Well I’d never heard of Benford’s Law before but it states that if you look at a bunch of numbers, then 1 appears as the first digit about 30% of the time. For example if you take the area in square kilometres of each country in the world you’ll find that about 30% of them start with the number 1. At first glance you might think the ratio would be more like 11% (1 in 9), but thinking about it further the 30% ratio makes sense and this ratio is even used to track down fraud.

I quite often listen to Radio 4 (an UK radio station which is fortunately broadcast over the Internet) and here’s a link to the program on numbers and the first topic was Benford’s Law.


Now I’m off to check the duration of all my timelines :-)