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Election of Pope Francis

The election of a new Pope was signaled on March 13, 2013 at 7:07 PM (6:07 pm UTC) by white smoke rising from the chimney above the Sistine Chapel. From an article by Tom Wright-Piersanti, The Star-Ledger:

White smoke is billowing from the chimney at the Sistine Chapel, a signal that a conclave of Roman Catholic cardinals gathered at the Vatican have selected a new leader for the 1.2 billion-member church.

The newly elected pope, chosen by his peers after two days of highly secretive deliberation, will not be identified until his name is announced to the waiting crowd in St. Peter's Square. UPDATE: Name of new pope announced

The crowd gathered in Vatican City roared when white smoke rose from the small chimney around 7:07 p.m. local time (2:07 p.m. Eastern time). The bells of St. Peter's Basilica rang out a minute later, confirming that the next pontiff had been chosen.

On Tuesday, 115 cardinals from 48 countries sequestered themselves away in the centuries-old cathedral adorned with Michelangelo's renowned frescoes. The pontiff they picked needed a two-thirds majority vote, or 77 votes.

During their time in the conclave, the cardinals were completely shut off from the outside world, spending their days in the chapel and their nights in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, a Vatican residence with 105 two-room suites and 26 single rooms.

Telephones, internet, radio, television and newspapers are all banned during the process, and the Religion News Service reported that both locations have been surrounded with signal-jamming devices to ensure secrecy.

The papacy opened unexpectedly on Feb. 11 when Pope Benedict XVI, who led the church since 2005, announced his retirement. Benedict was the first pope to resign on his own accord in nearly 600 years.

The end of Benedict's reign was embroiled in turmoil. Benedict's personal butler was convicted of stealing confidential papal documents and leaking them to an Italian journalist. In the fallout, the international media reported on alleged corruption that cost the Vatican millions, as well as stories of blackmail, sex and corruption taking place among high-ranking church officials.

The 266th pope will take the reins of a church facing a volume of challenges in the changing world. Though membership boosts in Africa and South America have helped to buoy population numbers, congregations in America and Europe continue to dwindle.

The GCP event was set for a six hour period beginning at 6:07 UTC. Several people suggested this should be a GCP event and some thought it should start with the introduction and announcement of Pope Francis. This moment is marked in the graph. The results was 21785.102 on 21600 for p = 0.186 and Z = 0.891.

Election of Pope

It is important to keep in mind that we have only a tiny statistical effect, so that it is always hard to distinguish signal from noise. This means that every "success" might be largely driven by chance, and every "null" might include a real signal overwhelmed by noise. In the long run, a real effect can be identified only by patiently accumulating replications of similar analyses.

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