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Damn, We Wish We’d Done These 6 Stories Last Month

At the end of every year, we’re jealous of Bloomberg’s “Jealousy List,” a collection of stories that staffers wish they had published. We’re so jealous that we’re making monthly lists of our own.

So here are six stories published by other journalists this month that made us envious. Hopefully, our jealousy will lead to your discovery.


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The Birthday Paradox Experiment

By Russell Goldenberg, The Pudding

I’m jealous of all the students in probability courses who now get their first introduction to statistical paradoxes through this cool, thoughtful and really fun interactive article. Oh, and of course I’m jealous of any interactive that successfully frames itself as an experiment, and this one manages that while also incorporating the interactions of past users to personalize the experience and make the piece feel real and engaging. Also, its little animations were too cute.

— Rachael Dottle, associate visual journalist


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The Company Michael Cohen Kept

By The Trump, Inc. podcast, WNYC/ProPublica

My former colleagues at WNYC (in collaboration with ProPublica) have been knocking it out of the park with their Trump, Inc. podcast, and this episode felt like it took things to another level. The timing was perfect, dropping right as President Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, hit the news. It’s a lesson that even when you’re covering the most talked-about public figures, if you just get out there and report — in this case, by driving the few miles from Manhattan to South Brooklyn — there are all sorts of great stories to be found.

— Jody Avirgan, host of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast


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“Who caused the Bay Area’s housing shortage?

By Marisa Kendall, The Mercury News

The housing crisis just keeps getting worse in California, and proposed solutions keep getting shot down. Which is why a poll and subsequent story by The Mercury News is so fascinating. It looks at who Bay Area residents think is responsible for the crisis, and it shows the discord between who people blame and who has the power to make changes. It also highlights what many residents view as the downsides of the booming tech industry.

— Anna Maria Barry-Jester, lead health writer


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“Happy birthday to Gauss, father of the first predictive algorithm”

By Dan Kopf, Quartz

In the age of big data and machine learning, it’s easy to overlook that most of the tools we use to understand the world around us were thought up by smart people who came before us — not just handed down from on high by some robot gods. This article about Carl Friedrich Gauss’s contribution to statistical theory does a nice job of reminding us that one person can make a huge difference in how we think about and understand the world. Data is useless if we can’t do anything with it, and Gauss’s techniques, as this article describes, have helped us study a lot of important issues, especially, but not exclusively, in the social sciences.

— Andrea Jones-Rooy, quantitative researcher


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“The Greatest Single-Season One-Hit Wonders in the Last 30 Years of Sports”

By Russell Goldenberg and Jan Diehm, The Pudding

Russell Goldenberg is always up to cool data viz things over at The Pudding, and this time he’s teamed up with Jan Diehm to create a statistical appreciation of the best one-season wonders since 1987 in eight sports: the NBA, WNBA, PGA, LPGA, MLB, ATP, WTA and NHL. These are the players whose peak year was amazing — among the top 20 in their league — but who never came close to replicating that level of success in any other season of their career. ‘Tis better to have been great and lost it than never be great at all, I guess?

— Neil Paine, senior sportswriter


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Too Many Men

By Simon Denyer and Annie Gowen, The Washington Post

There are 70 million more men than women in China and India, and the consequences, while far-reaching, are becoming significantly more noticeable as babies born during some of the worst gender-gap years reach adulthood. “Too Many Men” uses stunning movement and imagery to break down the wide-ranging effects of this gap, including, perhaps most significantly, the gulf between the number of men and women of “marriageable age,” which is projected to peak in the next few decades. The imbalance has reportedly led to depression among unmarried men. In China, more and more women are becoming victims of human trafficking as brokers promise to find brides for frustrated men. And in India, the longstanding problems of street harassment and sexual violence seem to be growing worse. Read this one until the end.

— Meena Ganesan, social editor

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