Posts Tagged ‘ Business ’

The idol worship of objective data is damaging our discipline

October 28, 2016
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In class last week, I discussed this New York Times article with the students. One of the claims in the article is that the U.S. News ranking of colleges is under threat by newcomers whose rankings are more relevant because they more directly measure outcomes such as earnings of graduates. This specific claim in the article makes me head hurt: "If nothing else, earnings are objective and, as the database…

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Denver outspends everyone on this

October 24, 2016
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Denver outspends everyone on this

Someone at the Wall Street Journal noticed that Denver's transit agency has outspent other top transit agencies, after accounting for number of rides -- and by a huge margin. But the accompanying graphic conspires against the journalist. For one thing,...

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Why are GMAT scores going up?

October 11, 2016
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In Chapter 1 of Numbersense (link), I went through an extensive list of shenanigans that can be used to trick the rankings of colleges and graduate schools. One of them is to allow students to submit the maximum of repeated sittings of GREs, LSATs, GMATs, etc. This tactic is unabashedly headlined in a recent Wall Street Journal article, "Test Redos Give GMAT Scores a Lift." (link) In the print edition,…

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Data is the next frontier of equal rights

October 3, 2016
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When I rented my first apartment in the U.S., there were two things about American society that left an impression. It was super easy to get credit. My parents had the foresight of making sure we build up a credit history while in college, which helped. But, from setting up cable TV to signing a rental lease, these businesses showed a lot of trust to someone who was earning a…

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Depicting imbalance, straying from the standard chart

September 19, 2016
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Depicting imbalance, straying from the standard chart

My friend Tonny M. sent me a tip to two pretty nice charts depicting the state of U.S. healthcare spending (link). The first shows U.S. as an outlier: This chart is a replica of the Lane Kenworthy chart, with some...

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Graphical inequity ruins the chart

September 9, 2016
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Graphical inequity ruins the chart

This Economist chart has a great concept but I find it difficult to find the story: (link) I am a fan of color-coding the text as they have done here so that part is good. The journalist has this neat...

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Know your data 20: trust and distrust in our surveillance society

September 5, 2016
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A very important article from the Times starts with the following sentence: Want to invisibly spy on 10 iPhone owners without their knowledge? Gather their every keystroke, sound, message and location? That will cost you $650,000, plus a $500,000 setup fee with an Israeli outfit called the NSO Group. In the U.S., there is a disconnect between a populace whose distrust of government is at an all-time high and the…

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Thank you Buzzfeed for noticing us humans

August 31, 2016
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My friend John R. sent me this excellent Buzzfeed feature on music playlists. Here are some choice quotes to whet your appetite: In 2014, when Tim Cook explained Apple’s stunning $3 billion purchase of Beats by repeatedly invoking its “very rare and hard to find” team of music experts, he was talking about these guys. And their efforts since, which have pointed toward curated playlists (specifically, an industrial-scale trove of…

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Quote of the month

August 23, 2016
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In a post titled "GIGO" (for those who don't like acronyms, Garbage In, Garbage Out), Andrew Gelman wrote this gem: as long as the “garbage out” gets media attention, there will always be somebody willing to supply the “garbage in.” The general drift of that post, and the previous one that led me to it, is a critique of the management consulting industry. Having worked in that industry earlier in…

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Brexit, Bremain, the world did not end so dataviz people can throw shade and color

August 22, 2016
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Brexit, Bremain, the world did not end so dataviz people can throw shade and color

Catching a dose of Alberto Cairo the other day. He has a good post about various Brexit/Bremain maps. The story started with an editor of The Spectator, who went on twitter to make the claim that the map on the...

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