Re: seti@home IS WORKING
Sat, 17 Jul 1999 13:31:08 -0700

Michael S. Lorrey, <>, 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.