The Numbers Guy blog

Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials: Catchall Groupings

Generational groupings are attractive to academics who want to measure social and cultural change. They’re coveted by marketers looking to capitalize on evolving consumer tastes.

16.07.15. 20:02

Economists’ Enemy: Residual Seasonality

When seasonally adjusted numbers continue to exhibit the influences of seasonal effects, much as first-quarter readings on gross domestic product have regularly been doing, statisticians refer to it as residual seasonality.

16.07.01. 22:33

How Math Helps Fight Epidemics Like Zika

When an epidemic such as Zika threatens to sweep across the country, public-health...

16.06.03. 19:19

Joe DiMaggio’s Streak (Predictably) Survives

Jackie Bradley Jr.'s bid to supplant Joe DiMaggio atop the Major League Baseball hit-streak list ended at 29 games. That's not surprising as many observers consider Joltin' Joe's streak the most difficult record to break in sports

16.05.27. 20:00

Behind The Numbers: Beating DiMaggio’s Streak From the Armchair

MLB.com really wants to give away $5.6 million. But there’s a catch: To claim the prize...

16.05.13. 19:06

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.

16.05.06. 18:10

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.

16.04.22. 19:11

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.

16.04.15. 18:01

Behind The Numbers: Researching Hailstorms

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

16.04.08. 19:08

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

16.04.04. 19:34

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.

16.04.01. 19:18

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...

16.03.25. 17:25

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

16.03.14. 19:31

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

16.03.14. 17:36

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

16.03.04. 20:01

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.

16.02.29. 19:17

Behind The Numbers: Year of Confusion

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

16.02.26. 19:23

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.

16.02.12. 19:13

Behind The Numbers: Polling Debate

Opinion polls based on probability samples have accurately reflected public sentiment for decades.

16.02.02. 16:39

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

16.01.28. 17:27

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

16.01.15. 19:13

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

16.01.12. 20:17

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.

16.01.08. 20:38

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

16.01.08. 19:14

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.

16.01.05. 16:51

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

16.01.04. 18:10

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

15.12.11. 19:29

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...

15.12.04. 19:02

Behind The Numbers: Weighing In

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

15.11.20. 19:43

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

15.11.06. 18:00

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

15.11.06. 14:45

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

15.11.03. 17:01

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

15.10.30. 18:11

Behind The Numbers: Predicting Consumer Behavior

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

15.10.23. 18:09

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.

15.10.20. 21:40

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.

15.10.16. 19:37

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

15.10.15. 17:31

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.

15.10.09. 17:52

New Report Puts Numbers on Data Scientist Trend

Data scientist - a job that barely existed a decade ago - has become one of the hottest and best-paid professions in the U.S.

15.10.07. 18:28

Behind The Numbers: The Calm After the Storm

Forecasts for a mild Atlantic Ocean hurricane season this year have been borne out so far...

15.09.25. 20:19

Glencore’s Big Moves–By the Numbers

Commodities giant Glencore PLC said Monday it will sell stock, scrap its dividend, suspend some mining operations and sell assets to reduce its net debt amid global market turmoil.

15.09.07. 13:40

Behind The Numbers: Light Reading (and a Quiz)

The human body’s master clock roughly lines up with the 24-hour environmental clock, setting itself according to the body’s exposure to light and darkness.

15.09.04. 19:08

Playing With Numbers: A Fantasy Football Tip

With the first batch of the National Football League's preseason games in the books, it's that time for every armchair general manager to begin assessing the draft, keepers and a strategy for the season.

15.08.19. 19:27

Reader Mailbag: Crime and Employment

Worker advocates who support ban-the-box initiatives aimed at removing questions about criminal history from job applications fear the information will prejudice employers against capable employees who may have run afoul of the law.

15.08.17. 19:34

Behind The Numbers: Some Long Odds

What are the odds

15.08.14. 19:12

Behind The Numbers: Crime Data

According to multiple studies, roughly 1 in 3 American adults has been arrested or taken into police custody for something other than a minor traffic offense.

15.08.07. 17:38

50 Cent Bankruptcy: By The Numbers

50 Cent filed 56 pages of financial information that’s required as part of his bankruptcy case. Find out whether the 40-year-old entertainer, whose real name is Curtis James Jackson III, is really as rich as he claims to be

15.08.04. 16:17

Behind The Numbers: GDP, the Sequel

When the Commerce Department releases its first reading of second-quarter gross domestic product this coming Thursday, there will also be a spate of annual revisions.

15.07.24. 18:57

Pi the Numbers: 22/7

In the day/month format that is used in some parts of the world, 22/7 is celebrated in some circles (ahem) as Pi Approximation Day, where 22 divided by 7 yields a quotient that represents pi

15.07.22. 17:27

Behind The Numbers: Baby-Name Data

One reason social scientists and others use U.S. baby names to study cultural trends is simply because the data are readily available

15.07.17. 19:00

Behind The Numbers: a PSA on SPFs

One thing fair-skinned beach lovers should keep in mind is that the surest way to prevent sunburn is to avoid exposure entirely: Seek out shade and wear protective clothing and sunglasses that filter out UV rays

15.07.10. 18:06

June Jobs Report – The Numbers

Jobs, wages, labor-force participation and more

15.07.02. 15:06

Number of the Day: 1

Today's number, 1, comes courtesy of the leap second

15.06.30. 20:29

Train of Thought: Sometimes Numbers Speak for Themselves

Last night in baseball--with home runs galore, a cycle and a run of shutouts seen just five times--was a wonderful reminder that numbers are sometimes just cool for the accomplishment they represent

15.06.17. 16:49

Number of the Day: $1.64 Billion

"Jurassic World" set a box-office record for the best opening weekend of all-time. Even better? The inflation-adjusted returns of "Gone With the Wind" in 1939

15.06.16. 19:54

Behind The Numbers: American Pharoah and 37 Years

By winning horse racing's Triple Crown this past weekend, American Pharoah entered the conversation on where he stands among all-time great thoroughbreds. But ranking American Pharoah is a subjective game

15.06.08. 21:07

Better Bets on American Pharoah?

Wagering on American Pharoah to place (come in second or better) or show (third or...

15.06.05. 19:23

May Jobs Report – The Numbers

Wages, labor-force participation and more

15.06.05. 14:46

Number of the Day: 103,484

Today's number, 103,484, comes courtesy of the word count in General Electric's annual financial report

15.06.02. 18:07

Behind The Numbers: Branch Out, Introverts

The social networks of introverts tend to be smaller than the networks of extroverts, which could affect their careers, according to new research by two Dartmouth professors

15.05.29. 18:00

Big Jackpots, Mega Long Odds and Office Pools

With the Mega Millions lottery jackpot at $233 million for Friday's drawing, workplace office pools are quite likely cropping up like wild mushrooms after a rainfall. At least they have here at Numbers HQ

15.05.28. 16:31

Behind The Numbers: A Busted ‘Time Series’

The Current Population Survey provided reliably comparable data on the number of uninsured Americans--until last year

15.05.22. 20:37

Number of the Day: 5.3 Million

Today's number, 5.3 million youth baseball participants, comes at the expense of our national pastime or, some might say, passed time

15.05.21. 18:00

Time Check: Markets Fret a Leap Second

As The Numbers wrote in January, the leap second is due to make one of its periodic appearances later this year. And markets are jumpy

15.05.19. 16:04

Behind The Numbers: Food for Thought

When it comes to data, the language used to explain is often as important as the numbers. The USDA's estimates of where folks are eating is a prime example

15.05.15. 18:09

Numbers Noise: IP Addresses Near Limit

The U.S. is running out of Internet Protocol addresses. But this doesn't mean the Internet has reached its limit

15.05.13. 18:55

Number of the Day: $179.4 Million

Today's number, $179.4 million, comes courtesy of the auction house Christie's, which on Monday evening sold Picasso's "Women of Algiers (Version O)" to an anonymous telephone bidder

15.05.12. 17:57

Numbers of the Week

Every day this week will be the same forward and backward, if formatted as it is in the U.S. as 5/11/15 (i.e., 51115, 51215, etc)

15.05.11. 21:23

Numbers Game: 2, 3, 4, 5 = 18 (But How?)

Take the numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, use any combination of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and arrive at an answer of 18

15.05.11. 16:31

Behind The Numbers: Scoring on the SAT Score

Professional test-prep courses are time-consuming and expensive, but if they significantly boost a student’s SAT score, they might be worth it for those who can afford the coaching

15.05.01. 19:41

Reader Mailbag: Minding the GAAP

When financial sources report price per earnings ratios, do they use GAAP earnings

15.04.27. 21:12

Train of Thought: C&Coincidence?

Spotting a C&C soda delivery truck--curious coincidence or semi-common occurrence

15.04.24. 20:14

Number of the Day: 5056.06

The Nasdaq Composite Index, after closing at 5048.62 on March 10, 2000, reclaimed that and then some on Thursday

15.04.24. 00:19

Number of the Day: 9, or Maybe 10

In baseball, how many men must come to the plate--9 or 10--for a team to have "batted around"

15.04.21. 17:37

Jobs to Count On: Numeracy Required

When CareerCast.com’s annual rankings of the top 200 careers came out last week, we were chagrined to learn that newspaper reporter came in dead last of the ranked. Sigh

15.04.20. 19:05

Behind The Numbers: The NCAA’s Data-Hungry First Medical Officer

Oliver Luck, the new NCAA executive vice president of regulatory affairs, describes the organization’s first medical officer, Brian Hainline, as an empiricist

15.04.17. 19:24

Reader Mailbag: Baseball vs. Football

Readers of last weekend’s column entertaining the question of which sport is more popular--Major League Baseball or the National Football League--asked an interesting follow-up question: What are the demographics of the fans

15.04.15. 16:50

Numbers in Sports: Football Bankruptcies and Bobby Bonilla

Nearly one in six NFL players files for bankruptcy within a dozen years of retirement, according to new research. Think of them as the anti-Bobby Bonill

15.04.14. 18:18

Number of the Day: $2,815

The Internal Revenue Service and Tax Day bring us today's top number, $2,815, or the average tax refund issued through April 3

15.04.13. 19:21

Behind The Numbers: Why Football Might Be Bettor

Is it possible football owes its popularity to television and gambling

15.04.10. 20:15

Behind the Numbers: Lost Savings

Conventional wisdom holds that eliminating the dollar bill in favor of a dollar coin would save the government billions of dollars

15.04.03. 20:46

March Jobs Report – The Numbers

U.S. employers sharply slowed their hiring in March to the weakest pace in more than a year, the latest sign that the economy stumbled in the early months of 2015

15.04.03. 15:08

Reader Mailbag: Two More Cents on Streaming

Our column last week on royalties in the digital age provoked considerable discussion about music-streaming services and how artists are compensated in the new pay-per-play world. The main takeaway: Musicians need to adapt to survive

15.04.02. 18:46

Number of the Day: 6,441

Today's top number, 6,441, represents the number of foreign adoptions by U.S. parents

15.04.01. 18:43

Behind the Numbers: Song Streaming

Streaming music may be a boon for those interested in knowing exactly how many times their songs are played, and by whom. But managing per-song, per-play transactions isn’t a simple task

15.03.27. 18:03

Number of the Day: $200

Late University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith left $200 to every letter winner who played for him during his 36-year run "to enjoy a dinner out." That's a priceless gesture

15.03.27. 16:04

Number of the Day: $1 Trillion

For the second time this month (at least), a Wall Street analyst has pegged Apple hitting the $1 trillion level in market capitalization. This time it was Cantor Fitzgerald, written up by the crew at Moneybeat. That about covers it

15.03.24. 19:10

Behind the Numbers: Lightning Strikes Thrice (and Then Again)

Most bowlers would be thrilled if the stars aligned just once and they rolled a 300 game.For Hakim Emmanuel of Stoughton, Mass., the stars aligned one Thursday in late February...

15.03.23. 19:32

Behind the Numbers: The Math Behind PCE

When the U.S. Federal Reserve assesses the rate of inflation in the nation, it prefers to use something called the personal consumption expenditures price index. The PCE captures how changing prices influence consumer behavior

15.03.20. 21:14

March Madness and Worker Productivity

The NCAA men's basketball tournament starts this week and with it we get the annual estimate of lost wages paid to distracted and unproductive workers.

15.03.17. 17:30

The Best of Pi Day Poetry

The Numbers on Saturday asked readers to send along their best attempts at a pi-ku in honor of Pi Day. After sifting through scores of submissions, from the silly to the sublime, we're pleased to present our favorite

15.03.16. 18:56

Celebrating Pi Day, With a Pi-Ku

Pi Day--celebrated on 3/14, or the month/date format that coincides with the numerals 3.14 that begin pi--is the celebration of the irrational number that represents the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.

15.03.14. 08:14

Behind the Numbers: Drilling Down on Illegal Immigration

The Center for Migration Studies this month unveiled a new database of illegal immigrants broken down at national, state and sub-state levels.

15.03.13. 19:07

Reader Mailbag: More Food for Thought

Following last weekend’s Numbers column about dietary guidelines, a reader pointed out that the Harvard School of Public Health has a beef with the USDA’s MyPlate icon. So Harvard has created its own icon

15.03.10. 18:59

Behind the Numbers: Where to Find Help Counting Calories

Recommendations for healthy eating are often based on a 2,000-calorie diet, but that figure isn’t appropriate for everyone. Some people need more calories, some need less.

15.03.06. 18:28

Number of the Day: 5000

For the second consecutive day, The Numbers is going back to the Nasdaq 5000 well for its Number of the Day honoree. Congratulations to our first repeat winner

15.03.03. 17:16

Number of the Day: 5000

After rising 328.29 points last month, the Nasdaq Composite Index stands 36.47 points away from the 5000 level last seen in 2000. It took 29 years to hit 5000 the first time.

15.03.02. 16:11

How Much Have Sea Levels Climbed? It’s Hard to Say

This week in The Numbers, our fearless numerical explorer Jo Craven McGinty dives into sea level measurements.Her finding? Sea levels are hard to pin down. Data collection has been inconsistent.

15.02.27. 20:43

Number of the Day: 2/29

Happy birthday, leap day babies! The Numbers, fascinated by all things leap, would never forget. While those fortunate enough to have been born on Feb.

15.02.27. 16:51

Train of Thought: Lost Glove

Walking to the train station this morning in subfreezing weather, The Numbers (emphasis on the numb) learned we'd lost another glove. That's the second incomplete pair we've had this winter. No glove to protect the digits.

15.02.25. 18:38

ZIPP.hu a Facebookon is

Gasztro hirfolyam

Világevő, 16.07.20. 21:12

Jön egy székely és egy magyar külföldről Budapestre...

A vicc folytatása szerencsére az, hogy itt meg is állapodnak, és aztán nagyon egyéni, különleges és főleg laza és mégis magas színvonalú ételeket főznek a megújult Babelben.[...] Bővebben!

Világevő, 16.07.19. 19:33

Szombaton lesz a talán legjobb balatoni program!

Tavaly ott voltam az első Bohém Légyotton, és nem túlzás azt állítani, hogy egy hihetetlenül hangulatos programról van szó, finom borokkal, jó hangulattal, nagyon normális emberekkel egy fantasztikus helyen...

Limara péksége, 16.07.17. 17:43

Amerikai almáspite

A kedvenc pitém. Vaníilia fagyival verhetetlen.A piacon gyönyörű, zöld színű nyári almákat kaptam, talán fontosalmának nevezik, de ebben nem vagyok biztos. Savanykás, az tuti.

Chili és Vanília, 16.07.15. 20:15

Egyben sült csirke nyári céklákkal

Vasárnap délelőtt, lassan ébredezik a város, a Tűzoltó utcai kézműves söröző udvarán azonban már korán reggel nagy az izgalom.

A bűvös szakács, 16.07.05. 09:41

Iskolatáska teszt

Nyakunkon az iskolakezdés. Ilyenkor minden szülőnél felmerül a kérdés, milyen szempontok alapján válasszon iskolaszereket a gyermeknek.

Chili és Vanília, 16.07.04. 09:21

Sütés nélküli sajttorta csatos üvegben

A Nők Lapja mostani számában amerikai ihletésű recepteket találtok tőlem: hamburger tépett sertéshússal, nyári lazacleves csöves kukoricával, ragacsos, csípős csirkeszárny, többek között.

Limara péksége, 16.06.29. 14:19

Ropogós sajtgolyók

Számtalanszor hallom az ismerősöktől, hogy imádom a rántott sajtot, de nem készítek, mert annyira macerás.

ZIPP legfrissebb cikkek