How to Catch a Thief: Unmasking Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme with Benford’s Law

One of my starting points into quantitive finance was Bernie Madoff’s fund. Back then because Bernie was in desperate need of money to keep his Ponzi scheme running there existed several so-called feeder funds.

One of them happened to approach me to offer me a once in a lifetime investment opportunity. Or so it seemed. Now, there is this old saying that when something seems too good to be true it probably is. If you want to learn what Benford’s law is and how to apply it to uncover fraud, read on!
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COVID-19: Analyze Mobility Trends with R


The global lockdown has slowed down mobility considerably. This can be seen in the data produced by our ubiquitous mobile phones.

Apple is kind enough to make those anonymized and aggregated data available to the public. If you want to learn how to get a handle on those data and analyze trends with R read on!
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COVID-19 in the US: Back-of-the-Envelope Calculation of Actual Infections and Future Deaths


One of the biggest problems of the COVID-19 pandemic is that there are no reliable numbers of infections. This fact renders many model projections next to useless.

If you want to get to know a simple method how to roughly estimate the real number of infections and expected deaths in the US, read on!
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Collider Bias, or: Are Hot Babes Dim and Eggheads Ugly?


Correlation and its associated challenges don’t lose their fascination: most people know that correlation doesn’t imply causation, not many people know that the opposite is also true (see: Causation doesn’t imply Correlation either) and some know that correlation can just be random (so-called spurious correlation).

If you want to learn about a paradoxical effect nearly nobody is aware of, where correlation between two uncorrelated random variables is introduced just by sampling, read on!
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COVID-19: The Case of Germany

It is such a beautiful day outside, lot’s of sunshine, spring at last… and we are now basically all grounded and sitting here, waiting to get sick.

So, why not a post from the new epicentre of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Central Europe, more exactly where I live: Germany?! Indeed, if you want to find out what the numbers tell us how things might develop here, read on!
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The One Question you should ask your Partner before Marrying!


Valentine’s Day is around the corner and love is in the air… but, shock horror, nearly every second marriage ends in a divorce! Unfortunately, I can tell you first hand that this is an experience you’d rather not have. In this post, we see how data science, in the form of the OneR package and an interesting new data set, might potentially help you to avoid that tragedy… so read on!
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Psst, don’t tell anybody: The World is getting more rational!


Happy New Year to all of you! 2020 is here and it seems that we are being overwhelmed by more and more irrationality, especially fake news and conspiracy theories.

In this post, I will give you some indication that this might actually not be the case (shock horror: good news alert!). We will be using Google Trends for that: If you want to know what Google Trends is, learn how to query it from within R and process the retrieved data, read on!
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Cambridge Analytica: Microtargeting or How to catch voters with the LASSO


The two most disruptive political events of the last few years are undoubtedly the Brexit referendum to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump. Both are commonly associated with the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica and a technique known as Microtargeting.

If you want to understand the data science behind the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data scandal and Microtargeting (i.e. LASSO regression) by building a toy example in R read on!
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The Rich didn’t earn their Wealth, they just got Lucky


Tomorrow, on the First of May, many countries celebrate the so called International Workers’ Day (or Labour Day): time to talk about the unequal distribution of wealth again, so read on!
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