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Tag Archives: statistics

AM Statistics

While sitting in the car waiting to give my sister a ride back from a volleyball game, I came up with a new road trip game. There was nothing interesting on the radio stations I usually listen to, so I switched to AM and started scanning. Unsurprisingly, there wasn’t anything interesting on. I heard a [...]


If you’ve paid attention to national political news at any point in the last 18 years, I’m sure you’ve heard variations on the saying ‘safe and legal, but rare,’ when discussing abortion. Beyond the fact that a procedure where fewer than half of the patients survive can never be considered ‘safe,’ how is ‘rare’ defined? [...]

Playing up the numbers

This week I read a USA Today story (from the first screen of Tuesday’s homepage) that made a couple common mistakes. The newspaper’s mistake is basing a story on a press release from an advocacy group, instead of doing an independant story based on the study itself. As frequently happens, the press release commits a [...]

Zipf’s Law

I’ve run across the interesting Zipfian distribution several times recently. Zipf’s law states that for many things, particularly words, the frequency is inversely proportional to the rank of the frequency. So, for example, the most common word is used twice as often as the second most common word, which is used twice as often as [...]

Car lifetime and miles driven

I’ve been doing some research into car fuel economy and how easy it would be to increase the efficiency of cars. Two things I needed to find were how long cars last and how many miles they are driven. I found an interesting Department of Transportation study with equations for this information. Car lifetimes are [...]

Gas prices and world car and bicycle production

[Update 2011-11-28] These statistics are a bit old, but I haven’t been able to locate good numbers that are more up to date. I’d greatly appreciate any pointers to more recent numbers. (This is a re-post from last week. The original post disappeared in the server change.) I saw a graph of car and bicycle [...]