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Data science vs business intelligence

June 30, 2011

Steve Miller has written a nice two-part piece on data science for Information Management. Part 1 overviews the topic, including links to many pieces that have been profiled on TGR. Part 2 is a more direct comparison of data science and "business intelligence," a somewhat lackluster (but growing) field of data analytics. One quote stood […]

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Breaking up is hard to do (especially on Christmas)

November 2, 2010

David McCandless's TED talk on data visualization is excellent -- you can catch it here -- and Mathias Mikkelsen has highlighted a single analysis that investigates when people are most likely to break up (according to Facebook) (Update: original here): What makes the chart so appealing is how easy it is to understand, despite the […]

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Irrational exuberance, indeed

June 23, 2010

Here's an amusing chart showing the percent of stocks that sell-side analysts have rated "sells", on average: There's a million junk-chart bloggers who will tell you how much is wrong with this graph (myself included) - starting with the left hand scale, which should go up to 10% rather than 100%. But in a rare […]

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Stages of a photographer (an infographic)

January 25, 2010

Very amusing... and true: I especially love "The HDR Hole." Presumably the y-axis is measured in percent of personal potential... there must be all sorts of Bayesian self-reflection stuff going on there. (Via DataViz)

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Chart Wars

January 8, 2010

Alex Lundry, Vice President and Director of Research of the consulting firm Target Point, has published a brief talk called Chart Wars which is simply brilliant, serving as an excellent but brief (5 minutes!) overview of how easy it is to manipulate infographics and what tricks to be wary of. His specific focus is a […]

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Overcharting: airfare edition

November 28, 2009

Nate Silver writes about the dropping cost of air fares - yes, you read that correctly - over at Five Thirty Eight. His writing, as always, is excellent - I only want to point out a chart he uses and how it can be dangerous to draw conclusions at a glance (or, if you prefer, […]

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Great expectations

November 27, 2009

I've previously covered the danger of attributing meaning to a forecast which is obviously based on little or no information. In that case, it was the manufacturing survey, which one might dismiss as a more obscure measure. Recently, however, Ken Houghton has written a pair of posts on inflation forecasts that bring me back to […]

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Data intervention

October 16, 2009

The always-excellent How I Met Your Mother addresses a major social problem: (via FlowingData)

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Radial clustering

September 14, 2009

Finally, a radial visualization which serves a purpose rather than just looking cool. Getting Genetics Done has a tutorial on using clustering functions in R. In it, they show how this this analysis: is much better represented like this: There's nothing wrong with making a chart which looks good - in fact it's encouraged - so long as […]

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How to fix a broken pie chart

September 8, 2009 has a helpful step-by-step on how to turn this (from a Mashable post): into this: Of course, the motivation is worth more than the mechanics.

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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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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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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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The 100 users of Twitter

July 31, 2009

An interesting visualization of Twitter as 100 people is a good take on a popular infographic meme, but reveals a few inconvenient truths about these sorts of images. Firstly, although I am (not so) secretly pleased to see this illustration of Twitter's non-inclusive communicative nature let's not forget that Twitter, like so many other social […]

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Evaluating returns to social media

July 21, 2009

A collusion by wetpaint and the Altimeter Group has resulted in a fanciful study on social media. Normally, a paper like this wouldn't be worth addressing, but the amount of attention being paid to its questionable conclusion warrants a closer look. And that conclusion is: [T]his landmark study has found that the most valuable brands in […]

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Misreading misleading charts: entrepreneur edition

June 18, 2009

Paul Kedrosky writes about a study on the rate of entrepreneurship among various age groups, which includes the following piece of junk (ch)art: Why is this chart 3D? It contains information in only two spatial dimensions (time and rate), with a third dimension coded by color. To make the chart itself is a purely superfluous […]

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Misreading misleading charts: VIX edition

June 16, 2009

Get your tin foil hats back out! Zero Hedge can't seem to keep their manipulation theories under control (I addressed one here in one of TGR's most popular posts) and today's example is to egregious to pass up. In this post, Zero Hedge reviews ground breaking "research" from Innovative Quant Solutions "on the very relevant topic […]

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Truth in advertising?

June 15, 2009

I find this graph very interesting, not just because of any implied political statements, but for how it highlights the absurdity of economic forecasting and the potentially misguided trust we place in such numbers. The blue lines were circulated by Obama's economic team when they were pitching the stimulus bill in order to illustrate its […]

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Illustrating the importance of data visualization

June 12, 2009

Andrew Gelman discusses research on attitudes toward gay marriage, by state, and notes this graph in particular, which shows the change in opinion over the last 15 years: Critically, he points out that the states which experienced the greatest change in attitude were the ones that already were most receptive. A naive analysis of the […]

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Critiquing the Crimson

June 9, 2009

The Harvard Crimson has published its annual senior survey, which is making headlines in part because very few seniors are going into finance. Selected results were presented in an interesting visualization (the image below links to a full size pdf): Now that my brother has graduated after successfully steering the Crimson's business operations to one […]

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Breaking down labor mobility

June 7, 2009

Great graphic from the NYT (click to zoom): (via LL)

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Shades of bullishness

May 29, 2009

FT Alphaville has a post up regarding new research from Citi on how analysts make recommendations. It is accompnaied by this graph: The graph shows the average recommendation across all analyst-covered stocks, for the last 15 years. A stock gets a 1 if every analyst recommends buying it; a 5 is given to a universal […]

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Charting value (maybe)

May 19, 2009

Silicon Valley Insider presented this as its Chart of the Day today, saying it indicates the success of Microsoft's "Laptop Hunter" ads: First of all, it takes some digging to learn what this scale even means, which brings us to a violation of charting rule #1: do not use a misleading axis! The true scale […]

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Presidents vs Pirates

April 15, 2009

Two excellent graphs making the rounds - the first showing Obama the Pirate-Slayer: And the second with historical context (that being the First and Second Barbary Wars):  

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Spurious correlation: fruit edition

April 3, 2009

Who says correlation doesn't imply causality?  Borrowed from In the Pipeline.

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Industrial production in perspective

April 3, 2009

This post by Krugman inspired me to take a look at how the industrial production index has fared lately.  At first glance, the recent drop is pretty massive: But looking at it on a log scale tells a very different story: Krugman makes the point that the plunge paused in 1931 before resuming, and that […]

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The graph is half full

March 31, 2009

The Big Picture has a post which borrows two graphs from Credit Suisse that are meant to illustrate the performance of the S&P 500 in the 100 days following a "major trough."  I re-borrow them here: It looks like the top graph represents a collection of bear market bottoms, which are easily identifiable by the […]

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Misreading misleading charts

March 26, 2009

This chart caught my eye because it is potentially misleading (click to zoom).  It shows the year-over-year change in hotel occupancy rates, from 2001-2009. My first impression, on viewing the small chart, was that we haven't hit the low of the last recession.  But (as the box very clearly points out) the low of the […]

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Ken Lewis makes dubious claims

March 9, 2009

BOA chairman Ken Lewis has written an opinion for the WSJ ("Some Myths About Banks")  containing the following "myth" and rebuttal: The banks are insolvent. In the past 18 months, we've seen fewer than 50 bank failures. That compares to about 2,000 failures or closings of commercial banks or savings institutions between 1986 and 1991. There may […]

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