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Ctrl + ← Bars, Brits and Spelling Bees

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. How to Tell Someone’s Age When All You Know Is Her Name
  2. The 100 Most-Edited Wikipedia Articles
  3. When to Sign an NBA Player to the Max
  4. Dear Mona, I Masturbate More Than Once a Day. Am I Normal?
  5. Worry About Johnny Manziel’s Weight, Not His Height
  6. Be Skeptical of Both Piketty and His Skeptics
  7. Is College Worth It? It Depends on Whether You Graduate
  8. Casting the Ideal Challenger to Hillary Clinton
  9. The Disappearance of Conservative Commencement Speakers
  10. Should Landon Donovan Be Going to the World Cup?


Mona in Montana: In last week’s installment of Ctrl + ←, I lamented the lack of major communities of British immigrants in the United States. But Pew Research Center, as it so often does, has put me out of my misery by taking a longer view of America’s foreign-born population. If I had left my homeland a mere 104 years earlier, I would have found myself among the largest share of immigrants in not just one state, but seven.


Bars vs. grocery stores: What happens when you look at the ratio of bars to grocery stores? You get a pretty amazing map of the U.S. that shows there are only 13 percent more grocery stores than bars. But Nathan Yao at FlowingData went further and produced similar maps for India, France, Japan, Poland and five other countries.

Pococurante about logorrhea: With Scripps National Spelling Bee fever at its height — the contest concluded Thursday — Deadspin’s Reuben Fischer-Baum looked at the bee’s most obscure winning words. The result is an epic rundown, including esquamulose (having smooth skin), logorrhea (a tendency to extreme loquacity) and pococurante (not caring too much).

Europe votes: Hats off to The Wall Street Journal and its presentation of the outcome of the 2014 European parliamentary elections. Its interactive shows which parties are being elected where and in what numbers.

Europe votes

A winning combination: Mark Mellman, the CEO of the Mellman Group, a polling and consulting firm, concluded a four-part series arguing that — despite heightened polarization — campaigns need to do two types of persuasion: persuading supporters to vote and persuading non-supporters to support the campaign.

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.