The Brian Lehrer Show

Statistics Tricks

Monday, August 11, 2014

Gary Smith, economics professor at Pomona College in Claremont, CA, looks at all the ways data, big and small, can be manipulated and offers a guide to gleaning the truth behind the trickery. He's the author of Standard Deviations: Flawed Assumptions, Tortured Data, and Other Ways to Lie with Statistics.

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Forget about Blame?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Nita Farahany, who's been following the growing field of Neurolaw for years now, helps uncover what seems to be a growing trend -- defendants using brain science to argue that they aren't entirely at fault. Neuroscientist David Eagleman thinks this is completely wrongheaded, and argues for ...

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Follow The 'Moneyball': The Rise Of Music Stats

Monday, April 08, 2013

Next Big Sound, a new music analytics firm digs into data to measure success and scout new talent.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Statistics Can Be Fun

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Charlie Wheelan, author of Naked Economics and Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data, explains statistics to those who slept through the class.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Making Predictions

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Sam Wang, Associate professor, Department of Molecular Biology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, of the Princeton Election Consortium helps us break down what to expect as voters go to the polls today.


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The Leonard Lopate Show

Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous than Others

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Psychiatrist and author James Gilligan explains his findings that in times of high unemployment, recession, and other forms of social and economic distress, the United States has experienced high rates of violent death, including suicide and homicide. His book Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous than Others demonstrates why he believes that politicians and the political process, even in democratic countries, can have tragic consequences for everyone.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Unintended Births in the U.S.

Monday, July 30, 2012

William D. Mosher, statistician at the National Center for Health Statistics and the lead author of a new report on unintended pregnancy, explains what it means that 37 percent of births in the US were "unintended at the time of conception."

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Measure of a Nation

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Howard Friedman, statistician and United Nations health economist, compares the United States competes with the thirteen countries around the globe most similar to ours and argues that the country is often close to the bottom in health, safety, democracy, education, and the environment. In The Measure of a Nation: How to Regain America's Competitive Edge and Boost Our Global Standing, he pinpoints specific policies and practices in other nations that the United States could benefit from. 

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On The Media

Balancing Advocacy and Accuracy

Friday, June 01, 2012

In a Washington Post op-ed last month, Senator Joseph Lieberman spoke of “horrific human rights abuses perpetrated daily, including the widespread and deliberate use of rape and other sexual violence as weapons of war.” Lauren Wolfe, director of the Women Under Siege Project, which has curated a map plotting instances of sexual violence in Syria, talks with Brooke about trying to check the senator's claim and the difficulty of verifying claims of rape in a war-zone.

The Chieftains - The Stone

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The Takeaway

First U.S. Census Digitized

Monday, April 02, 2012

The National Archives published the full records of the 1940 census online today. It's the first United States census to be fully digitalized, and contains details, including names, addresses and income levels, of more than 132 million people. Connie Potter, archivist and senior genealogy specialist at the National Archives, says this trove of information brings out the people behind census statistics.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Context and a Movie: "Moneyball"

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rob Neyer, national baseball editor for Baseball Nation and former employee of baseball statistics legend Bill James, discusses sabermetrics and how it did or did not change baseball. Dana Stevens, Slate's film critic and co-host of Slate's Culture Gabfest, joins him to discuss "Moneyball." 

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The Takeaway

Movie Date: Moneyball

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In this week's Movie Date podcast, Kristen, Rafer, join a baseball-loving guest in discussing stats movie "Moneyball," starring Brad Pitt. Can a movie about baseball statistics be remotely interesting? Does Kristen's knowledge of the game run deeper than "Bad News Bears"? Does the movie, in the final judgment, satisfy people who aren't number crunchers? To get answers to these questions, you must listen!  

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The Takeaway

The Far-Reaching Influence of 'Moneyball'

Friday, September 23, 2011

What if there was a systematic method to develop the best baseball team? Eight years ago, Michael Lewis's book "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game" exposed how Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland A’s, found a way to turn a team with poor attendance and no money into a rag-tag contender with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball. He did this by using readily available statistics. Since the book was published, the book's influence has not only extended to other baseball teams, but to other sectors. This weekend, a film adaptation is opening in theaters, with Brad Pitt as Billy Beane.


Transportation Nation

The World's Most Dangerous Roads

Thursday, May 12, 2011

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) Traffic accidents kill more people globally than malaria, according to the World Health Organization. So, The Guardian has pulled out some data from the WHO to find out which countries have the most dangerous roads.

They find that 90 percent of traffic deaths happen in low and middle income countries even though they have fewer than 50 percent of the roads. Eritrea tops the list with 48.4 estimated road deaths per 100,000 people, followed by the pacific nation of the Cook Islands and  Egypt in third.

The United States comes in 59th most dangerous with 13.9 road deaths per 100,000 people.

See a handy interactive chart that you can sort, re-sort, and play around with over at the Guardian.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

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Transportation Nation

US DOT: Highway Traffic Reaches Highest Level Since 2007

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

More analysis later, but the US DOT tells us:

WASHINGTON – Americans drove three trillion miles in 2010, the most vehicle miles traveled since 2007 and the third-highest ever recorded, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today.   The increase in traffic volume comes as the U.S. in 2009 posted its lowest number of traffic fatalities and injuries since 1950.

“More driving means more wear and tear on our nation's roads and bridges,” said Secretary LaHood.  “This new data further demonstrates why we need to repair the roads and bridges that are the lifeblood of our economy."

The Secretary noted that Americans drove 0.7 percent more, or 20.5 billion additional vehicle miles traveled (VMT), in 2010 than the previous year. Travel increased by 0.6 percent, or 1.4 billion VMT, in December 2010 compared to the previous December. It is the tenth consecutive month of increased driving.

The new data, from the Federal Highway Administration’s monthly “Traffic Volume Trends” report, show the South Gulf area, a bloc of eight states ranging from Texas to Kentucky, experienced the greatest regional increase in December 2010 at 46.6 billion VMT, an increase of 624 million miles traveled compared to the previous December.

With an increase of 11.1 percent, or 156 million additional miles traveled, Nebraska led the nation with the largest single-state increase that month, and rural driving outpaced urban driving across the country.

"These data are critical to identifying and evaluating patterns of use on America’s road system, which help us to make decisions about investments in critical infrastructure,” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. “Repairing our nation’s roads, bridges and tunnels will help us ensure safety, strengthen the economy and build for the future.”

To review the VMT data in FHWA's "Traffic Volume Trends" reports, including that for December 2010, visit


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The Brian Lehrer Show

Who's Getting Married

Friday, December 31, 2010

Belinda Luscombe, Time magazine senior editor, talks about the results of the recent Time/Pew survey on marriage that show opinions sharply divided by age and class.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Who's Getting Married

Monday, November 22, 2010

Belinda Luscombe, Time Magazine senior editor, talks about the results of the recent Time/Pew survey on marriage, showing opinions sharply divided by age and class.

Comments [28]

The Brian Lehrer Show

Five NYPD Officers Accused

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New York Times police bureau chief Al Baker discusses the charges against five NYPD officers in the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn of juking the stats to manipulate crime rates. 

Comments [25]

The Brian Lehrer Show

The NYPD Tapes Cont'd

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Graham Rayman, staff writer for the Village Voice, continues his reports on the NYPD and whether officers were told to distort crime statistics.

Comments [4]

The Takeaway

Tea Party Express Arrives in Washington, DC

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Today is tax day. (So go mail in your paperwork or file for an automatic extension, folks.) It's no surprise that today is the day Tea Party activists have chosen to rally, across the country, against what they call, unnecessary government largess. There will be hundreds of small rallies in cities from Walla Walla, Wash. to Niceville, Fla. They are all loosely related to the Tea Party Express, which arrives in Washington, D.C. at 11:00 a.m., revved up after a speech from Sarah Palin in Boston yesterday.

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