in teenage and young-adult rape accompanies huge drops in all crimes -- murder, assault, drug abuse and property -- committed by youth... Women's rapidly rising status and economic independence in the larger society fostered new attitudes and laws that rejected violence against women. That younger people growing up in this environment of greater gender equality should show the biggest decreases in rape, while older generations lag behind, is consistent with this explanation... Over the last 30 years, rape arrest rates have fallen by 80% among Californians under age 15, much larger than the 25% drop among residents age 40 and older.
The decline of rape
So, kids today are different.
posted by y2karl on Feb 22, 2007 - 93 comments

US Energy Flows

Lawrence Livermore National Lab produces fascinating charts of energy flow in the US (more). More energy use statisitics can be found at the Energy Information Administration.
posted by pombe on Feb 16, 2007 - 30 comments

odds of dying

Odds of dying This might not be all that useful in Vegas, but still not bad to know.
posted by konolia on Feb 12, 2007 - 54 comments

Lies, damn lies and just plain making things upñ

The meeting's in 5 minutes, and your boss asked you to find a statistic online to prove a point. Like that the tobacco consumption in Brazil is decreasing, or that most seniors prefer cats to dogs. Whatever it is, we're now here to help you create valid-looking statistics in an instant! via
posted by signal on Dec 29, 2006 - 26 comments

Numbers Give Me A Geek Woody

US Census Bureau Facts & Figures: Holiday Edition says that more than 20 billion letters, packages and cards will be delivered this holiday season and 12 million packages a day through to Christmas Eve. Also check out the Special Edition for comparison data from 1915, 1967 and 2006, the African-American History Month Facts & Features and more data going back to 2000.
posted by fenriq on Dec 15, 2006 - 4 comments

Money, Derek Jeter, Nail Clippings & Apple Pie: Harvard's WorklifeWizard

The Harvard University Worklife Wizard, created by an international team of journalists, economists, and statisticians, is Barbara Ehrenreich's wet dream. It's also a fantastic resource that has flown pretty much under everyone's radar. The Worklife Survey drives the constantly-revised, constantly-refined Salary Comparison Tool, which is always hungry for more data about employment from around the world. And when they say they want data from everyone, they mean it-- there's even a VIP Salary Checker that pits the wages of the Yankees against those of the Red Sox. (Plus if you take the survey, you can apparently earn a chance to win a trip to South Africa). Personally, I love the Workplace Horror Stories (and there's a competition there too). I can't look at a nail clipper the same way now.
posted by yellowcandy on Nov 20, 2006 - 26 comments

Baseball win probabilities based on game situation

Baseball nerd fun: Type in which team's at bat, how many outs, which inning, how many on base, and the Win Expectancy Finder will spit out the likelihood the team wins, based on actual game data from the periods 2000-2004, 1991-1998, and 1979-1990.
posted by ibmcginty on Oct 26, 2006 - 12 comments

Iraqi Death Rate May Top Our Civil War: Deaths in Iraq: How Many, and Why It Matters

...Would it surprise you to learn that if the Johns Hopkins estimates of 400,000 to 800,000 deaths are correct -- and many experts in the survey field seem to suggest they probably are -- that the supposedly not-yet-civil-war in Iraq has already cost more lives, per capita, than our own Civil War (one in 40 of all Iraqis alive in 2003) ? And that these losses are comparable to what some European nations suffered in World War II ? You'd never know it from mainstream press coverage in the U.S. "Everybody knows the boat is leaking, everybody knows the captain lied," Leonard Cohen once sang. The question the new study raises: How many will go down with the ship, and will the press finally hold the captain fully accountable ?
Iraqi Death Rate May Top Our Civil War -- But Will the Press Confirm It ?
See also Debating the Body Count in Iraq
See also Deaths in Iraq: how many, and why it matters
See also The Science of Counting the Dead
See also How the Media Covered The Lancet’s Iraqi Casualty Study
See also More deadly than Saddam
posted by y2karl on Oct 19, 2006 - 80 comments

Uh oh, fifteen minutes to Judge Wapner.

Does television cause autism? A statistical study by two professors at Cornell appears to find a correlation between autism and toddlers watching television.
posted by winston on Oct 16, 2006 - 72 comments

This is a way nerdy analysis of the cost of shopping at drugstores vs. Wal-Mart vs. the gas required to get to them.

Now this is what you call an alpha nerd. I remember this guy from his inspiringly, excruciatingly detailed analysis of various routes he took into work, collecting data over a year.
posted by Mr. Gunn on Sep 21, 2006 - 36 comments

Mapping wireless technology at MIT

iSPOTS is a project that maps the dynamics of the wireless network on the MIT Campus in real-time. The Intensities map is very nice indeed.
posted by tellurian on Jul 19, 2006 - 7 comments

The World

The World: processed, metered, distorted, littered with icons, or just floating there in front of you. [java, flash, all that jazz]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken on Jul 17, 2006 - 16 comments

They bought football, Carruthers, so let's see how they like CRICKET

Cricinfo. The most extraordinary database and news site of the game of cricket, with records going back over 200 years. [much more inside]
posted by athenian on Jul 14, 2006 - 17 comments

Murder Ink

Murders this week: 4; Murders this year: 105 The Baltimore City Paper tracks murders in Charm City week to week. (Check the archive on the right of the page for previous weeks.) Of course, in a city where the most popular underground video is called "Stop Fucking Snitching, Vol. 1," the murder rate can be tough to control.
posted by OmieWise on Jun 2, 2006 - 76 comments

Take Me Out to the Ballgame...(Go Go Sox)

In case you forgot here's the lineup for the St. Louis Wolves: 1b:Who; 2b:What; 3b:I Don't Know; ss:I Don't Give a Damn; lf:Why; cf:Because; rf:Yesterday; p:Tomorrrow; c:Today
posted by ?! on Apr 3, 2006 - 38 comments

Unpacking those govt numbers

"Real unemployment right now -- figured the way that the average person thinks of unemployment, meaning figured the way it was estimated back during the Great Depression -- is running about 12%. Real CPI right now is running at about 8%. And the real GDP probably is in contraction." Bill Fleckenstein, writing at MSN Money, provides a summary of an interview with economist John Williams on government number crunching. The full interview, with Kate Welling can be found here (PDF link) . More from John Williams at Shadow Stats.
posted by Zinger on Mar 8, 2006 - 64 comments

Information is not knowledge.

Privacy? No thanks.
posted by I Love Tacos on Feb 2, 2006 - 12 comments

Google: Web Authoring Statistics from 10^9 pages.

Web Authoring Statistics from Google. An analysis of a sample of slightly over a billion documents, extracting information about popular class names, elements, attributes, and related metadata.
posted by signal on Jan 26, 2006 - 29 comments

Bashful's prostitution survey

Oddly obsessive statistical analysis of the rates paid by customers of legal Nevada prostitutes, broken down by sex act, attractiveness, body type and presence or absence of a jacuzzi, among other topics. [via Cynical-C, who swears he found it by accident]
posted by mediareport on Jan 9, 2006 - 32 comments

Probability senses tingling batman!

Experts can suck at predicting the future. Their intuitive sense of probability is no more developed than lay-people's. A classic experiment is to present two indistinguishable choices are presented, but with unequal probability of reward. Humans look for complex patterns, which don't exist, and preform quite poorly. Rats quickly recognize the choice with higher probability, and preform optimally.
posted by jeffburdges on Dec 11, 2005 - 34 comments

All the stats on religion that you'll ever need...

Adherents.com is "a growing collection of over 43,870 adherent statistics and religious geography citations". In plain English, this amazing site contains all the data one could ever want on religion, from the basic (nationally predominant religions by country, largest religious groups in the United States, top 50 countries with the highest proportion of atheists) to the esoteric (a guide to religion in films, authors who have converted to a new religion, religious affiliation of U.S. presidents, famous adherents of various religions (e.g. famous Mennonites)). There's even religious information for geeks, including obsessive articles on the religion of George Lucas, the religious affiliation of comic book characters, and religious affiliation of famous fantasy and science fiction authors (related: Amish in science fiction and Mormonism in science fiction). One could spend days sifting through this site.
posted by jdroth on Sep 29, 2005 - 46 comments

News traffic metrics

Akamai's Net Usage Index tracks the most-read articles on its customers' news sites, rates the current level of news consumption and breaks the traffic down by geography. More info here.
posted by nyterrant on Aug 18, 2005 - 6 comments

who were they? where were they from?

The Iraq Coalition Casualty Count has breakdowns of the casualties of the Iraq War and Occupation, by home city of record, name, branch of service, rank, and cause of death, and other statistics such as ethnicity, as well as a printable list of all fatalities to date. [previously mentioned here,here,here, and here.]
posted by exlotuseater on Aug 10, 2005 - 10 comments

Facts without agendas

The Iraq Index is a statistical compilation of economic, public opinion, and security data. An extensive collection by the Brookings Institue of indicators outlining the security situation, the economy and quality of life, as well as polling and politics data. (One downside is that it is a pdf file). Also from the same source is a comparable compilation for Afghanistan
posted by forforf on Aug 5, 2005 - 2 comments

Incredible -- but true coincidences

Incredible -- but true coincidences are fascinating, and pleasing, to the psyche. I tend to agree with John Littlewood (a University of Cambridge mathematician) that "...in the course of any normal person's life, miracles happen at a rate of roughly one per month." In other words, statistically speaking, unusual coincidences are to be expected in a world teeming with billions of humans. Still, I find such coincidences stangely inspiring. More can be found here.
posted by ember on Jul 7, 2005 - 97 comments

The Complexity of a Controversial Concept

The Logic of Diversity "A new book, The Wisdom of Crowds [..:] by The New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki, has recently popularized the idea that groups can, in some ways, be smarter than their members, which is superficially similar to Page's results. While Surowiecki gives many examples of what one might call collective cognition, where groups out-perform isolated individuals, he really has only one explanation for this phenomenon, based on one of his examples: jelly beans [...] averaging together many independent, unbiased guesses gives a result that is probably closer to the truth than any one guess. While true — it's the central limit theorem of statistics — it's far from being the only way in which diversity can be beneficial in problem solving." (Three-Toed Sloth)
posted by kliuless on Jun 20, 2005 - 6 comments

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