From the monthly archives:

August 2009

Processing

August 28, 2009

John Maeda has written an article for the MIT Technology Review about Processing, the open source visualization language. It's a very interesting look into the story behind the code. Maeda is the president of the Rhode Island School of Design and was once the director of MIT's Media Lab, where Processing was born. Lately, I've […]

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Twitterverse demographics

August 28, 2009

I spoke too soon - another post from ReadWriteWeb manages to frustrate yet again. In an article claiming that teenage use of Twitter is on the rise, they present this chart: Let's do what RWW did not and actually think about what this graph is showing. For each age group, their use of Twitter is […]

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What passes for news

August 28, 2009

ReadWriteWeb takes 600 words to conclude: What this means for Twitter is that the online chatter taking place on the popular microblogging site, while still an important vector for studying sentiment, is not powerful enough on its own to truly impact the overall success or failure of a movie. Really?! Does this mean there are […]

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A real traffic network

August 25, 2009

Traffic (and cars more generally) are a particular interest of mine - both the algorithmic component (path finding and navigation) and the behavioral/mechanical side (see here). Today, Google announced that they are now crowdsourcing traffic data in Google Maps. This represents a fantastic use of technology, and one which I've often wondered why no one has […]

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Roombaspotting

August 25, 2009

Paul Mathew at signaltheorist.com describes how he attached an LED to his new Roomba and tracked its motion around his room: There's a lot of processing going on inside that seemingly bumbling robot... [via Cool Infographics]

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Insult upon injury

August 24, 2009

The Mets just can't catch a break: On a day when Mets starter Oliver Perez allowed six runs in the first inning, the Mets were in a position to win in the ninth with one swing of the bat, only to be thwarted by one of the rarest plays in baseball. Eric Bruntlett pulled off […]

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Monday light reading: Stevens' power law

August 24, 2009

A post on Junk Charts sent me reading about Stevens' power law, which supplies a quantification of a problem I've discussed before: the danger of representing single-dimensional data with two-dimensional graphics. Stevens' law measures the amount by which humans over- or under-perceive a stimulus, relative to its actual intensity. For example, the coefficient for "visual […]

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Greater fool theory

August 21, 2009

Today's Dilbert: I think the last panel could stand alone.

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The million dollar question

August 20, 2009

Straight from GigaOm, emphasis mine: Despite all the hype and excitement around the real-time web, access to real-time information online is hardly a new phenomenon. That fact stuck with me after talking to Chris Cox, Facebook’s product director, last week at the social networking company’s headquarters. As he noted, “Real time has been around since [the […]

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An unhelpful VIX

August 19, 2009

A post at Vix and More includes the following graph of the VIX and the forward-looking 21-day realized volatility: The post discusses the fact that realized vol has remained well below implied vol, but I think there's a much more interesting facet to this chart. First, consider what is being plotted: the VIX, marked in […]

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Modelling interactions

August 18, 2009

Andrew Gelman's latest post highlights the importance of interactions. He includes this breakdown of where people fall depending on political party, ideology, and income: Consider the income dimension. Among liberals, the income curve is flat no matter whether the person is a Democrat, Independent or Republican. For conservatives, however, income has a large effect - […]

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Manhattan in flux

August 13, 2009

A very nice graphic is making the rounds (though I believe it originated in a 2007 issue of Time Magazine) which shows Manhattan's population density by day and by night. The difference is striking: Happily, the density bars mimic the placement of Manhattan's skyscrapers - this follows because obviously the tallest buildings support the highest […]

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R style guide

August 13, 2009

Google has posted a style guide for R which is being used throughout the organization. It's mostly in line with what I learned once upon a time, but it's nice to see such an authoritative body coming out with a set of standards. Universal coding benefits everyone, and R is growing so rapidly that some […]

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Deconstructing the Gaussian copula, part III

August 11, 2009

The intuition behind copula models: dependence, correlation, single factors and more.

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Deconstructing the Gaussian copula, part II and a half

August 11, 2009

An aside on static recovery assumptions in CDO pricing.

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Kansas, obviously.

August 11, 2009

Jalopnik's QOTD: What's the worst state to drive across?

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Cash for who?

August 11, 2009

A visualization from GOOD of the top 10 trade-ins and new vehicles under the "Cash for Clunkers" program reveals an interesting fact: The top 10 trade-ins include 5 Fords, 2 Chevys, 2 Jeeps and a Dodge. You might recognize those names - they used to be powerhouse American brands. Meanwhile, the top 10 new cars […]

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Statistics: desired and feared?

August 10, 2009

My former department chair, Xiao-Li Meng, has published an excellent article on the emergent role of statistics and the challenge of teaching the science to non-statisticians. He addresses the negative perception of the field, often ingrained by a poor high school experience and summed up in a dismissive scoff that "the best speaker in statistics" […]

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Bell curves in action

August 6, 2009

An exhibit at MOMA invites visitors to mark their heights on a wall. A normal distribution results: Well, not quite. The distribution is actually slightly negatively skewed by the confounding presence of children, who are obviously shorter than adults - you can see this in the great number of names well below the central band which […]

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Dronish number nerds

August 6, 2009

It's still not too late for Stats 101: The NYTimes published an article this morning titled "For Today's Graduate, Just One Word: Statistics." Of course I love to see articles like this, cognizant of the massive amounts of data we are faced we and acknowledging the efforts of the people trying to sort it all out: In […]

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A deathly serious game

August 6, 2009

The FT provides a tool for simulating the spread of an infectious disease. Though they caution that the model is not based on any complex algorithm, simplicity should not be mistaken for error. Even a simple routing scheme like this one can capture many of the dynamics of the underlying process, as it doesn't take […]

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Untangling charts

August 6, 2009

House Minority Leader Boehner recently released this "infographic" (I use the term loosely) in order to demonstrate his frustration with the House Democrats's heath proposal: The chart really is an absolute nightmare: the colors, layout, and hidden connections contribute to an absolutely impossible-to-read image, which is exactly what Rep Boehner wants. Recently, Robert Palmer, a […]

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Mapping Seinfeld

August 6, 2009

Posted as a public service following this announcement (click to zoom): via Daily Fill.

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Steve Duenes @ SIGGRAPH'09

August 5, 2009

Steve Duenes, Graphic Director at the NYT, gave the keynote address at SIGGRAPH today. He and his team are at the forefront of modern data visualization. Their techniques are innovative, meticulous, and most importantly crystal clear - it's no surprise that every graphic they publish wins accolades across the web. So far the only description […]

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Test driving America's dashboard

August 3, 2009

Recently, the CIO of the United States released a Federal IT Dashboard, to show people exactly how their money is being spent. I've played with the site, and found it ultimately heavy on style and light on substance (3D graphs with slick animated transitions only frustrate me while I wait for results). But why read […]

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