The FBI has put out a public request for help cracking a code. The code above was found in the pants of a murder victim over 10 years ago. Despite some of the best code breakers in the world give it a shot, they have not been able to break the code. I wonder if the NSA had a go at it. Couldn’t they try brute force like in Dan Brown’sDigital Fortress? Yes I referenced Dan Brown in the same paragraph as the NSA, deal with it.
If you think you can help send a letter to:
Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit
2501 Investigation Parkway
Quantico, VA 22135
Attn: Ricky McCormick Case
There’s no reward but you’d be helping your country.
As mentioned earlier, yesterday was Pi Day so a bunch of statisticians and other such nerds celebrated at the new(ish) Artichoke Basille near the High Line. We had three pies: the signature Artichoke, the Margherita and the Anchovy, which was delicious but only some of us ate. And of course we had our custom cake from Chrissie Cook.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that even with all the concern around gerrymandering that in reality the upcoming redistricting probably won’t have much affect on upcoming elections. Gary King is mentioned as having written a paper “that helped demonstrate the relative impotence of partisan redistricting” yet “he favors the efforts to create a statistical method that would replace it.” I personally am always for using math and hard numbers to solve any problem whenever possible.
The article also mentioned a “conference last year in Washington, D.C., researchers proposed alternatives.” David Epstein presented a paper at that conference that Andy Gelman and I worked on.
While the article quoted one of Dr. Gelman’s papers it unfortunately did not mention him, or any of us by name. However, the accompanying blog post did mention both Dr.s Gelman and Epstein with specific quotes of them and their work.
I don’t mean to shamelessly self-promote here, but I wanted to note that the Slice story on my pizza paper (pdf) has also been picked up by NBC New York’s food blog, Feast, and by Revolution Computing’s blog. For people who don’t know, Revolution Computing optimizes R, the language used by a large number of statisticians for computations.
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.