Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How To Know When Our President Is Lying


"Benford's law" is a statistical observation that:
predicts the frequency of the first digits of a collection of numbers. For example, measure the lengths of the world’s rivers, and see how many of the digits begin with "one" (184 miles; 1,543 miles) versus "three" (3,022 miles) or "nine" (985 miles). Newcomb and Benford discovered that the first digit is usually a "one" -- fully 30 per cent of the time, over six times more common than an initial "nine". And the result is true whether one counts the numbers on the front page of The New York Times or leafs through baseball statistics.
As an example of how Benford's Law works, here's a chart from Wikipedia showing first-digit distribution in population statistics of 237 countries:

source: Wikipedia

The red bars are the distribution in %. The black dots, predictions by Benford's Law.

Benford's law has become:
a useful test of the plausibility of data. In the early 1970s, Hal Varian, now chief economist at Google, argued that if economic data satisfied Benford’s Law on the way into an economic model but not on the way out, it was worth taking a second look at the model itself.

And Mark Nigrini, an accountancy professor, found fame in the 1990s by using Benford’s Law to discover accounting scams, frauds and tax dodges, such as inventing invoices that were just under some threshold for managerial approval.
Earlier this year, four German economists examined eleven years of EU official statistics -- and found that Benford's Law suggested that Greece submitted bogus numbers in its bid to be admitted into the Eurozone. Belgium may have played similar tricks.

After reading about Benford's law and the book-cooking Europeans, I thought, "If only there were a mathematical formula to show when Obama's lying."

Of course, we have the numbers and facts on Obamacare and on the mounting debt. It’s obvious that he isn’t telling the truth. Trouble is, the media mostly ignores the numbers. What we need is a quick and simple way to reveal his deceit that doesn't depend on the media, bar grafts or scatterplots.

It dawned on me that the answer is right in front of us. More specifically, it's right in front of him.

How can you tell our president is lying? His teleprompter's moving.

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