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Millions, Billions, Zillions

Defending Yourself in a World of Too Many Numbers

Brian W. Kernighan

ca. 16,99
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Princeton University Press img Link Publisher

Naturwissenschaften, Medizin, Informatik, Technik / Mathematik


An essential guide to recognizing bogus numbers and misleading data

Numbers are often intimidating, confusing, and even deliberately deceptive—especially when they are really big. The media loves to report on millions, billions, and trillions, but frequently makes basic mistakes or presents such numbers in misleading ways. And misunderstanding numbers can have serious consequences, since they can deceive us in many of our most important decisions, including how to vote, what to buy, and whether to make a financial investment. In this short, accessible, enlightening, and entertaining book, leading computer scientist Brian Kernighan teaches anyone—even diehard math-phobes—how to demystify the numbers that assault us every day.

With examples drawn from a rich variety of sources, including journalism, advertising, and politics, Kernighan demonstrates how numbers can mislead and misrepresent. In chapters covering big numbers, units, dimensions, and more, he lays bare everything from deceptive graphs to speciously precise numbers. And he shows how anyone—using a few basic ideas and lots of shortcuts—can easily learn to recognize common mistakes, determine whether numbers are credible, and make their own sensible estimates when needed.

Giving you the simple tools you need to avoid being fooled by dubious numbers, Millions, Billions, Zillions is an essential survival guide for a world drowning in big—and often bad—data.

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Result, The Beauty Myth, Correlation does not imply causation, Identity theft, Kilobit, Consumer Reports, John Maynard Keynes, AARP, Fermi problem, Hulu, W. E. B. Du Bois, Centenarian, Rule of 72, Celsius, Zettabyte, Outright, The World's Billionaires, American Medical Association, Half Gone, Millionth, Round number, Exponential growth, Baby boomers, Strategic Petroleum Reserve (United States), Warren Buffett, The New York Times, Innumeracy (book), Tax cut, Approximation, Arithmetic, School bus, Dot-com bubble, Factoid, Quadrillion, Square yard, Percentage point, Power of 10, Body surface area, Calculation, Gigabyte, With high probability, Corporate tax, Year, Pound sterling, National Rifle Association, Associated Press, Exabyte, Kilogram, U.S. News & World Report, Net worth, Square foot, Little's law, Ranking (information retrieval), Dilbert, Order of magnitude, The Wisdom of Crowds, Mortality rate, Nobel Prize, Unemployment, Inflation, Back-of-the-envelope calculation, Population growth, Estimation, A picture is worth a thousand words, Inception, Hectare, Petabit, My Local, Sampling bias, The Colbert Report, Barrel (unit), Daniel Kahneman, Breast cancer, Newsweek, Error, Home computer, Percentage, Blogger (service), Just in case, Terabit, Naomi Wolf, Computation, Jeff Bezos, Quantity, Petabyte, Your Computer (British magazine), Headline, Birth rate, Scientific notation, Technology, Life expectancy, Tax, Ultra-high-definition television, Newspaper, Arithmetic mean, FLOPS, Darrell Huff, Economics, Edward Tufte, How to Lie with Statistics