Blog Profile / The Numbers Guy

Filed Under:Academics / Mathematics
Posts on Regator:510
Posts / Week:1.3
Archived Since:December 12, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Behind The Numbers: Beating DiMaggio’s Streak From the Armchair really wants to give away $5.6 million. But there’s a catch: To claim the prize, one needs to participate in Major League Baseball’s Beat the Streak contest and assemble a batting streak that surpasses Joe DiMaggio’s run of 56 consecutive games in 1941. This isn't easy.

Why Some Cicadas Have Reason to Brood: Potential Extinction

?Periodical cicadas live underground for 13 or 17 years before emerging to mate, lay eggs and die off, and today, there are 15 known broods in the U.S. There used to be 16 and the current number may dwindle if the teetering Brood VII goes extinct.

Facetime With Uncle Sam

A number of government surveys are conducted in face-to-face interviews for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, physical material must be collected or the survey is too long and complex to conduct by telephone or mailed questionnaire. The results are some of the richest and most complete survey data available.

Census on Voter Counts: Don’t Use the American Community Survey

The litigants in a recent Supreme Court case suggested using the American Community Survey, an annual sample of 2.5% of U.S. households that asks about citizenship, to estimate the citizen voter-age population. The agency that collects the data disagrees. Show More Summary

Behind The Numbers: Researching Hailstorms

Hailstorm data help meteorologists improve forecasts, insurers assess damages and businesses and citizens minimize exposure.

4/4/16: Square Root Day

Today, apparently, is Square Root Day. And it's rarer than Pi Day, which occurs once a year--or more if you celebrate on Pi Approximation Day.

Behind ‘The’ Numbers: Small Words With Big Meaning

?How do I love “the”? If you ask James W. Pennebaker, the author of “The Secret Life of Pronouns,” the answer is a lot. Mr. Pennebaker is a pioneer in computerized textual analysis who specializes in plucking meaning from the unlikeliest of words: articles (such as “the”), pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, auxiliary verbs, negations and selected adverbs.

Behind The Numbers: VSL in Cost-Benefit Analyses

Government agencies are required to conduct a cost-benefit analysis for every regulation expected to cost $100 million or more in a year, and to help assess the benefits, the agencies often use a device called the value of a statistical life.

Numbers in the News: Pieces of Pi

While today isn't the Super Pi Day of last year, where the date format -- 3-14-15 -- extended the run of digits and encouraged math lovers to get married,we didn't want to let today go pi-less. Hence, a roundup of pi pieces.

Behind The Numbers: Regulating Water Contaminants a Lengthy Process

There are around 100,000 potential drinking-water contaminants, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates only about 90 of them. But even when the agency decides to regulate a contaminant, the process can take years.

Behind The Numbers: Jobs Figures, and a Grain of Salt

As numbers go, the monthly nonfarm payroll report offers some of the most parsed and open-to-interpretation there are.

Leap Day Babies–What Are the Chances?

This past week's Numbers column on leap day included a box of facts that led a reader to write in about the accuracy of one tidbit--that the chance of being born naturally on Feb. 29 is roughly 1 in 1,461. Turns out, there are several schools of thought on the calculation.

Behind The Numbers: Year of Confusion

????By 46 B.C., the calendar had gotten out of hand.

Behind The Numbers: Love and Credit

A trio of researchers examined the credit histories of 12 million U.S. consumers, identified romantic partners and then tracked their unions and breakups over a 15-year period. Their conclusion: people with higher credit scores are more likely to form committed relationships and stay with a partner longer.

Behind The Numbers: Polling Debate

Opinion polls based on probability samples have accurately reflected public sentiment for decades. But declining response rates and the time and expense required to collect the data has spurred interest in a fast and cheap alternative: online polls, which typically rely on nonprobability samples.

Numbers in the News: 361

The number of possible opening moves in Go is 361. In chess, the possible opening moves is 20 (4 knight moves and 16 pawn moves). That disparity grows as the games advance and points up a breakthrough in artificial intelligence.

Behind The Numbers: How to Calculate Odds

?Figuring out the odds of winning the Powerball lottery draws upon a vein of applied mathematics known combinatorics, which deals with ways of arranging and distributing objects.

Numbers in the News: Powerball

Rather than repeating the same spiel on the Powerball, we figured we could point you to some of the writings we've read on lottery fever.

Behind the Numbers: Saudi Aramco Valuation

The potential sale of shares in Saudi Arabia's state owned oil giant raises the question of how valuable the company would be, with estimates of market valuations ranging into the trillions of dollars. Here's a look at Saudi Aramco by the numbers.

Behind The Numbers: An Upset VW Owner

When German auto maker Volkswagen admitted to installing software in some of its diesel cars to cheat on emissions tests, Hendrik Wolff, an environmental economist who moved to the U.S. in 2003, took it personally.

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