2010 was a pretty incredible year for me, and 2011 looks like it’s going to be fraught with even more peril than its predecessor. But that’s neither here or there: it’s time for the first Starslip roundup of 2011.

• The first convention I’m doing this year is March 4-6 at the wonderful Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, a staple of my circuit. However, as I’m in the Seattle area, sometimes I announce meetups of various sizes. Follow me on Twitter for that info.

• Will Starslip book 4 be out before ECCC? Stay tuned…

• I ran across an article at io9.com about Benford’s Law. I couldn’t understand their write-up, so here’s Wikipedia about it, to whom I donated zero dollars to in 2010. Statisticians! This is madness. That can’t be correct.

• Anyway, I know you’re not here for any of that, so here’s pictures of women posing with Starslip goodies. [1, thanks Kirsten] [2, thanks Jen]

In the name of gender equality, I demand hot guys posing with Starslip goodies as well!

Re: Benford's Law

*disclaimer* I'm not a statistician. However, I have wondered about this particular weirdity before.

I found two articles on io9: one in the #madscience category and the other in the #spookyscience category. The former was nonsense. The latter was a little better and actually kind of interesting.

How can it be true?! Well — it's based on measured data, so it must be true. But why does it arise?

I like the wikipedia explanation — if the incidence of first digits has a normal distribution on a log scale, then it'll have this weird curve when we plot it on a linear scale. But that only really makes sense for things that have sample points that end up being exponential (as the article points out)… it wouldn't really apply to the heights of buildings, for example.

Wikipedia (much more useful than this stats text I have, go figure) does point out that this only seems to occur when there are several orders of magnitude involved in the measurements

With that in mind the scale invariance argument http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benford's_law#S…

seems to make more sense to describe it in general terms — enough sense so that after reading through it a couple of times I feel like it's probably true, but not enough so that I fully understand it yet.

Anyway. Neat! I'd thank you if I weren't seething with displeasure over having been compelled to *think* during the PM hours.

They talk about Benford's Law (including, if I recall correctly, an interview with Benford) in this Radiolab: http://bit.ly/hPBZM3

Forensic accountants use Benford's law all the time, and a similarly predictable distribution occurs with digits beyond the leading digit. It allows accountants to do a fast analysis of a data set and, if the numbers don't trend along with Benford, know that somebody has been making numbers up.

@Howard Tayler Unless you're applying Benford's law to the general and special theories of Disaster Area tax returns, in which case the law demonstrates that space is not merely curved, but in fact bent.

First of all congrats.

But just a heads up. Maybe it's just in chrome, but your latest post looks like this

â€¢ The first convention etc etc etc

The image is showing up as â€¢ whatever that is.

Congrats man

I mean congrats about the first year, not congrats about the â€¢