Slice recently reported that Fark user “Certainly You Jest” tabulated a list of the 25 most mentioned pizzerias.  Naturally, I decided to play with the numbers.  Rather than write up another formal paper, I did some quick ad hoc analysis for posting on this blog and I will skip some of the more technical aspects.

First, I augmented the data with the price of a typical plain pie that could feed two to four people and the pizzeria’s distance from New York City.  Adding the distance meant I had to remove the multi-state chains, like Monical’s, from the data.

While the number of times a pizzeria is mentioned is count data, it doesn’t quite fit a poisson distribution, and the poisson regression didn’t seem to be a good fit.  This makes sense since I have three predictors (distance from New York, price and their interaction).  You can see this in the two histograms below.

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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.