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Suspicious poll distributions

September 25, 2009

I've covered Benford's method for first-digit fraud analysis before, and now Nate Silver has applied a similar method to polling results. He looked at the last digit of various polls (i.e. a 48% McCain, 49% Obama, 3% undecided poll would be recorded as an 8 and a 9) and compiled histograms of their frequencies. Following […]

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Urban mathematics

May 20, 2009

Zipf's law is another mathematical phenomenon not entirely unrelated to Benford's law (in fact, some think that Benford is a special case of Zipf). (Aside, it's funny how after you discuss something, it seems to pop up everywhere - Kahneman and Tversky would have a lot to say on that, I'm sure.) Zipf's law is […]

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Visualizing randomness

May 19, 2009

Daniel Becker's diploma dissertation was on the visualization of randomness - finding concrete ways to map the highly abstract idea of random behaviors and patterns. The resulting portfolio is fascinating, even for someone without a statistical background, in particular for the way in which it lends a semblance of order to these inherently chaotic processes. […]

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A Derivation of Benford's Law or: Roll Your Own Fraud Detector

May 1, 2009

An explanation of Benford's law, which describes how frequently certain first digits should appear.

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