WSJ: Numbers Guy

The Numbers Guy examines numbers in the news, business and politics. Some numbers are flat-out wrong or biased, while others are valid and help us make informed decisions. Carl Bialik tells the stories behind the stats, in daily updates on this blog and in his column published every other Friday in The Wall Street Journal. Carl, who holds a degree in mathematics and physics from Yale University, also cowrites The Daily Fix, a sports column on He welcomes your comments at .

WSJ: The Numbers
The Numbers
copyright © 2014 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
The Wall Street Journal examines the way numbers are used, and abused.

Using Air Traffic Data to Predict Ebola’s Spread
While a number of researchers are modeling the spread of Ebola in West African countries, a group at Boston’s Northeastern University has used air traffic connections to explore how the disease might spread to the rest of the world.
Leaving Puerto Rico, Counting Calories and a New No. 1 (Statshot)
Far more Puerto Ricans now live off the island than on it, many fast food chains have started serving slightly lighter fare, and Mississippi State took over first place in the AP football poll this week for the first time in its history.
Quiz: How Do Politics Relate to Shopping Habits?
People's political beliefs extend into a number of areas of their lives. According to data from a market research company, these belief systems also relate to how and what people buy.
Remember Pens and Pencils? They’re Doing Just Fine
Remember pens and pencils? They're not only still around, but they're selling well. That has to do not just with surviving technology, but learning to work with it.
Americans Hate Congress, but Like Their Own Representatives
For Americans, their own Congress member is the devil they know. Voters have more favorable views of their own Congress members than they do of Congress in general, according to a Gallup poll released today.
Ranking Holiday Spending: Do We Buy More on Halloween or Father’s Day?
Retailers are preparing for their main holiday season, but there are spending spikes at other points of the year as well. How much money major annual events pull in depends on the holiday.
Election Bill: Salaries for House, Senate, Governors and State Lawmakers
In the coming Nov. 4 midterm elections, Americans are electing thousands of politicians -- and paying their salaries. How much is the bill?
Statshot: Plastic Surgery, Cruises and Netflix
This week in Statshot, over the past dozen years, cosmetic-surgery patients have moved away from major procedures such as nose jobs and liposuction and toward less invasive procedures such as Botox and hair removal; almost half of the more than 20 million people who took a cruise in 2013 traveled on one of the top three brands, and more.
America’s Missing Persons by Age, Race and Gender
Children and blacks make up a disproportionate percentage of missing persons reported each year.
What Your Home Address Says About What You’ll Buy
Plug in your zip code to see what marketers know about who you are and what you buy.