We Don't Know How Many Americans Are Killed Each Year By The Police

The recent fatal shooting of a black teenager by a police officer in Missouri has prompted media inquiries into the number of people killed by police each year. The FBI says there are around 400 "justifiable police homicides" annually. But a statistical analysis says that figure is likely understated. » 8/20/14 7:40am Yesterday 7:40am

This Summer's Bestselling Book That Everyone Starts And Nobody Finishes

Mathematician Jordan Ellenberg ran some numbers for the Wall Street Journal to determine which of Amazon's most popular e-books people start but never finish. The classic example, apparently, is Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time – but the astrophysicist's rarely-read bestseller was far from this summer's… » 7/06/14 5:00pm 7/06/14 5:00pm

Statistical Proof That Lionel Messi Is the Best Soccer Player On Earth

Over at FiveThirtyEight Sports, Benjamin Morris makes a thoroughly convincing case that Argentina's Lionel Messi is the world's best soccer player. Even if you're not big on sportsball, the statistical rigor in Morris' analysis –and the athletic supremacy revealed thereby – is enough to make any data nerd squee. » 7/03/14 3:30pm 7/03/14 3:30pm

After 15 Years of Study, a New Theory of What Causes Fairy Circles

In Namibia, at the boundaries between grassland and desert, a strange phenomenon has puzzled people for centuries. Mysterious circles of barren land form in the middle of rich, thick grasses. Dubbed "fairy circles," their formation has been attributed to everything from termites to poison gas. Now, a group of… » 5/20/14 8:44am 5/20/14 8:44am