I just filled out my Census form and I have to say it was fairly painless and simple.  The short form (pdf) really only asks about age, ethnicity and other residences.  If anyone has a long form (now called the American Community Survey), please let me know your experiences filling that out.

The question concerning residence can be a bit tricky these days with so many people having multiple residences, children who live on their own but visit home frequently and couples who live togetherbut also maintain separate residences.

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Being a stats junkie I’m probably more excited about filling out my Census forms than most people.  That said, a lot of my friends have expressed glee at receiving their Census forms.  Perhaps that says something about social group.

So you can imagine my delight when I came across this giant, inflatable Census form in Union Square last Saturday night.

I’m not sure about other markets, but there has been a huge advertising blitz for the Census in New York including the commercials featuring actors from the “Best in Show” and “A Mighty Wind” movies.

One more closeup of the moon-bounce inspired Census form after the break.

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This article from the New York Times about grilock in New York is from two nights ago, but I think it’s worth a glance.  The article is a great look at how slowly cars move.  I especially like the line, “Weekday traffic in the district moved at an average of 9.5 miles per hour — about the speed of a farmyard chicken at full gallop.”

This goes to show how we often misperceive reality regardless of the underlying data.  I know there have been plenty of times that I felt I made much faster progress during midday traffic, but the numbers don’t lie.

I wonder if they account for the different driving patterns between taxis and private cars and if that would make a difference.  I wish the Times had posted a link to the original study so I could see the methods they used.  I would guess they use spatial statistics that can track autocorrelation in time and space and there is a lot of power in those kind of tools.

I’ve decided to use this space to talk about math, statistics and science applied to everyday things in new or interesting ways.

This will not be an overly technical blog, though I will make the hard science behind the posts available when possible.  The point is to make science accessible and fun and see how it affects our everyday lives.

I hope you enjoy reading my blog.  I will strive to make it as good and enjoyable as can be.