# heuristics

January 17, 2012 |

Two posts ago we showed you the digit sound system for remembering numbers. This week we provide two computer programs to help you create mnemonics. [Read more...]

### Do cents follow Benford’s Law?

October 5, 2011 |

Benford's law is an amazing thing. If you know the probability distribution that classes of "natural" numbers should have, you can detect where people might be faking data: phony tax returns, bogus scientific studies, etc. [Read more...]

### Dollars and cents: How are you at estimating the total bill?

September 30, 2011 |

When estimating the cost of a bunch of purchases, a useful heuristic is rounding to the nearest dollar. (In fact, on US income tax returns, one is allowed to omit the cents). If prices were uniformly distributed, the following two heuristics would be equally accurate: * Rounding each item up or ... [Read more...]

### Tipping heuristics

April 28, 2010 |

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE CALCULATIONS MADE SIMPLE Yes, we all know how to calculate 15% or 20% exactly, but it’s fun to use tipping heuristics and even more fun to make crowded graphs of how they compare to each other. (Sorry for the junky chart. Open for suggestions, in the words of Tom ... [Read more...]

### Get at least 12 observations before making a confidence interval?

April 14, 2010 |

How many observations should you have before constructing a confidence interval? [Read more...]