7 Days of Christmas: Day 5

Benford’s Law is the 5th problem in my 7 days of Christmas series.

Benford’s Law states that the number ‘1’ appears as the first digit 30% of the time I real world numbers. It was first seen by the physicist Frank Benford in 1938 that in a set of numbers the leading digit is 1 a plurality of the time. The other numbers show up as the leading digit following a logarithmic distribution.

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Benford’s law is extremely useful and has been used to identify times where data was faked, including the fraudulent elections in Iran, faked economic data and cooked accounting books. Also, it has been observed in the following sets: the Fibonacci numbers, factorials and the powers of two.

To read day 4, click here.

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