Blog Profile / The Numbers Guy


URL :http://blogs.wsj.com/numbersguy/
Filed Under:Academics / Mathematics
Posts on Regator:496
Posts / Week:1.3
Archived Since:December 12, 2008

Blog Post Archive

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.

Numbers in the News: -1.6%, -1.7%

After a rout in overseas markets lifted the curtain on the U.S. trading day, investors sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 1.6%, the biggest year-opening loss since 2008. But it may not mean much. And New York City announced that major crimes fell 1.7% to a new low last year. But the devil is in the details.

Happy New Year, With a Leap

Happy New Year, Numbers fans, may it be filled with health, prosperity and peace. If nothing else, at least we've survived the perils of New Year's Day and we've got an extra day to work on our goals this year.

Behind The Numbers: Going Viral

?Microbes living in and on the human body outnumber human cells 10 to 1. The microscopic bacteria inhabit the surface of the skin, nestle deep in i?t?s layers, and swim in our saliva.? ?But the largest number colonize our gut.

Behind The Numbers: The Importance of ‘Check Digits’

Credit-card numbers, International Standard Book Numbers, bank routing numbers, Universal Product Codes, Cusip numbers used to identify financial instruments, plus many other items all include a calculated “check digit” that allows the numbers to be automatically validated by a computer.

Behind The Numbers: Weighing In

When it comes to commercial poultry and livestock, bigger appears to be better.

Behind The Numbers: Old Denali Measurement Still Measures Up

What may be most remarkable about the new measurement of Denali, taken this summer using modern tools, isn’t that it’s different. It’s how remarkably similar it is to the original taken in 1953.

October Jobs Report – The Numbers

Friday's job report appears to be the best so far for 2015, marked by brisk hiring, falling unemployment and rising wages. Here are the highlights.

Reader Mailbag: Oops and Yellow Alternatives

The Numbers readers write in on an error on our recent column on yellow-light timing, and with suggestions on how to ameliorate the issues that surround inconsistent timing and motorists' decisions on whether to stop or go.

Behind The Numbers: They Were All Yellow

A driver who can neither stop for a red light without jamming on the brakes nor clear the intersection without putting the pedal to the metal has hit the dilemma zone. The solution is a properly timed yellow light.

Behind The Numbers: Predicting Consumer Behavior

“Once we understand the factors affecting consumer behavior, we are then able to predict it,” the researchers reported.

World Statistics Day: Stats, Stats, Stats

In honor of the second World Statistics Day--started to promote the importance of data--here are some links and Twitter feeds for some of our favorite statistical sources.  

Behind The Numbers: Crowd Counts

When a crowd gathers for an event, the thickest part of the group typically presses forward toward the main stage, and from there the density of the crowd may appear uniform throughout. That’s rarely the case, and the skewed perception may lead to inaccurate estimates of the size of the turnout.

Why Social Security Checks Likely Won’t See a Big Increase in 2017, Either

Falling consumer prices over the past year means Social Security recipients won’t see a cost-of-living increase in January. And that decline will hold back any potential 2017 increase as well, even if inflation accelerates.

Behind The (Lottery) Numbers: Randomness

When Julie Leach of Three Rivers, Mich., won $310.5 million in the Powerball lottery late last month, it was with a $20 “easy pick” selection that included 10 different computer-generated number combinations. Many players pick lucky numbers or those with personal significance, increasing the chances of sharing prizes. Ms. Leach was the sole winner in this case.

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