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*From*: "John Clement" <clement@hal-pc.org>*Date*: Mon, 29 Oct 2012 13:58:37 -0500

Unfortunately it can't be used to detect fraud when the return is fairly

simple so it has low statistics. And now with the computer number matching,

most people can not submit as many faked numbers. If you are like me with

low medical expenses and no mortgage, there is little possibility of

cheating. But the very wealthy have lots of opportunity, and presumably

good accountants know about this little statistical device that the IRS may

use. So only the amateurs are likely to get caught.

But there is an even stranger piece of disparate evidence. Apparently you

have an innate sense of logarithmic scales. Small children when asked what

is half way between 1 and 9 will answer 3 instead of 5. Actually I suspect

that many students will also come up with 3. Most students do not seem to

know that the average is the half way point.

John M. Clement

Houston, TX

Oldie but oldie! Used for detecting tax return irregularities:

people dream up way to many 5's too few ones.

[From an ECN on line piece....]

Brian W

Dr. Benford discovered, in a huge assortment of number

sequences -- random samples from a day's stock quotations, a

tournament's tennis scores, the numbers on the front page of

The New York Times, the populations of towns, electricity

bills in the Solomon Islands, the molecular weights of

compounds the half-lives of radioactive atoms and much more

-- [something unexpected.]

Given a string of at least four numbers sampled from one or

more of these sets of data, the chance that the first digit

will be 1 is not one in nine, as many people would imagine;

according to Benford's Law, it is

30.1 percent, or nearly one in three. The chance that the

first number in the string will be 2 is only 17.6 percent,

and the probabilities that successive numbers will be the

first digit decline smoothly up to 9, which has only a 4.6

percent chance.

A strange feature of these probabilities is that they are

"scale invariant" and "base invariant."

**References**:**[Phys-L] Fwd: Benford***From:*brian whatcott <betwys1@sbcglobal.net>

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