Catching tax cheats with big data, digitizing WWII, Watson’s cookbook and more

April 17, 2015

With taxes (hopefully) in the rear-view mirror, kick back with some light reading suggestions compiled from the week that was.

  • If you cheated on your taxes, let mental floss introduce you to Benford’s law, the mathematical truth that could be your undoing. The IRS uses this fraud prevention favorite to sniff out scofflaws simply by examining the first digit used in claimed deductions.
  • Thanks to 21st century data visualization techniques, a wealth of data about World War II can be mapped in dynamic and interesting ways. This week Public Radio International featured BombSite.org, which plots the amazing number of bombs that fell on London during the blitz from July 10, 1940 to June 6, 1941. Meanwhile Norwegian newspaper VG released a timeline-based interactive map of Europe to pinpoint all 11,724 Norwegian deaths during WWII.
  • IBM’s Watson computer is famous for trouncing the competition at Jeopardy, but can it cook? The answer is yes! Sort of. This week Quartz looked at an Artificial Intelligence-inspired cookbook created by Watson in conjunction with the Institute of Culinary Education. Using big data, Watson is able to virtually examine an array of taste combinations in order to come up with winners like Belgian bacon pudding, Thai-Jewish chicken and a Portuguese lobster roll. 
  • Finally, although the world may seem more dangerous and chaotic than ever before, parents will take solace in WonkBlog’s data-backed declaration that there’s never been a safer time to be a kid in America. Arm yourself with charts and data as you bravely send your kid half a block down the street to the park.

 

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