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Preview: WSJ.com: The Numbers Guy

WSJ.com: The Numbers Guy



The Numbers Guy



Last Build Date: Sun, 25 Sep 2016 01:04:26 EDT

Copyright: copyright © 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
 



And the Survey Says...

Thu, 19 Jun 2008 23:34:00 EDT

The "Family Feud" is one of the few neutral parties measuring what Americans think when they're not thinking about politics. Its surveys are designed with rigor, but pollsters aren't entirely won over by the methodology.(image)



Counting the Centenarians

Thu, 10 Apr 2008 22:40:00 EDT

Reaching 100 years of age is a milestone celebrated in local newspapers, on the "Today" show and in greeting cards from the White House. But counting how many people are celebrating these birthdays is tricky. (Discuss)(image)



Web Use in China, U.S. Is Tough to Measure

Mon, 31 Mar 2008 20:46:00 EDT

The news that China recently surpassed the U.S. in Web users garnered a lot of attention, but the U.S. actually is still ahead by some counts. (Discuss)(image)



Can You Read as Well As a Fifth-Grader? Check the Formula

Sun, 16 Mar 2008 21:30:00 EDT

The readability formula used by Microsoft Word purports to represent the text's appropriate grade level. But its results are questionable. (Forum)(image)



Election Handicappers Use Risky Tool

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 21:25:00 EST

Web sites mash up polling data in political races to smooth out aberrant results, but the polls themselves are often too different from each other to deserve equal weight.(image)



Counting Repeat Sex Offenders

Thu, 24 Jan 2008 23:38:00 EST

Conventional wisdom says people released after serving time for sex crimes are likely to strike again. The numbers aren't as certain.(image)



How Much Water Goes Into a Burger?

Thu, 10 Jan 2008 21:51:00 EST

A fast-food quarter-pounder requires 1,300 gallons of water to produce, but a loaf of bread uses up 150 gallons. The message, which supports calls to eat less meat, is broadly correct, but the number itself is disputed.(image)



Coming Soon: 'The Number 24'

Mon, 26 Feb 2007 00:33:00 EST

"The Number 23," a new thriller starring Jim Carrey, shows how just about any number can appear to have eerie properties if you look hard enough. Such as the number 24. Plus, join a discussion.(image)



Farm Group Sows Questionable Stat

Thu, 15 Feb 2007 08:44:00 EST

A trade group for farmers is promoting a holiday aimed at "celebrating the continued affordability of food." But the group uses some murky math to crunch the numbers on how much Americans spend on food. Plus, join a discussion.(image)



Nielsen's New College Numbers

Fri, 09 Feb 2007 23:22:00 EST

Nielsen is expanding its TV ratings to include college students living in dorms, a group that had previously been excluded from the research firm's numbers. The students are already having a huge impact on ratings for some shows, but national stats are being based on a survey of just 130 viewers. Plus, join a discussion.(image)



Coke's Contest Takes Time (and Soda)

Wed, 31 Jan 2007 21:16:00 EST

A promotion from Coke offers big-screen TVs, expensive trips and other prizes to loyal Coke drinkers. But to obtain the loot, customers need to jump through a lot of hoops. Claiming some of the biggest prizes could require you to drink thousands of bottles of soda, and repeatedly visit a Web site over several months. Plus, join a discussion.(image)



Winning a Longer Life

Mon, 29 Jan 2007 16:45:00 EST

Can winning a Nobel Prize or Oscar really add years to your life? Carl Bialik examines scientific studies that purport to measure the effect of status on longevity. Plus, join a discussion.(image)



Another Look at Murder Stats

Sun, 21 Jan 2007 23:30:00 EST

Murder stats are making headlines around the country, as cities publish their 2006 figures. But those numbers may not be the best gauge of violent crime, or a city's safety. Here's a look at two theories from criminologists that question the way the numbers are used. Plus, join a discussion with Carl Bialik.(image)



Rethinking Mileage Estimates

Thu, 11 Jan 2007 21:04:00 EST

Later this year, car shoppers will see a drop in the fuel-economy estimates posted on new cars. The EPA is recalculating the numbers in an effort to better capture real-world conditions -- an update critics say is long overdue. Plus, join a discussion with Carl Bialik.(image)



Counting Internet Users

Fri, 05 Jan 2007 10:36:00 EST

The Internet and all its high-tech tracking tools should make it easier to count Web searchers, video viewers and videogame players. But different methodologies and a lack of data transparency can lead to some dubious stats. Plus, join a discussion with Carl Bialik.(image)



Forrester's Controversial iTunes Report

Thu, 21 Dec 2006 15:11:00 EST

A research report suggesting a steep drop in sales at Apple's iTunes store rattled investors. It also prompted reports that painted a rosy picture of iTunes. The uncertainty shows what happens when different people measure different numbers, using widely varying methods. Plus, join a discussion with Carl Bialik.(image)



Internet Video Stars Are Hard to Count

Thu, 21 Dec 2006 09:03:00 EST

Was the Internet video of the teenage boy pretending to wield a "Star Wars" lightsaber really viewed 900 million times? A closer look at a marketing firm's ranking of the most-watched Web clips finds more science fiction than math. Plus, join a discussion with Carl Bialik.(image)



The Numbers Behind Pfizer's Decision

Wed, 06 Dec 2006 16:52:00 EST

Pfizer abandoned a potentially blockbuster cholesterol drug after some patients died during clinical trials. The number of deaths wasn't much bigger than the number of people in a control group who also died. But a closer look shows how small differences can have big impacts in medical trials. Plus, join a discussion.(image)



How Many Kids Have Autism?

Fri, 01 Dec 2006 00:02:00 EST

A number of media reports and public-awareness campaigns have reported that one in 166 U.S. children has autism. But the number doesn't tell the whole story. Plus, join a discussion.(image)



Grading the Pollsters

Sun, 19 Nov 2006 21:34:00 EST

Pollsters earned overall high marks in last week's elections, accurately predicting the broad Democrat victory. Some did better than others, and firms haven't hesitated to trumpet their results. Carl Bialik looks at the difficulties in evaluating polls, and crunches his own report card. Plus, join a discussion.(image)



McDonald's Big Prize Has Long Odds

Wed, 08 Nov 2006 22:06:00 EST

McDonald's has upped the stakes in its heavily promoted Monopoly contest by increasing the grand prize to $5 million, but players are more likely to win the multistate Powerball lottery than collect the four winning game pieces.(image)