Posts Tagged ‘ Current Affairs ’

Chatting with Facebook scientists about charting

October 15, 2014
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Chatting with Facebook scientists about charting

I had the pleasure of visiting the Facebook data science team last week, and we spent some time chatting about visual communication, something they care as much about as I do. Solomon reported about our conversation in this blog post....

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Count data are less useful than you think

October 14, 2014
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Count data are less useful than you think

A lot of Big Data analyses default to analyzing count data, e.g. number of searches of certain keywords, number of page views, number of clicks, number of complaints, etc. Doing so throws away much useful information, and frequently leads to bad analyses. *** I was reminded of the limitation of count data when writing about the following chart, which I praised on my sister blog as a good example of…

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Pondering OCCAM data in medicine

October 9, 2014
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Pondering OCCAM data in medicine

The New York Times Magazine has a pretty good piece about the use of OCCAM data to solve medical questions, like diagnosis and drug selection. I'm happy that it paints a balanced picture of both the promise and the pitfalls. Here are some thoughts in my head as I read this piece: Small samples coupled with small effects pose a design problem in traditional clinical trials. The subjects of the…

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Princeton’s loss of nerve

October 2, 2014
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Princeton’s loss of nerve

I have earlier reported that Princeton's new President has initiated a review of their "grade deflation" policy that was put in almost ten years ago. As you may recall (link), grading in U.S. colleges has become a farce: at top-tier schools, getting an A means you are an average student; not getting an A is many times more informative than getting an A. The new administration at Princeton has now…

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Relevance, to you or me: a response to Cairo

September 15, 2014
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Relevance, to you or me: a response to Cairo

Alberto Cairo discussed a graphic by the New York Times on the slowing growth of Medicare spending (link). The chart on the top is published, depicting the quite dramatic flattening of the growth in average spending over the last years--average...

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Playing with orientation and style

September 8, 2014
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Playing with orientation and style

I saw this nifty chart in the Wall Street Journal last week. The Post Office is competing with Fedex and UPS on pricing. The nice feature about this small dataset is that the story is very clear. In almost every...

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Background on my new 538 article on restaurant health grades

September 3, 2014
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Background on my new 538 article on restaurant health grades

Some behind-the-scenes comments on my recent article on New York's restaurant inspection grades; it appeared on FiveThirtyEight this Tuesday. *** The Nature of Ratings This article is about the ratings of things. I devoted a considerable amount of pages to this topic in Numbersense (link) - Chapter 1 is all about the US News ranking of schools. A few key points are: All rating schemes are completely subjective. There is…

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Light entertainment: a splash of colors just in time for Labor Day frolicks

August 28, 2014
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Light entertainment: a splash of colors just in time for Labor Day frolicks

Via Dean Eckles on Twitter. We have this from Vox: Have a great Labor Day! And thanks for keeping this blog alive.

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People are happier in some parts of the country as Labor Day nears

August 27, 2014
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People are happier in some parts of the country as Labor Day nears

An anonymous reader sent in a Type V critique of the following map of July unemployment rates by state. The map was published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and used in a recent article in Vox. Matt @...

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Davenport on targeted marketing

August 13, 2014
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Tom Davenport is one of the leading voices on business analytics, and he has a new piece titled "Why are most 'targeted' marketing offers so bad?" in which he expanded on a question I raised in my HBR article. Tom's book Competing on Analytics is a classic. He has a great appreciation for the business of the data business. In the new feature, Davenport classifies marketing offers he gets into…

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