# The creepy Sleeping Beauty experiment changes the odds of a coin flip

Ever heard of the Sleeping Beauty experiment? It's an experiment that, for many reasons, will never be conducted. If it were, we'd have to rethink the way we calculate the odds of a coin flip.

# Watch people around the world being born and dying in real time

Brad Lyon made this amazing statistical simulation of all the births and deaths of the entire world, as they occur in real time. It's fascinating to see how many lives begin and end at any given second. It's also available as a Google Chrome app which allows you to focus on specific countries, too, if you're…

# How a cognitive bias made people think their neighbors were spies

We all have cognitive biases. Most often, these biases stick us with nothing more than bad cellphone service or a little gambling debt. Occasionally, though, they cause us to accuse our neighbors of espionage.

# Yes, there is such a thing as a "unit" of death

Back in 1970, when risk assessment became widely-known, people needed to understand risk — but without getting panicked. Assessors wanted to invent a non-scary term to communicate a very small risk of death. And thus the "micromort" was born.

# The "Will Rogers Phenomenon" lets you save lives by doing nothing

It's not often that you find a public health scenario based on a joke. The Will Rogers phenomenon is responsible for increasing the lifespan for patient groups - without treating a single patient.

# The central limit theorem, explained with bunnies and dragons

Animator Shuyi Chiou and the folks at CreatureCast give an adorable introduction to the central limit theorem – an important concept in probability theory that can reveal normal distributions (i.e. bell curves) across data that does not appear to fit a normal distribution curve.

# Simpson's Paradox "proves" smoking is good for you

How do you prove that smoking is beneficial to your health? By employing Simpson's Paradox, of course. This paradox shows that a large grouping of data can be worth much less than the sum of its parts.

# Huge gender gap in opinions about drone strikes

A new global survey from the Pew foundation has discovered a really weird gender opinion gap. Women are far less approving of drone strikes than men are. Nobody is sure what's causing this divergence of opinion.

# Collectively, scientists love adverbs. Here are the ones they love…

Recently, statistical bioinformatician Neil Saunders decided to look for sentence adverbs in close to 100,000 scientific abstracts. (You know sentence adverbs: "Remarkably, the guinea pigs were wearing armor they had fashioned themselves. Unfortunately, it seems humanity's days are numbered.") This is what he found.

# How long is the average PhD dissertation?

Though page number is obviously far less important than the content and quality of one's work, it is nevertheless very common for PhD candidates to obsess over the length of their theses. How many pages should it be? How long are other people's theses? Short answer: it varies. And by more than you may realize.

# The Most Popular Dog Breeds and Names in NYC, Mapped

Earlier this year, radio station WNYC mined the the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's dog license registration database to produce this map of dog breed popularity. Unsurprisingly, small breeds are popular in the city. Well, except Labs. Nothing stops the American obsession with Labs.

# The difference between geeks and nerds, settled by a geeky infographic

Do you identify as a geek or a nerd? Unsure? Perhaps this helpful datavisualization can be of some assistance.

# The demographic science behind the 92,901 reported deaths in Syria

Today the UN released a chilling and very specific number of people who have died in Syria since violence broke out there in March 2011. 92,901 people are dead as a result of the Assad government crackdown on rebels. To get a number this exact, you need to use science. Call it the demographics of death.

# Watching Hans Rosling explain the world with LEGO is a wonderful thing

Statistician Hans Rosling is about to explain the connection between global population growth, climate change and child mortality, in three minutes. With LEGO.

# This incredible statistic shows why cities are critical to the future

In the United States, large cities contribute 85% of the GDP. That's right — the vast majority of economic productivity comes from cities. And this isn't just true of the US — it's also the case in China and Europe, too.

# A map of state-by-state meth incidents in 2012 — what can we take away?

This is a map of "all meth clandestine laboratory incidents including labs, dumpsites, chem/glass/equipment" in the U.S. in 2012, by state. It was created by the DEA and is freely available on the website of the Department of Justice. Here, in no particular order, are some things we can take away from this map:

# It turns out being a Redshirt is less perilous than you think

A recent still from Star Trek: Into Darkness shows Benedict Cumberbatch surrounded by redshirts. This, we surmised, could only mean one thing. Anyone with a hint of SF-savvy knows that the grisly fate of a Starfleet crew member clad in crimson is as certain as Cumbermouth's tubercle is sharply defined; in the Star Trek

# A software program that could reconstruct the earliest human languages

Languages are like species. They evolve in mostly predictable ways, splitting into new species or dying out over time. Now, a group of linguists and computer scientists in the US and Canada have created a piece of software that can analyze enormous groups of languages to reconstruct what the earliest human languages…

# So... the popularity graph for the name "Bruce" looks just like Batman

This is excellent. Last night a friend sent us this post by redditor TheIndieArmy, who observes that "the popularity graph for the name Bruce looks awfully familiar."

# The Cancer Death Rate is Down 20%

Death rates from cancer have gone down 20% since 1991, according to data in a new study published this month. This does not mean that fewer people are developing cancer, nor does it even mean that fewer people are dying of it — it just means that, year by year, fewer people are dying of the disease. Possible reasons…

# This is where Chicago gets its guns

Gun laws are strict in Chicago. In fact, until 2010, there was an outright ban on handguns. But you wouldn't know it from the number of firearms seized in crimes and unpermitted uses in 2012 (7,400 to New York City's 3,285), to say nothing of the city's staggering gun violence.

# How weather prediction models can be used to forecast flu outbreaks

The complex computer models we use to predict the weather be used to predict illness, too. According to a new paper, these models could help us know weeks in advance just how bad this flu season will be.

# There's a 50-50 chance of another 9/11-sized attack within a decade

As we approach the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack, we can be grateful that nothing like it has happened since. But that doesn't mean that something very much like 9/11 — or even worse — couldn't happen again. In fact, new research suggests that we may be seriously underestimating the risk of another…

# Your piece of the Berlin Wall is not special

It is one of the greatest moments in televised history — excited friends and family members tear through the Berlin Wall, reuniting East and West Germany after decades of separation.

# How To Read Someone's Mind

Impress your friends and terrify your enemies, by pretending to read anyone's mind. It's not as hard as it looks — there are some well-worn tricks that can make you appear telepathic. Screw magicians and their lame fire tricks — we're way more impressed with someone who can guess your favorite movie just by staring…

# 1000 extra suicides blamed on the recession in the UK

Much of the world has been hammered hard by the recession, but a specific two-year period of economic downturn in the UK may be to blame for 1,000 extra suicides. In 2008, the UK had its lowest suicide rate in 20 years, but in 2008 it spiked by 8% for men and 7% for women — and rose again the next year.

# The Pentagon has created a database of every bomb they've dropped since …

For the past six years, the U.S. Air Force has been compiling an exhaustive list of every bomb their planes have dropped since World War I.

# What was the most common phrase in English 500 years ago?

With millions of books scanned and digitized by Google, a new type of linguistic analysis has become possible — as people are able to delve into hundreds of years and millions of books' worth of data. Matjaž Perc of the University of Maribor, Slovenia has crunched the numbers, and analyzed the most commonly used words…

# How Ancient Epics are Just Like Modern Social Networks

It's not every day you run into a publication that uses statistics to argue ancient epics were based on fact, judging by their social networks — yet here we are. "Universal Properties of Mythological Networks" is a newly published article in the journal Europhysics Letters, and researchers Pádraig Mac Carron and Ralph…