Numbers follow a surprising law of digits, and scientists can’t explain why

Benford’s law shows that, in a very diverse range of data sets, the first digit of numbers is 1 about a third of the time, and the next numbers follow a consistent pattern of distribution. This is both interesting and odd but, for me, it is much more interesting how the law was discovered, independently, by two reserachers:
“Both Benford and Newcomb stumbled upon the law in the same way: while flipping through pages of a book of logarithmic tables, they noticed that the pages in the beginning of the book were dirtier than the pages at the end.”
A wonderful example of the collective in action, without the aid of any computers!
Created:Sat, 12 May 2007 08:04:22 GMT

Posted: May 12, 2007, 2:04 am

I am a professional learner, employed as a Full Professor and Associate Dean, Learning & Assessment, at Athabasca University, where I research lots of things broadly in the area of learning and technology, and I teach mainly in the School of Computing & Information Systems. I am a proud Canadian, though I was born in the UK. I am married, with two grown-up children, and three growing-up grandchildren. We all live in beautiful Vancouver.

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