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Ctrl + ← Kindergarten, Amtrak and Handsome Old Men

This is Ctrl + ←, our weekly data journalism roundup. You’ll find the most-read FiveThirtyEight articles of the past week, as well as gems we spotted elsewhere on the Internet.


  1. LeBron James Shouldn’t Stay in Miami Or Go to Cleveland
  2. The Most Shocking Result in World Cup History
  3. FiveThirtyEight’s World Cup Predictions
  4. Lionel Messi Is Impossible
  5. How Neymar’s Injury Affects Brazil’s Chances at the World Cup
  6. Why Classic Rock Isn’t What It Used To Be
  7. What Cleveland Would Look Like With LeBron And Kevin Love
  8. Messi Is Better Than Maradona, But Maybe Not Pele
  9. World Cup Semifinal Crib Notes: Brazil vs. Germany
  10. How Does Germany’s Blowout of Brazil Compare to Those in Other Sports?


Minority kids, majority students: The Pew Research Center thought it would be interesting — to get a sense for America’s demographic future — to look at the racial makeup of current kindergarten students. Pew shows that the United States’ biggest minority group, Hispanics, are likely to grow in demographic importance from their current 17 percent share of the national population.


This year, 50 percent of students are expected to be minorities — compared to just 37 percent in 1997. That’s a fast change and one that is no doubt contributing to the Census Bureau’s estimate that by 2060, minorities will make up 57 percent of the population as a whole.

Stress(ful?) statistics: NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a nationwide poll examining stress in the United States. Their first set of published results reveal how wealth, gender, illness and age can affect the likelihood of experiencing stress.

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Although people tend to respond to stress in ways that seem unhealthy (70 percent say they sleep less than usual, and 44 percent say they eat less than usual), a surprising 67 percent of respondents said stress has had a positive effect on some aspect of their lives.

A rough ride: Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post wanted to find out whether describing Amtrak as “the shame of the developed world” was fair. So he mapped 33 major routes and color-coded them according to how often they were on time. It turns out that three in four Amtrak trains are on time, but that there’s considerable variation across the country.

amtrak_performanceGray matter: We were pretty fascinated by this Gallup poll revealing that older Americans are the most likely to feel positive about their looks. When asked whether they agreed with the statement “you always feel good about your physical appearance” on a five-point scale, those age 65 and older were the most likely to tick 4 or 5. The youngest respondents, 18 to 24 years old, were almost as confident, but middle age appears to be a low-point for feeling hot. The poll also found that right up until age 85 and older, American men are more likely to think they are physically attractive than American women.


Mona Chalabi is data editor at the Guardian US, and a columnist at New York Magazine. She was previously a lead news writer for FiveThirtyEight.