Taoiseach Enda Kenny. The Government’s “momentum” has been halted with a drop in the latest ‘Irish Times’ poll. But does it even exist? Bu  Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

What does it usually mean? The impetus gained by a moving object. What does it mean in this election? The theory that, if a candidate or party has(...)

Margin of error . . .  an opinion poll on Greece’s bailout referendum published on Friday before the vote pointed to a slight lead for the Yes vote – the result was a resounding No. Photograph: Reuters/Marko Djurica

Flash Crash, the book on high-frequency trading by Michael Lewis, provides a fascinating insight into how financial markets have been colonised by alg(...)

Republican US senator Pat Roberts cradles a baby after speaking at a Conservative Revival in Gardner, Kansas. Photograph: Dave Kaup/Reuters

Herbie Hopper is standing on a busy roadside in Wichita, Kansas, holding one end of a large yellow flag. It shows a picture of a coiled rattlesnake(...)

Too close for comfort: Kay Hagan’s opponents have used her kiss from Barack Obama last week against her. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty
Obama: kiss of death?

High on a shelf above a counter in the Raleigh Times Bar is an empty pint glass, sitting encased in front of a US presidential seal. This is the glass(...)

 Number crunching: mechanical models to predict stock market performance have shown to be consistently better than expert opinion. Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg

Simple computer models invariably trump expert human judgment, whether predicting wine prices, making medical diagnoses, analysing job performa(...)

Light brigade: Austin during SXSWi. Photograph: Michael Buckner/Getty

If you stop for a moment, say by the escalators in the cavernous convention centre in Austin, Texas, and try to take it all in, it makes no sense. (...)

Like most journalists, I’m widely regarded as an indispensable force for good in the battle to restore western civilisation. Oops, I’m co(...)

Reading the numbers: Nate Silver. Photograph: Beth Rooney/The New York Times

Nate Silver, at 34 years old, has the pale, rather awkward countenance of a man who has spent much of his time alone. The statistician was much(...)

There are many reasons why 45,000 people turn up at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas every year. Over the course of 10 d(...)