The famous Golden Arches

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Founded in California, McDonald’s is undeniably the most popular fast food chain in the world. The famous Golden Arches have become a familiar sight in almost every town around the world. This is the largest fast food chain globally, both in terms of revenue and brand value.

According to information published at, the revenue of McDonald’s reached more than $28 billion in 2013. In 2014 and 2015, the global revenue of the largest fast food company amounted to $27.44 and $25.41 billion respectively.

McDonald’s spends a huge amount of money on advertising. As we can see on the timeline below, McDonald’s spent approximately $1.24 billion on advertising in the U.S. in 2009. This amount increased to $1.3 billion in 2010. The widely-recognized fast food restaurant invested more than $1.35 billion in 2011, but in 2012 increased its advertising spending even more – $1.42 billion in the U.S. The company’s spending increased to $1.43 billion the next year, but slightly fell back to $1.42 billion in 2014. Two years ago (in 2015), the advertising investment of McDonald’s Corporation in the United States was approximately $1.43 billion.

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Gun crime in Chicago: 2017 report

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

In 2017, Chicago had the most gun violence related incidents among all U.S. cities. Safety is becoming more and more important to the city’s residents, as well as anyone looking to move to the city.

Just look at the raw numbers: There were 2,547 shootings with at least one victim (excluding accidental ones). In total, 539 people were killed and 2,626 were injured. The most shootings (291) happened in July, while the fewest happened in March (144).

Chicago gun crime by month

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The return of the vinyl: a period of constant growth in sales

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

In recent years, vinyl album sales in the United Sales began rapidly growing. In 2011, 3.9 million vinyl LPs were sold in the United States — in 2012, the number grew to 4.6 million vinyl LPs. In 2013 and 2014, the numbers of albums sold on vinyl amounted to 6.1 million and 9.2 million respectively. In 2015, the number rose to 11.9 million vinyl LPs and reached its peak of 13.1 million vinyl albums last year.


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Police officer fatalities: facts and figures

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

In five years, 565 law enforcements workers died in work-related incidents. Most of them were police officers. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s website is an excellent source for detailed reports.

The general statistics are also provided by the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.

According to the data available, there are two main fatality causes.  The most common cause is shooting (by other people, excluding suicides), with 196 cases. Roadway incidents are also very common, with 183 cases.

The good news is that there are small, but statistically significant, negative trends for both types of incidents. Actually, both numbers reached their historic lows recently. In 2013, only 33 fatal roadway incidents occurred, and 26 officers were shot.

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The vegan lifestyle: Is it healthy or not?

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

A healthy lifestyle has become a kind of fashion in the modern world; the vegan lifestyle is one of the trends. According to the results of a survey that asked consumers globally if they follow vegan diets in 2016, about 2 percent of the respondents from North America stated that they are vegans. The same percent was recorded in Europe. The share of people from Latin America who indicated that they follow a vegan diet was 4 percent.

In that year, some 6 percent of respondents from Africa and the Middle East followed a vegan diet. The largest percentage of people who are vegans was recorded in the Asia-Pacific region — 9 percent of the respondents stated themselves as vegans.


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U.S. economic growth: gross domestic product

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

Gross domestic product is commonly used to measure the economic performance of a country. GDP equals the value of all the goods and services produced in the economy minus the value of any goods or services used during the production process. Another name for this quantity is “value added.” Recently, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released data on GDP by industry for 2016. Today we will look at this data to see different industries’ contributions to the U.S. economy’s growth in the last year.

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How good is the Prosper borrower rating?

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

For a regular investor, the single most important field in the Prosper dataset is the Prosper borrower rating. This is an estimate of a borrower’s creditworthiness based on various other metrics, including employment length, number of open accounts, prior delinquencies and many others. Based on the aggregate score, the borrowers are then split into seven groups: AA, A, B and so on. Alternatively, an investor may use numerical ratings ranging from 1 to 7, with 7 corresponding to the safest, most trustworthy borrowers.

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Digital news and social media

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

We are living in the era of digital news. If you follow the news, there is a strong likelihood that you receive it through the digital media. There are a few main native digital news organizations in the United States.

According to the information that was published at in 2014, the largest digital news organization in the U.S. was Vice with 1,100 editorial staff (including full-time staff). The Huffington Post employed 575 full-time editorial staff, while the number of people employed by Politico and BuzzFeed amounted to 186 and 170 respectively. The editorial staff of Bleacher Report amounted to 140 employees. Gawker employed 132 people, while Mashable and Business Insider had the same number of full-time editorial staff (70 employees).


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The nation on the move slows down

Kristine Barseghyan

Kristine Barseghyan, Ph.D. (ABD) Social Sciences

People in the United States are more geographically mobile than in any other western country — at least they used to be. The idea that one can choose to move to a place that promises better life has been an important part of American life. For more than 40 percent of Americans who change their address every five years,[i] mobility is a lifestyle.

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Telling stories through data