bookweevil

8 June 2007

Benford’s law

Filed under: mathematics, trivia — bookweevil @ 1:29 pm

From Wikipedia:

Benford’s law, also called the first-digit law, states that in lists of numbers from many real-life sources of data, the leading digit is 1 almost one third of the time, and larger numbers occur as the leading digit with less and less frequency as they grow in magnitude, to the point that 9 is the first digit less than one time in twenty …

The law can be explained by the fact that, if it is indeed true that the first digits have a particular distribution, it must be independent of the measuring units used. For example, this means that if one converts from e.g. feet to yards (multiplication by a constant), the distribution must be unchanged — it is scale invariant, and the only distribution that fits this is logarithmic.

28 April 2007

the female of the species. Did you know …

Filed under: trivia — bookweevil @ 10:10 am

… the title of this song by Space is taken from a poem by Rudyard Kipling?

Maybe you did, but it was news to me. Lots of bits of Kipling’s writing are still referenced in modern culture: his six honest serving men (“I keep six honest serving-men / (They taught me all I knew); / Their names are What and Why and When / And How and Where and Who”) survive in modern journalism and police work, “If–” is still often-quoted, and the white man’s burden is still referred to.

kipling

Filed under: idiocy, trivia — bookweevil @ 10:07 am

Do you like Kipling? I don’t know, I’ve never kippled.

… earliest recorded usage is probably in a postcard by Donald McGill.

See http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,874525,00.html and http://www.nationalreview.com/derbyshire/derbyshire022103.asp.

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