About Principally Uncertain

Principally Uncertain is a community for people who like to actively question the world around them.  We hope “to edify and entertain” in equal measure.

We are a research organization and data journalism magazine focusing on politics and pop culture that tries to merge evidence-based journalism and academic research methods with a language and tone that appeals to a wide audience. It is a company dedicated to the ongoing democratization of research and that features an interdisciplinary suite of methodologies reflective of the diverse academic backgrounds of its team (PhDs in applied mathematics, history and anthropology, political science, human-computer interaction, and computer science). One of our core methods is to combine the research questions and analytical framework of the social sciences with the processing power of data science to answer questions in a way that solely qualitative or quantitative organizations do not.

We also strongly believe research is most effective when paired with accessible, entertaining, articulate writing from a range of voices and perspectives. Our mission is to foster a vibrant community to create and distribute intelligent writing and research in the mold of the FiveThirtyEight and the Atlantic but also to snarkily entertain our audience in the vein of the Oatmeal and xkcd.

How is Principally Uncertain different from all those other statsy sites?

The difference is you, dear audience. (Seriously).

Our research projects and articles are designed to be collaborative. See something that piques your interest and have an idea of what to do next? Go for it! Our audience is an integral part of the site, contributors to the research process. They are not a labor force or an advertising demographic. This is not simply lip service; readers have a material influence on the content of the site. Your curiosity and feedback determine the very questions we ask.

Minions of the Coming Cephalopod Revolution

Patrick Zimmerman

Patrick W. Zimmerman

A historian and anthropologist interested in the connections between mass culture and the social and political contexts in which it exists.  Responsibilities include justifying overeducation, gastronomic experimentation, and keeping Mini Zed alive and generally entertained. Writing / Research / Editing / Community / Analytics / Web Design


Ashley Rivas

I’m a nutter butter looking to explore the darkest depths of why gaming is so amazing, and how I can work on contributing awesome games to the world at large in the future.  The list of hobbies is long, but I focus on art, cosplay, and all things Pokemon. Writing / Research / Editing / Community / Comics / Aesthetics

Courtney Wasserburger

Courtney Wasserburger

I am a dog lover  and dog hair hater. I love movies that make me think and podcasts that address social theory. I am invested in creating positive experiences – online and in real life. I value education almost as much as I value Kanye West. Community / Web Design


Rich Sharp

Math guy by day and father by nights and weekends. Day job: bean counter; parenting style: teach them to count like the Count; other interests: cycling, backpacking, amateur gastronomist, ornithologist, icthiologist (specimen collection), bibliophile, cinephile, oenophile, zyhtophile, amante del caffè, and pun aficionado/literal absurdist/Brooksian. Favorite octopus: pulpo a la gallega, although à la barbie at the Sydney Fish Market is pretty good too. Research / Writing / Cephalopod Affairs / Capitalism

Sponsored by the Optimists League of Aleutia

Helen Harris

I fight for the users! HCI researcher working for the Googly by day, coordinating the San Francisco Bay Area’s social life by night. User Experience / Sanity Checks / Beer consumption / 1B


Thor Johnson

Long-haired demigod dabbling in Computer Science this century. Son of Odin. Part-time softball jack-of-all-trades. Magician. Webmaster / Wandering the Earth / Server herder / Colombian Peacemaker

Additional thanks to: Sarah Thompson-Peer and Linnea Williams.

Got a question, comment, or idea? Send us a message!

    Snail mail: snail-mail Principally Uncertain PO Box 720039 San Francisco, CA 94172