> Michael S. Lorrey, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, writes:
> > Because what Nigrini knew--and Alex's brother-in-law clearly didn't--was
> > that the digits making up the shop's sales figures should have followed
> > a
> > mathematical rule discovered accidentally over 100 years ago. Known as
> > Benford's law, it is a rule obeyed by a stunning variety of phenomena,
> > from
> > stock market prices to census data to the heat capacities of chemicals.
> > Even
> > a ragbag of figures extracted from newspapers will obey the law's
> > demands
> > that around 30 per cent of the numbers will start with a 1, 18 per cent
> > with
> > a 2, right down to just 4.6 per cent starting with a 9.
> The way I heard it was that people found that the old books of logarithm
> tables got dirty fastest on the first pages. This is because more
> numbers that people measured in the real world started with 1 than
> with 9. Generally, they are distributed evenly by logarithm, not by
> arithmetic value.
Actually if you read the rest of the article, they noted that a mathematician noted this and it was called the Grubby Pages Effect, but was ignored for 50 or more years.