FREAK-est Links

This week, a new study says materialism ruins marriages; Italian PM Berlusconi thinks drugged-up stock traders cause market volatility; a scientist says memory, not practice, matters for success; does impatience make us fat? Russia's coming population crisis; and an $18 million sunken treasure.

From the ‘Wishing It Were True’ Dept.

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know that some of the best posts are written by readers, not by us. For instance, we recently received the following e-mail from Steven Goldstein of New York City: I read your book when it came out. My 12-year-old son saw it lying around last spring […]

The FREAK-est Links

Professor invents book-writing machine. Are toddlers masters of data-mining? (Earlier) Study finds teenage fathers at greater risk of producing unhealthy babies. “Britney” plummets from list of most popular baby names. (Earlier)

The FREAK-est Links

The art and practice of political data mining. (Hat tip: Chris Masse) CalTech scientist works to develop more efficient, less costly fuel cell. (Earlier) Spam made up 90% of e-mails delivered to big companies in November. (Earlier) offers increased options for gift card recipients. (Earlier)

The Making of a First-Grade Data Hound

My son’s first-grade teacher recently held an open house to tell the parents what their kids will be learning this year, and how they’ll be going about it. I have to say, it was pretty impressive. My favorite part had to do with turning the kids into first-grade (if not first-rate) empiricists. The teacher, a […]

Census Fun for Everyone: Zipskinny

Have you all played around with Zipskinny? It’s a site that takes data from the 2000 census and lets you search by ZIP code to see demographic information in your area, and compare it to others: income levels, racial breakdown, unemployment, education level, marital status, etc. It’s pretty basic information, little more than a snapshot, […]

The FREAK-est Links

Terminal cancer patient Randy Pausch fulfills childhood dream of practicing with the Steelers. (Earlier) Music fans, angered by price gouging, sabotage scalpers’ auctions online. More primping before work could mean higher wages. The newest formula in boxing stats: the Tyson Index.

Do Restaurants Blacklist Low-Spending Customers?

I’ve been reading and enjoying Super Crunchers, the new book by Ian Ayres that we excerpted earlier on the blog. One section of the book deals with the data that firms gather on their customers, and how the firms can use that data to address customer habits: Hertz, after analyzing terabytes of sales data, knows […]

Why Are We Eating So Much Shrimp ?

We need your help with a little social experiment. Between 1980 and 2005, the amount of shrimp consumed by Americans nearly tripled, from 1.4 pounds per person to 4.1 pounds per person. Shane Frederick, an M.I.T. management professor, has made a hobby of asking anyone he meets why Americans eat so much more shrimp today […]

Attack of the Super Crunchers: Adventures in Data Mining

Is data taking over the world? Ever wonder how Amazon knows what books you'll like before you do? Melissa Lafsky discusses Yale law professor Ian Ayres' fascinating new book, "Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-By-Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart."