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Blog: 2012 | Design and Analytics

Blog: 2012

Introduction to R today in Chicago

It's beginner's night in Chicago.  Alongside Chase Carpenter, Paul Teetor, and Jeffrey Ryan, I'm teaching Data Munging 101 in R at Jak's tap.  The meetup information is available here.

Here are my slides, as promised:

Feel free to download, use this, share it---or ask me questions.

Blog tags:

A Network Graph of CRAN package dependencies

Continuing on my recent project of making interactive network graphs (on projects where other brilliant people have already done the difficult querying), here's a visualization of the CRAN package dependencies.  Sure, the philosophers graph is maybe more interesting, but this is a very real map of people power, too---and maybe as influential in these statistical times. 

The absolutely artful data munging here comes from librestats.  Check out his post!

CRAN view


Slides from Chicago R User Group Presentation

Visual Social Network Analysis in R and Gephi Part II

Resuming from last time, I've made some updates to the philosophers' social network including publishing two interactive maps.  Quick introduction: you know that sidebar on wikipedia where it tells you someone was influenced by someone else, linking to them?  These graphs are generated from asking wikipedia for a comprehensive list of every philosopher's influence on every other.  There are some sample-bias issues and data problems I went over in the first part of the series, but overall it's both beautiful and interesting.

Interactive visuals

The first lets you zoom dynamically and makes it easier to see local networks.  When you hover over individual philosophers, those who are not linked to them or from them disappear.  This uses a tool called sigma.js.

Go ahead, click it.

The second lets you...

Visualizing the History of Philosophy as a social network: The Problem with Hegel

How Important is Hegel?!

I was surprised I hadn't seen this graphic at Drunks and Lampposts made with Gephi until a friend posted it on facebook last week.  The original is here, and here's my version:


Graph History of Philosophy

Using a scrape of the data behind wikipedia's sidebar for philosophers, Simon Rapier put together a fantastic visualization of the schools and interconnections among philosophers.  Griffsgraphs followed up by expanding the scrape to the entire network of influencers and influenced on wikipedia.  Both of these are insightful humanities studies in graphs and visualization---even though the algorithm wasn't told which common ideas link Hegel and Marx, it saw that they were similar enough to be grouped together (shown by making them the same color), and that the way Hegel influenced, say, Husserl, was different enough to warrant another school, simply by observing a different group of people followed them.

That's a solid aggregation of a lot of humanities information.  Who knew Skynet's tweed jacket had patches on the elbows?

However, looking at the original graphs on D&L and Griffs, I was struck that...

CFNAI the most underrated indicator according to ishares

According to the ishares blog, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) was recently named the most underrated index for measuring the US economy's health.  I wholeheartedly agree.  I co-ran this beauty when I worked at the Fed in 2008-2009 and automated its graphing in Matlab.  If you look back in the archives from around then, you'll see...

Complex causality for 37signals NYT opinion; or Tigers

I really liked this story on the 37signals blog yesterday where Jason Fried explained the process of seemingly serendipitous events that led to his being asked to write an opinion piece in the New York Times.  I've been working with network visualization lately and turned his story into the graphic below, which they've kindly posted back to the 37 signals blog

Image Showing how to get into the New York Times

Opening for Clients; Hire me

I have an opening to take on more hours of client work beginning in mid-September.  Please feel free to contact me if you're looking for support in forecasting, automation, quantitative design, social network analysis---or anything I've written about here.

Game of Pickaxes Book Project from Ribbonfarm

Mr. Tempo himself is working on a new project called Game of Pickaxes.  You can sign up for his early-phase mailing list on the book's pre-launch site.

I designed this early draft of the cover and launch site---well, as well as the final cover to Tempo.  Over the summer, I'll collect and post a series breaking down how I structure the iterations of a cover design process, focusing on metaphor in quantitative designs.  In the meantime, sign up for the mailing list, and read the full announcement at Ribbonfarm (and thanks for the hat tip, Venkat!).

Beard line: Time Series in R (Part III)

In Part 2, we showed how to add recession shading to a plot of American Beards over time, and did some diagnostics to check whether 19th Century Americans grew recession beards. (Spoiler alert: it appears they did not.)  In Part 1, we showed how to plot the series in the first place.  Today, we're going to look at the beardly trend over the period.  We all know about the gilded age popularity of mutton chops and sideburns, but were full beards on the rise or on the decline between 1866 and 1911?  And more importantly, what can this period tell us about beards of the future (in the past)?!

What you'll learn

  • How to apply linear smoothing to a time-series plot in ggplot2
  • How to interpret that and how not to interpret that.  (The difference between interpolation and extrapolation.)
  • Whether beards were getting "trendier" or trending less during the tail end of the 19th Century.
  • What date we're all going to have beards.


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