The Wizard of Oz most 'influential' film of all time according to network science

Credit: Cristie Guevara/public domain The Wizard of Oz, followed by Star Wars and Psycho, is identified as the most influential film of all time in a study published in the open access journal Applied Network Science. Researchers at the University of Turin, Italy, calculated an influence score for 47,000 films listed in IMDb (the internet…

Credit: CC0 Public Domain Chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes have been on the rise for decades. They’re the number one cause of death and disability in the U.S. today and one reason why health care costs are out of control. So identifying people at risk for chronic conditions before they get sick makes…

Did you solve it? Five shady puzzles

Earlier today I set you five puzzles from More Geometry Snacks. Here are the questions each followed by two methods of solution. Sometimes the simple action of drawing in a few extra lines reveals the solution clearly. 1. A point inside a square is connected to its four vertices. What fraction of the square is…

The equivalence test: A new way for scientists to tackle so-called negative results

A new statistical test lets scientists figure out if two groups are similar to one another. Credit: paleontologist natural/shutterstock.com A paleontologist returns to her lab from a summer dig and sets up a study comparing tooth length in two dinosaur species. She and her team work meticulously to avoid biasing their results. They remain blind…

Why is this line so long?

One line spreads the risk of slowdowns out over the whole group. Credit: James R. Martin/Shutterstock.com Warning: After reading this article, you will never again stand in a line without thinking about how to make your wait time shorter. And as an expert in operations management, I’m here to spread the word that sometimes a…

Can you solve it? Five shady puzzles

Hi guzzlers. Today’s puzzles are about the shade, by which I mean the shaded areas in the geometrical diagrams below. The images are to be studied and contemplated, until the pleasurable moment of insight arrives… (Background help: the area of a triangle is half the base times the height. And Pythagoras’s Theorem states that the…

English primary schoolchildren face times tables tests

Nine-year-olds across England will soon have to brush up on their times tables, as the government announced details of its compulsory multiplication check to be taken in primary schools. From June 2020, every state school pupil in year 4 will be quizzed on their times tables up to 12, answering 25 questions in an online…

Thanks, statistics! A faster way to improve mobile apps

Credit: Cornell Brand Communications Life can be tough for mobile app developers. After creating an app that helps users book a hotel room or redeem loyalty points, they need to figure out how well the app works—and how it stacks up against competitors. When a customer writes an indignant online review saying “I can’t scroll…

Math can improve flu vaccine, experts say

Credit: 123RF.com/Rice University Mathematical modeling can improve the flu vaccine’s effectiveness, according to experts at Rice University—where one such model has existed for more than 15 years—and its Baker Institute for Public Policy. Michael Deem, the John W. Cox Professor of Biochemical and Genetic Engineering at Rice; Melia Bonomo, a Ph.D. candidate in physics and…

Researchers find most fantasy sports are based on skill, not luck

By analyzing the win/loss records of thousands of fantasy players over multiple seasons, MIT researchers have found that the game of fantasy football is inherently a contest that rewards skill. Credit: Christine Daniloff If you’ve ever taken part in the armchair sport of fantasy football and found yourself at the top of your league’s standings…