Category Archives: statistics

Fast money, slow data

The other day I bought lunch from a food truck on the Harvard campus, paying with a debit card that my server swiped through one of those little plastic doodads attached to an iPhone. Ten minutes later, while I ate … Continue reading

Posted in social science, statistics | 5 Comments


Sifting through the election results last week, I noticed that the precinct where I used to live in Durham, North Carolina, voted 620 to 40 in favor of the Blue candidate in the U.S. Senate race. That’s a margin of … Continue reading

Posted in social science, statistics | 19 Comments

Fly me to the end of the alphabet

When I got to the Raleigh-Durham airport for a flight home last week, I was confronted with the following list of departures—almost half of which were actually nondepartures: I wasn’t surprised by the numerous cancellations and delays (flagged in red). … Continue reading

Posted in computing, statistics, technology | 8 Comments

The Jevons Number

I was doing some reading in the history of cryptography when I came upon a reference to a 1996 article by Solomon W. Golomb. Golomb always has something interesting to say, so I had to go off and find the … Continue reading

Posted in books, computing, mathematics, science, statistics | 14 Comments

Probabilities of probabilities

In simple games, one can calculate the exact probability of every outcome, and so the expected winnings can also be determined exactly…. When I wrote the words above in a recent American Scientist column, I didn’t think I was saying … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics, statistics | 6 Comments