What is the difference between an event that is probable and one that is highly likely?
The two terms seem mostly interchangeable, but each individual’s interpretation is actually highly subjective. That means that when stakes are high, such as for the intelligence community or for high-ranking government officials, a slight misinterpretation in the meaning of these phrases could be a matter of life and death.
Sherman Kent and the CIA
Sherman Kent, often described as the “father of intelligence analysis”, was a CIA analyst that recognized the problem of using imprecise statements of uncertainty. Particularly, Kent was jolted by how policymakers interpreted the phrase “serious possibility” in a national estimate about the odds of a Soviet attack on Yugoslavia in 1951. After asking around, he found that some thought this meant a 20% chance of attack, while others ascribed an 80% chance to the phrase. Most people were somewhere in the middle.
Inspired by Kent’s work, a later study asked 23 NATO officers to assign actual numbers to terms like “probably”, “almost certain”, “little chance”, “unlikely”, and other words of estimated probability.
The results were fascinating:
Interpretations are all over the map. The words are not precise to begin with, but it’s also worth keeping in mind that people attribute meaning to these phrases based on their personalities, backgrounds, and prior experiences. Context also matters.
How Do We Interpret These Terms?
Although the consequences are less severe for us civilians, we are stuck in the same quandary today.
We’re almost certain a deal will go through, or there’s little chance a candidate will win the presidency. People interpret these terms differently, and these small differences still impact our lives.
Reddit user zonination set out to recreate the poll to see if perceptions of words today matched up with data from the study inspired by Sherman Kent. The results below are very similar, and can help us communicate more clearly, particularly when the stakes are high.
The same idea was also taken a step further, to look at potential misunderstandings that can occur when we use phrases instead of hard numbers.
For example, one person’s a few is another person’s several:
If you want to communicate with precision, it’s best to use numbers or specific odds.
Otherwise, be aware that a term like “improbable” can have a considerable range of interpretations – from 0% to 50% – depending on who you are talking to!
Ranking the Top 100 Websites in the World
The top 100 websites ranking reveals how people around the world search for information, which services they use, and how they spend time online.
As a greater portion of the world begins to live more of their life online, the world’s top 100 websites continue to see explosive growth in their traffic numbers.
To claim even the 100th spot in this ranking, your website would need around 350 million visits in a single month. Using data from SimilarWeb, we’ve visually mapped out the top 100 biggest websites on the internet. Examining the ranking reveals a lot about how people around the world search for information, which services they use, and how they spend time online.
Note: This is a ranking of biggest websites, specifically. Brands that extend across platforms or serve the majority of their users through an app will not necessarily rank well on this list. As a result, you’ll notice the absence of companies like WeChat and Snapchat.
The Top 100 Websites
The 100 biggest websites generated a staggering 206 billion visits in June 2019. Google, YouTube, and Facebook took the top spots, followed by Baidu and Wikipedia. Below is the full ranking:
|Global Rank||Domain||Monthly visits (billions)||Parent||Country|
|1||Google.com||60.49||Alphabet Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|2||Youtube.com||24.31||Alphabet Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|3||Facebook.com||19.98||Facebook, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|4||Baidu.com||9.77||Baidu, Inc||🇨🇳 China|
|5||Wikipedia.org||4.69||Wikimedia Foundation||🇺🇸 United States|
|6||Twitter.com||3.92||Twitter, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|7||Yahoo.com||3.74||Verizon Comm. Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|9||Instagram.com||3.21||Facebook, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|10||xvideos.com||3.19||WGCZ Holding||🇨🇿 Czech Republic|
|12||ampproject.org||2.76||N/A||🇺🇸 United States|
|13||xnxx.com||2.47||WGCZ Holding||🇨🇿 Czech Republic|
|14||amazon.com||2.41||Amazon.com, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|15||live.com||2.25||Microsoft Corporation||🇺🇸 United States|
|16||vk.com||2.16||Mail.ru Group||🇷🇺 Russia|
|17||netflix.com||1.81||Netflix, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|19||whatsapp.com||1.76||Facebook, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|20||mail.ru||1.64||Mail.ru Group||🇷🇺 Russia|
|21||Reddit.com||1.55||Advance Publications||🇺🇸 United States|
|22||yahoo.co.jp||1.5||Verizon Comm. Inc||🇯🇵 Japan|
|23||google.com.br||1.38||Alphabet Inc||🇧🇷 Brazil|
|24||bing.com||1.32||Microsoft Corporation||🇺🇸 United States|
|25||ok.ru||1.08||Mail.ru Group||🇷🇺 Russia|
|26||xhamster.com||1.06||Hammy Media Ltd||🇨🇾 Cyprus|
|27||sogou.com||1||Tencent, Sohu Inc||🇨🇳 China|
|28||ebay.com||0.95||eBay Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|29||bit.ly||0.95||Spectrum Equity||🇺🇸 United States|
|30||twitch.tv||0.91||Amazon.com, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|31||linkedin.com||0.91||Microsoft Corporation||🇺🇸 United States|
|32||samsung.com||0.89||Samsung Group||🇰🇷 South Korea|
|33||sm.cn||0.81||Alibaba Group||🇨🇳 China|
|34||msn.com||0.8||Microsoft Corporation||🇺🇸 United States|
|35||office.com||0.79||Microsoft Corporation||🇺🇸 United States|
|36||globo.com||0.74||Grupo Globo||🇧🇷 Brazil|
|37||taobao.com||0.74||Alibaba Group||🇨🇳 China|
|38||pinterest.com||0.74||Pinterest, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|39||google.de||0.73||Alphabet Inc||🇩🇪 Germany|
|40||Microsoft.com||0.72||Microsoft Corporation||🇺🇸 United States|
|41||accuweather.com||0.71||AccuWeather Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|42||naver.com||0.64||Naver Corporation||🇰🇷 South Korea|
|43||aliexpress.com||0.64||Alibaba Group||🇨🇳 China|
|44||fandom.com||0.61||Wikia Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|45||quora.com||0.58||Quora Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|46||github.com||0.57||Microsoft Corporation||🇺🇸 United States|
|47||imdb.com||0.57||Amazon.com, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|48||uol.com.br||0.56||Grupo Folha||🇧🇷 Brazil|
|49||docomo.ne.jp||0.56||Tata Teleservices||🇯🇵 Japan|
|51||bbc.co.uk||0.55||Public owned||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|53||paypal.com||0.53||Paypal||🇺🇸 United States|
|54||google.fr||0.53||Alphabet Inc||🇫🇷 France|
|55||yidianzixun.com||0.51||Particle Inc||🇨🇳 China|
|56||wordpress.com||0.51||Automattic||🇺🇸 United States|
|57||news.google.com||0.51||Alphabet Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|59||duckduckgo.com||0.51||Duck Duck Go, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|60||google.co.uk||0.51||Alphabet Inc||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|61||10086.cn||0.5||China Mobile||🇨🇳 China|
|62||iqiyi.com||0.5||Baidu, Inc||🇨🇳 China|
|63||booking.com||0.5||Booking Holdings||🇺🇸 United States|
|64||amazon.co.jp||0.49||Amazon.com, Inc||🇯🇵 Japan|
|65||cricbuzz.com||0.49||Times Internet||🇮🇳 India|
|66||taboola.com||0.48||Taboola Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|67||amazon.de||0.48||Amazon.com, Inc||🇩🇪 Germany|
|68||cnn.com||0.47||Turner Broadcasting||🇺🇸 United States|
|69||jd.com||0.47||Various (Tencent 20%)||🇨🇳 China|
|70||apple.com||0.47||Apple Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|71||google.it||0.45||Alphabet Inc||🇮🇹 Italy|
|72||bilibili.com||0.44||Bilibili Inc||🇨🇳 China|
|73||google.co.jp||0.44||Alphabet Inc||🇯🇵 Japan|
|74||livejasmin.com||0.44||Docler Group||🇱🇺 Luxembourg|
|75||tmall.com||0.44||Alibaba Group||🇨🇳 China|
|76||news.yahoo.co.jp||0.44||Verizon Comm. Inc||🇯🇵 Japan|
|77||youtu.be||0.44||Alphabet Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|78||tribunnews.com||0.43||Kompas Gramedia Group||🇮🇩 Indonesia|
|79||amazon.co.uk||0.43||Amazon.com, Inc||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|80||chaturbate.com||0.43||Multi Media LLC||🇺🇸 United States|
|81||google.co.in||0.41||Alphabet Inc||🇮🇳 India|
|82||craigslist.org||0.41||Craigslist||🇺🇸 United States|
|83||imgur.com||0.41||Imgur Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|84||bbc.com||0.41||Public owned||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|85||fc2.com||0.39||FC2, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|88||tumblr.com||0.37||Verizon||🇺🇸 United States|
|89||foxnews.com||0.36||Fox Corporation||🇺🇸 United States|
|90||rakuten.co.jp||0.36||Rakuten Inc||🇯🇵 Japan|
|91||google.es||0.36||Alphabet Inc||🇪🇸 Spain|
|92||outbrain.com||0.36||Outbrain Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|93||discordapp.com||0.36||Various||🇺🇸 United States|
|94||amazon.in||0.35||Amazon.com, Inc||🇮🇳 India|
|96||weather.com||0.34||Landmark Media Enterprises, LLC||🇺🇸 United States|
|98||youku.com||0.34||Alibaba Group||🇨🇳 China|
|99||adobe.com||0.34||Adobe Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
Search Reigns Supreme
Search engines provide the connective tissue that binds the internet together, and they accounted for the majority of website traffic in the top 100 ranking.
Google is the undisputed top website in nearly every country in the world. In fact, Alphabet’s 11 domains in the top 100 ranking – including YouTube and a number of international versions of Google – racked up an impressive 90 billion visits in a single month.
Exceptions to Google’s dominance can be found in China (Baidu) and Russia (Yandex), where homegrown search engines have managed to capture the domestic market.
One scrappy competitor, DuckDuckGo, is slowly gaining prominence as an alternative to Google. The search engine’s focus on user privacy appears to be resonating with internet users as the site’s traffic has surpassed 500 million visits per month.
Full Stream Ahead
Video streaming and sharing is another major driver of global internet traffic.
Thanks to high-powered phones and bigger data plans, video is now a prominent portion of internet content consumption. This can take a few forms, from binge watching TV shows on Netflix to short-form video uploads on platforms like Douyin and Instagram.
Live streaming is increasingly a bigger part of the mix. Twitch, which is focused on gaming, is now ranked 30th in the world in web traffic. The Amazon-owned platform is now so popular that on any given night, its viewership surpasses many of the major U.S. cable networks.
Of course, this category also includes adult content, which is well represented in this ranking. XNXX, XVideos, and PornHub all made the top 20, and the three websites combined for over nine billion visits in the most recent month of data available.
Old Dogs, New Tricks
Classic web portals such as MSN and Yahoo are still putting up impressive traffic numbers, but major players are increasingly staying relevant by acquiring rising internet stars.
In the case of Microsoft, acquiring Github and Linkedin helped the company target new markets and grow their overall presence online. Amazon’s acquisition of Twitch proved to be a good bet, and Instagram continues to breathe new life into Facebook, which has seen a backlash focused on its original namesake social network.
The project is not without controversy though.
Critics point out that cached AMP pages – which are hosted by Google – essentially cut out content creators, and that non-compliant pages may lose their ranking on mobile search results. As the project moves towards becoming a foundation, it remains to be seen how AMP will evolve and how much involvement Google will have in the future.
The Geography of the Top 100 Websites
The internet may be a global network, but many of the gatekeepers are still located in the United States. If international domain suffixes of companies like Amazon and Google are counted, 60 of the 100 websites in the ranking are American.
Below is a breakdown of the Top 100 by country.
China is a strong runner-up, with 15 websites in the Top 100. While most of these Chinese companies are focused on the sizable domestic market, some are also making global inroads through investment. Tencent has partially backed the fast-growing chat platform, Discord, and it also has double-digit stakes in Snapchat and Spotify.
With the exception of Baidu, all of the biggest websites in the world have swelled in size by serving a global audience. As the tech market continues to mature in China, it remains to be seen whether Chinese companies can successfully move beyond the firewall to become the next Facebook or Google.
Correction: Bilibili, a website run by a Chinese company, was incorrectly identified as a Japanese company.
Visualized: The Mass of the Entire Solar System
This interactive data visualization illustrates how the different planetary objects in our solar system compare based on their individual masses.
Visualized: The Mass of the Entire Solar System
In space, everything feels weightless due to the lack of gravity.
So how do you measure the weight of objects in space? You don’t. When it comes to the cosmos, all that matters is mass.
Today’s interactive data visualization comes from Reddit user Ranger-UK, and is designed by Daniel Caroli. It delves into the different masses which make up our solar system, and how they all compare in size.
A Star Is Born
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Sun eclipses all other nearby objects by mass. At the heart of our solar system, this yellow dwarf’s gravity is what holds it all together.
The Sun actually makes up 99.8% of our entire solar system’s mass — and we’re lucky to be living in the other 0.2%. Responsible for all life on Earth, it’s no wonder that various cultures have worshiped the Sun throughout history, and even dedicated deities to it.
Currently in its middle years — the sun is over four billion years old, and it’s predicted to remain stable for another five billion years. After this, it will overtake the orbits of Mercury and Venus and then shrink back to the size of a white dwarf.
Out Of This World
The gas giants are all more than ten times as massive as Earth, even though they’re mainly made up of hydrogen and helium. They dominate the Solar System’s real estate — once the Sun is taken out of the equation, of course.
In order, here’s how the planets stack up:
|Jupiter||Gas giant||1,898,600 x 10²¹ kg||69,911 ±6 km||1.326g/cm³|
|Saturn||Gas giant||568,460 x 10²¹ kg||58,232 ±6 km (*without rings)||0.687g/cm³|
|Neptune||Gas giant||102,430 x 10²¹ kg||24,622 ±19 km||1.638g/cm³|
|Uranus||Gas giant||86,832 x 10²¹ kg||25,362 ±7 km||1.27g/cm³|
|Earth||Terrestrial planet||5,974 x 10²¹ kg||6.371 ±0.01 km||5.514g/cm³|
|Venus||Terrestrial planet||4,869 x 10²¹ kg||6,051.8 ±1 km (*without gas)||5.243g/cm³|
|Mars||Terrestrial planet||642 x 10²¹ kg||3,389.5 ±0.2 km||3.9335g/cm³|
|Mercury||Terrestrial planet||330 x 10²¹ kg||2,439.7 ±1 km||5.427g/cm³|
Satellites Out of Control
The further away from the Sun you go, the more moons can be found orbiting planets. Earth’s singular moon is the fifth largest of almost 200 natural satellites found in the solar system.
Mars has two moons that don’t make it into the visualization above due to their low masses:
- Phobos: 1.08×10^16 kg
- Deimos: 2.0×10^15 kg
Here’s a breakdown of some other moons out there:
Total named: 53
Biggest moons: Ganymede, Callisto, Io, Europa
These four can be seen easily with some help from binoculars.
Total named: 53
Biggest moons: Titan, Rhea, Iapetus, Dione, and Tethys
Total named: 27
Biggest moons: Titania, Oberon, Ariel, Umbriel
Total named: 14
Biggest moon: Triton, which is as big as the dwarf planet Pluto.
Pluto and some “leftovers” of the solar system lie in the distant region of the doughnut-shaped Kuiper belt, between 30 to 50 astronomical units (AU) away. Beginning at the orbit of Neptune, the belt encompasses some of those objects in the visualization categorized as “other”.
So far, we’ve only managed to set foot on our own moon. NASA’s Opportunity rover helped us explore the Red Planet virtually for over 14 years, while the Curiosity is still going strong.
Who knows what else lurks beyond the edges of our solar system?
It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth… I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
— Neil Armstrong, looking back at the Earth from the Moon (July 1969)
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