From the monthly archives:

May 2010

Thoughts on e-reading

May 31, 2010

As it happens, my primary use for my iPad is as an e-reader (eReader? iReader?). I've read more  books in the last few weeks than I had in recent months, mostly because of the convenience factor: I always have them (all of them!) available and I never have to hunt for my place. Just a […]

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A Data Visualization Manifesto

May 31, 2010

Words of wisdom from Andrew Gelman: What harm is done, if any, by having ambiguous labels, uninformative orderings of variables, inconsistent scaling of axes, and all the rest? From a psychological or graphical perception perspective, maybe these create no problem at all. Perhaps such glitches (from my perspective) are either irrelevant to the general message […]

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What Europe Did

May 25, 2010

In a piece called "Laughing as you Sink," Clarke and Dawe explain the European Debt Crisis -- this is required watching: (And yes, my title stems from LOST withdrawal.) (Via The Big Picture)

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A product only a banker could love

May 25, 2010

There's a lot of excitement about just-launched startup Betterment, but I'm very wary. At best, it's an example of "bad" financial innovation. At worst, it's a straight up scam. It goes to show that it doesn't take complexity and structured products to pull the wool over investors' eyes; all you need is a website and […]

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Off the grid: NYC photoplot

May 25, 2010

Eric Fischer posts the Geotaggers' World Atlas - a collection of urban networks revealed by the location of pictures taken along their routes. The geographic data comes from Flickr and was clustered and plotted to reveal various city grids. A fairly straightforward mashup of data and geography coupled with a clean visualization... I love this […]

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Beware statisticians bearing gifts

May 24, 2010

The NYT is running a great article about the influx of data in today's world. The prime argument borrows from Einstein's quote, "Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." I think this speaks volumes and should be heeded by the sites that persist in churning out infographics […]

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Where do R commands come from?

May 13, 2010

Ever wondered why R commands have those funny and sometimes confusing abbreviations? I admit I always found "c" (which [c]ombines elements) confusing... especially when I was starting out, and would bind it to test variables. In the spirit of upholding my end of TGR's bargain (in which I provide items of nerdy interest and you […]

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"You already know how to use it"

May 13, 2010

A new iPad ad breaks the mold and tells us exactly what the iPad is: a screen capable of showing any kind of data at any time. I think that's quite incredible. We take for granted that computers can do anything: now you can take that with you. When was the last time you saw […]

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Adobe strikes back

May 13, 2010

Responding to Steve Job's first public shot in the Flash Wars (apart from the whole not-including-Flash-in-his-mobile-empire thing), Adobe is running a direct set of ads on major sites like the NYT. The campaign pairs a somewhat surprising banner: With a more direct sidebar ad: I predict that within a year, HTML5/Java editing tools will be […]

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More on the crash

May 11, 2010

The Big Picture provides an excellent review of the crash-that-must-not-be-named which echoes my thoughts from this weekend: Do you notice how we’re unwittingly restricting our analysis to what the sellers did? The offer side of the trading that saw the S&P 500 lose -5% of its value in the span of about 3 minutes – that […]

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Precision Information Environments

May 11, 2010

The last time I posted a video for all the futurists out there, we'd never even heard of an "iPad." It's amazing how that device has made clips like these seem so much closer to reality. This one is based on research from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on a class of emergency management interfaces called PIE's: Precision Information Environment. […]

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The trade that broke the market's back

May 11, 2010

In a thoroughly ridiculous analysis, the WSJ is trying to pin Thursday's crash on a single options trade. Conveniently, the trade was made by Universa, the fund advised by black swan devotee Nassim Taleb. The body of the article uses phrases like "contributed" and "along with likely dozens of other trades", but the title's unanswered […]

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On crashes, briefly

May 9, 2010

Congress will be looking into Thursday's stock market plunge, with the likely outcome that we are forced to admit that we didn't actually learn much from twenty years ago (1987) or two years ago (2008). In all three cases, sudden selling was aggravated by algorithmic trading of one form or another. In only one (2008) […]

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Cancel all orders!

May 8, 2010

I can't stop watching this. A guy chooses the worst possible moment for a stock market webinar. He loses his mind around 1:10; by 2:35 he's talking like a robot. We call this a capitulation! Every time he says "this is what happens," I think of Walter's rant in The Big Lebowski (which I will not […]

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Data, data, everywhere

May 7, 2010

Doug Glanville on baseball scouting, but he could have been writing about any modern data-driven industry: But when all is said and done, if you don’t have instincts for what is happening, a perpetual stream of information just becomes a time-stealing vortex, and useless at best — even though you may know a lot more […]

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On fat fingers

May 7, 2010

I don't believe that a trader error kicked off yesterday's crash. I do believe that computers exacerbated it. I also believe that there were transactional errors following the initial collapse. I would like to point out that when I say "computers exacerbated it," I include both HFT, algorithmic trading, and every retail investor's trailing stop-loss. […]

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The end of the world, relatively speaking

May 7, 2010

Bloomberg has a story today which takes a close look at an Apple investor who was caught in yesterday's turmoil. Apple traded down more than 15% on the day before snapping back to a -4% finish. This particular investor first purchased his 26 shares of Apple in late 2007, for $189. He sold them in […]

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The following plug-in has crashed

May 5, 2010

The new Google Chrome Beta has an integrated Adobe Flash plugin. The new Google Chrome Beta spends an awful amount of time looking like this: (Just trying to upload this screen shot with the WordPress flash uploader crashed Chrome not once, not twice, but three times... at which point I switched to the standard uploader.)

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From the "Stories That Aren't Getting Nearly Enough Attention" file

May 5, 2010

On page A4 of Monday's paper, the WSJ revealed that Congress Members Bet on Fall in Stocks: In February, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R., Ga.) argued on the Senate floor that "we don't need those speculating in the marketplace to take unfair advantage of the values of equities that are owned by Americans all over this country […]

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iPad: magical indeed

May 3, 2010

CrunchGear has a post up called Apple: Can we stop with the "magical" already? - aimed at Apple's iPad marketing, which refers to the device as "magical and revolutionary." The author feels "that Apple’s dedication to the “magical” party line is a bit disingenuous" because the iPad, yes, is not actually a magical device. For […]

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