Benford’s Law applies to you, My Followers

Sean Carmody aka the Stubborn Mule has demonstrated, using chart porn, that my Twitter followers follow Benford’s Law.

Or more precisely, that Benford’s Law is followed by the distribution of the number of Twitter followers that each of my Twitter followers has in turn.

“Benford’s Law of Anomalous Numbers states that for many datasets, the proportion of data points with leading digit n will be approximated by log10(n+1) – log10(n),” says Carmody with a straight face.

So, if you look at the chart, you’ll see that there’s more followers with a follower count starting with a “1” (so 1, 11-19, 100-199, 1000-1999 etc) than with a “2” (2, 20-29, 200-299, 2000-2999 etc) than with a “3” (3, 30-39, 300-399, 3000-3999 etc) and so on.

He does note in another chart that there seems to be a spike of followers with just one follower each. I’m wondering whether that’s about spammers.

Obsolete Skills

Brad Kellett has started a website documenting Obsolete Skills. Things like “interpolating logarithms” and “carving a nib into a quill”. The list currently over-emphasises the interests of urban computer geeks, who seem to forget that 96% of the planet does not live in a high-tech apartment, but there are still gems to be found. “Caulking your wagon to ford the river,” anyone?