1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

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Quicksilver
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1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby Quicksilver » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:07 am UTC

Image
http://xkcd.com/1140
Alt Text: "In months other than September, the 11th is mentioned substantially less often than any other date. It's been that way since long before 9/11 and I have no idea why."
What about October 12th? Or was that not big news outside of Indonesia/Australia?

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby onetwothree4 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:15 am UTC

I think that it's interesting that March 21 (first day of spring) gets some notoriety, but that winter solstice/first day of summer/fall do not.
I guess in cold places, people get really excited over spring.

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby '); DROP TABLE users; » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:16 am UTC

This one image probably sums up the cultural impact of 9/11 better than anything else I've seen.

Never forget? I don't think there's much danger of that.

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siecraticmethod
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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby siecraticmethod » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:19 am UTC

I'm surprised July 11th is so small.

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby scotty2haughty » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:20 am UTC

You'd think February 29 would get more press.
/s/

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby DaveMcW » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:22 am UTC

In months other than September, the 11th is mentioned substantially less often than any other date. It's been that way since long before 9/11 and I have no idea why.

Maybe 11 is the most likely number to be misread by text recognition software.

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby Peter Kovalsky » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:30 am UTC

I'm curious if your "referred to by name" criterion was limited to the "October 17th" format. Presumably you also counted "nth of Y" numbers, since the 4th of July is nice and big, even though no one ever really refers to it as "July 4th."

But what about, say, "the ides of March"?

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alvinhochun
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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby alvinhochun » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:39 am UTC

Seems that Randall only accounted the full dates, not the month names.

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?co ... g=3&share=

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:46 am UTC

Yeah, that's - sort of weird that the months by themselves have a pattern. It's weirder that they're in a steady decline as a group. May when it's not being a month name and is being a modal verb instead can begin a sentence and thus be capitalized, though, so I think that's why it's an outlier (beginning a sentence with march or august would be rarer, so searching case-sensitive more or less eliminates those.)
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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby rhomboidal » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:51 am UTC

I like how the 11 stands out like the Twin Towers to really make the number come alive.

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby CtrlAltDel » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:54 am UTC

scotty2haughty wrote:You'd think February 29 would get more press.


I was thinking the same thing.

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby Eutychus » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:08 am UTC

Quicksilver wrote:What about October 12th? Or was that not big news outside of Indonesia/Australia?
It's a bit misleading because unlike other major events, 9/11 has come to be known by the date it occurred on, as opposed to, say the Bali Bombings. Of course 9/11 was a major event, but this is a good example of how the right measurement can not only present data in an arresting fashion, but also distort it.

Either that or more people are excited about my birthday than I had suspected :?
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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby alvinhochun » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:09 am UTC

I don't think you can use the online interface to query that much data. I've tried some of the dates which looks the biggest on the comic...
http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?co ... g=0&share=

And the statistics for "September 11th" seems to jump between 1998 to 2005, which is strange because the incident happened on 2001, why would there be an increase from 1998 to 2000?

Copper Bezel wrote:May when it's not being a month name and is being a modal verb instead can begin a sentence and thus be capitalized, though, so I think that's why it's an outlier.

Didn't think of that!
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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby Djehutynakht » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:17 am UTC

The second I read the caption, before I could see the calender, I knew September 11 was going to stick out immensely.

It's interesting.

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alvinhochun
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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby alvinhochun » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:19 am UTC

alvinhochun wrote:And the statistics for "September 11th" seems to jump between 1998 to 2005, which is strange because the incident happened on 2001, why would there be an increase from 1998 to 2000?
http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=September+11th&year_start=1990&year_end=2012&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=

Opps, with smoothing set to 0, the result would seem to be more accurate:
http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?co ... g=0&share=

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby Eutychus » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:28 am UTC

Eutychus wrote:It's a bit misleading because unlike other major events, 9/11 has come to be known by the date it occurred on, as opposed to, say the Bali Bombings. Of course 9/11 was a major event, but this is a good example of how the right measurement can not only present data in an arresting fashion, but also distort it.


As demonstrated by this comparison between the occurrence of "September 11th attacks" and "Bali bombings":

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?co ... g=0&share=

(and wow, another fun way to waste my time!)
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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby WolfieMario » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:46 am UTC

In months other than September, the 11th is mentioned substantially less often than any other date. It's been that way since long before 9/11 and I have no idea why.

Perhaps both the government and the terrorists were plotting to make the 11th a more significant date? Independently, of course.
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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby Istaro » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:48 am UTC

Eutychus wrote:As demonstrated by this comparison between the occurrence of "September 11th attacks" and "Bali bombings":

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?co ... g=0&share=

(and wow, another fun way to waste my time!)


Which, of course, is also misleading since the Bali bombings are usually called the "Bali bombings" whereas the 9/11 terrorist attack is referred to in so many different ways.

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby jpk » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:07 am UTC

I guess everyone gets an off day. Probably the least interesting xkcd ever.

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby '); DROP TABLE users; » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:09 am UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:The second I read the caption, before I could see the calender, I knew September 11 was going to stick out immensely.

It's interesting.

...you read the caption before the comic? Ew.

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby wgrandbois » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:11 am UTC

Apparently, December 7 didn't actually live in infamy.

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby Eutychus » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:23 am UTC

Istaro wrote:
Eutychus wrote:As demonstrated by this comparison between the occurrence of "September 11th attacks" and "Bali bombings":

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?co ... g=0&share=



Which, of course, is also misleading since the Bali bombings are usually called the "Bali bombings" whereas the 9/11 terrorist attack is referred to in so many different ways.


Yes, my point applies to my counter-comparison, too. It's all 'damn lies and statistics'. There was a book in my high school library called "How to lie with statistics" and it was full of stuff about misleadingly presenting statistics in pictorial format and so on.

wgrandbois wrote:Apparently, December 7 didn't actually live in infamy.


http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?co ... g=0&share=

It seems to be doing slightly better than the Bali bombings though..

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby flicky1991 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:41 am UTC

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Djehutynakht wrote:The second I read the caption, before I could see the calender, I knew September 11 was going to stick out immensely.

It's interesting.

...you read the caption before the comic? Ew.

It's right there at the top though... it's the first thing you'd read!
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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby Lorenz » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:53 am UTC

If I ever find myself debating someone who claims intelligent design/creationism is a science

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?co ... g=0&share=

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby AACCBB » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:11 am UTC

Sept. 11, 1973: a CIA-backed coup assassinates Chilean President Salvador Allende in the Moneda Palace, Santiago.

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby Eutychus » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:14 am UTC

Lorenz wrote:If I ever find myself debating someone who claims intelligent design/creationism is a science

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?co ... g=0&share=


They will reply that references to evolution have been plummeting since 2007, thus proving that it is falling into disrepute...
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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby '); DROP TABLE users; » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:19 am UTC

flicky1991 wrote:
'); DROP TABLE users; wrote:
Djehutynakht wrote:The second I read the caption, before I could see the calender, I knew September 11 was going to stick out immensely.

It's interesting.

...you read the caption before the comic? Ew.

It's right there at the top though... it's the first thing you'd read!

I read "caption" as "title-text". Oops.

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby Revelation » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:41 am UTC

Was this only done based on the format "MONTH DAY" ?

I would have thought the distribution would look quite different if we used the normal formulation in the English-speaking world of "DAY MONTH"

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby Vespinito » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:01 am UTC

Indeed, if the search was only applied to the MONTH DAY the date September 11th would be further emphasised, as it is possibly the only date to be styled that way in British publications. Here, DAY of MONTH is the standard, but September 11th has become a specific reference to the event rather than the day.

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby Scab » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:03 am UTC

Each date's size represents how often it is referred to by name (E.G "October 17th") in English-language books since 2000.


As if the previously mentioned fact that, the Twin Towers event is known most commonly as it's date, wasn't enough to bias this particular statistical presentation; the fact that only English-language books are covered has obviously biased the numbers in favor of 9/11 even further.

If we did an identical statistical analysis on e.g. Cantonese-language books since 2000, or Hindi-language books since 2000, I doubt 9/11 would still be topping the chart so to speak (of course I am pulling this assumption out of my ass, but still). I would also imagine that books containing 9/11, that were written in non-English countries, would have a higher probability of being translated into English (or written in English to begin with).

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby Daimon » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:07 am UTC

.................
Last edited by Daimon on Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:47 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby Captain Hat » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:25 am UTC

There is that, but there is also the related issue of how dates are referred to. For example, I would guess that there are a lot more references to "St. Patrick's Day" or "St. Paddy's" than there are to the 17th of March, a lot more references to "Armistice Day" or "Remembrance Sunday" than specifically to the 11th of November and also a lot more references to "Christmas" than to the date it falls on- which, in almost perfect illustration of my point I just realised I don't actually know. It's the 25th or the 26th of December, but I'm honestly not sure which.

All of those are hugely significant dates in terms of how the world sees things, and are mentioned certainly in a lot of the books that I have read, but since they are not referred to by the date they occur on so much as they are by the name of the event they mark- and furthermore since they are marked significantly more in Europe than in the US and the dates are therefore presented as day/month/year rather than month/day/year or whatever it is Americans use (I would have thought year/month/day or day/month/year would make the most logical sense, particularly for generating files to be sorted by date to be honest but I guess it's not that important as long as everyone actually understands what's going on) I would guess that these dates get hugely under-represented.

The most significant dates in November in the UK, for example, are the 5th and the 11th, by a long margin, but they are usually referred to as "Firework night," "Guy Fawkes' Night" or "Bonfire night" and as "Armistice Day" or (referring to the nearest Sunday to the 11th) as "Remembrance Sunday" respectively. None of the other dates in November stand out on the British calendar.

the 11th of November, actually, was one of the most significant dates in the 20th century, as it defines both the end of the First World War (and with it the early signs of the death of empires, as well as the end of the first full-scale mechanised war and the emergence of individual national identities for both Canada (at Vimy Ridge) and Australia (at Gallipoli) as independent entities separate from Great Britain and the start of the long death of British rule over all of Ireland) and the source of many of the issues that would again come to dominate the world's attention in the Second. It's just that it's never called "the 11th of November" when it is referred to in that capacity.

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby ImVeryAngryItsNotButter » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:26 am UTC

I see of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby conorjh » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:56 am UTC

An interesting related phenomenon is the ngram for years, they appear to be near perfect alpha functions; link gives an example.

http://conorhoughton.tumblr.com/post/2367307390/one-graph-shows-references-to-1965-in-books

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby westrim » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:56 am UTC

I'm not finding the image to be formatted very well. There are only a couple handfuls of dates that I can tell are different from the crowd. Plus, people have a point about some day having names rather than getting referred to by their numbers- Christmas would probably positively smash the others if it was counted in all its forms.

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby FOARP » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:08 am UTC

Yeah, judging by the prominence of US holidays over all others, this appears to suffer from a strong bias towards mentions in US-origin texts, probably due to only including month/day mentions. Refactored to include day/month mentions I would expect the 5th and 11th of November to have greater prominence than they do, and I would guess the 11th of November would overtake the 11th of September as the biggest "11th" pre-2001.

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby HungryHobo » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:10 am UTC

DaveMcW wrote:Maybe 11 is the most likely number to be misread by text recognition software.


good hypothesis.

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?co ... g=3&share=

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?co ... g=3&share=

I don't think it accounts for all of it though.
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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby AvatarIII » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:15 am UTC

I think this is skewed by the fact it doesn't take into account the fact that people are unlikely to say "October 31st" rather than "Halloween", April 1st rather than "April Fools Day" etc. also I'll assume it doesn't take into account the more British way of saying a date "the yth of xember" for example "the 5th of November", which is way smaller than I would have exptected.

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby Cardlinger » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:17 am UTC

Lame though I am, I was disheartened to see no press at all for January 0, February 30, February 31 and March 0...I'd link to Wikipedia but Randall's bots think I'm spam.

I mean, I know these are not dates per se, but maybe they are meaningful, to some small extent?

Righto, back to lurking!

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Re: 1140: "Calendar of Meaningful Dates"

Postby Transgenic_Squid » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:07 am UTC

I think using only the name of dates and not names of events/holidays like "Bali bombings," or "Christmas" was actually intentional. The whole point of the infographic is to show how unusual it is to refer to most events/holidays by date, and how much of an outlier Sept 11 is in comparison to all other dates.


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