Posts Tagged ‘ data ’

Statistical thinking on my subway commute

August 16, 2016
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So I recently moved and needed to find the optimal subway ride up to Columbia. I have been go back and forth between my two choices to collect some data to help make up my mind. Both routes require two train exchanges but only the first leg differs. In other words: Route 1 : A -> B -> C Route 2 : X -> B -> C Here, the "nodes"…

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Know your data 19: don’t tell me you are 2 blocks away when you are 20 blocks away

August 11, 2016
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Well, it didn't take long but private investigators have found the next big thing: Big Data. Bloomberg reported on a company called IDI, who sells our data to private investigators. (link) Unfortunately, this article is short on details and long on sensationalized catchphrases ("Every move you make. Every click you take...") The CEO of IDI boasted that "We have data on that 21-year-old who’s living at home with mom and…

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Apple Watch users overwhelmingly satisfied, says a survey of satisfied users

July 27, 2016
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Apple Watch users overwhelmingly satisfied, says a survey of satisfied users

As word of plummeting sales of Apple Watch spread around last week, an entrepreneur went on Medium to sing a different tune: his survey apparently uncovered a "paradox" - Apple Watch users are "overwhelmingly satisfied, yet not recommending" the product. The "overwhelming" bit comes from this chart: This data portray a hugely successful product in which almost nobody expressed any negative feelings. This next chart is even more impressive. Apparently,…

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What happened when I was forced to wait 30 minutes for the subway

July 18, 2016
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What happened when I was forced to wait 30 minutes for the subway: pondering how easy it is for data analysts to get fooled by bad data

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Ethical dilemmas in data science and analytics

July 5, 2016
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Ethical dilemmas in data science and analytics

About half a year ago, when my article on ethics in data science appeared on Harvard Business Review, the second half of the piece was dropped. In the omitted section, I had designed a poll inviting readers to opine on several ethical dilemmas facing real-world data analysts. In April, Manoj Chari read my HBR article and kindly invited me to speak on the subject at the INFORMS Analytics Conference, and…

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A Tufte fix for austerity

June 29, 2016
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A Tufte fix for austerity

Trish, who attended one of my recent data visualization workshops, submitted a link to the Illinois Atlas of Austerity. Shown on the right is one of the charts included in the presentation. This is an example of a chart that...

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Raining, data art, if it ain’t broke

June 22, 2016
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Raining, data art, if it ain’t broke

Via Twitter, reader Joe D. asked a few of us to comment on the SparkRadar graphic by WeatherSpark. At the time of writing, the picture for Baltimore is very pretty: The picture for New York is not as pretty but...

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Your emails are being read (though I also think this is a hoax)

June 20, 2016
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CNBC reports that Goldman Sachs flags employee emails based on a long list of "offending" phrases. If an employee types a profanity, apparently a window pops up to confirm that the person really truly wants to say that word. The other objective given is to detect fraudulent behavior. The list they published apparently came from 2008, so very aged, but I think it is a hoax. Many of the terms…

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An example of terrible analytics report design

June 1, 2016
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In the business analytics universe, the discipline of "business intelligence" is often frowned upon. Business intelligence is primarily generating reports on business metrics, tracking them over time, and producing ad-hoc analyses explaining these trends. People often complain that such work is not challenging and not sexy. There is a stigma that BI work is data dumping. In reality, good BI work is rare and extremely valuable. Horrible BI work is…

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Tip of the day: don’t be Theranosed

May 23, 2016
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Theranos (v): to spin stories that appeal to data while not presenting any data To be Theranosed is to fall for scammers who tell stories appealing to data but do not present any actual data. This is worse than story time, in which the storyteller starts out with real data but veers off mid-stream into unsubstantiated froth, hoping you and I got carried away by the narrative flow. Theranos (n):…

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