Statistics

21 posts
The Crime Machine

I’m behind on my podcast listening (well, behind in everything tbh), but Reply All covered the flaws of CompStat, a data system originally employed by the NYPD to track crime and hold officers accountable: But some of these chiefs started to figure out, wait a minute, the person who’s in charge of actually keeping track of the crime in my neighborhood is me. And so if they couldn’t make crime...

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Finding a house to buy, using statistics

Atma Mani, a geospatial engineer for ESRI, imagined shopping for a house with data, maps, and analysis. Basically, a personalized recommendation system: The type of recommendation engine built in this study is called ‘content based filtering’ as it uses just the intrinsic and spatial features engineered for prediction. For this type of recommendation to work, we need a really large training set. In reality nobody can generate such a large...

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Cheap labor to power artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence, given its name, sounds like a computer learns everything its own. However, a set of algorithms can only become useful if there’s something to learn from: data. Dave Lee for BBC reports on a company in Kenya that supplies training data for self-driving cars: Brenda loads up an image, and then uses the mouse to trace around just about everything. People, cars, road signs, lane markings – even...

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Data Feminism

Data grows more intertwined with the everyday and more involved in important decisions. However, data is biased in many ways from collection, to analysis, and the conclusions, which is a problem when it is often intended to provide an objective point of view. In their recently released manuscript for Data Feminism, Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren Klein discuss the importance of varied points of view: The double-edged sword of data shows...

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Demographic effects on voting intention

The Economist built an election model that treats demographic variables like blocks that output a probability of voting Republican or Democrat: Our model adds up the impact of each variable, like a set of building blocks. As a result, a group of weak predictors that point in the same direction can cancel out a single strong one. In theory, the model could identify a black voter as a Republican leaner,...

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Webinar Wednesday

I'm delivering a quick-fire Webinar this Wednesday on how to make impactful data graphics for communication and persuasion. Registration is free, at this link. *** In the meantime, I'm preparing a guest lecture for the Data Visualization class at Yeshiva University Sims School of Management. The goal of the lecture is to emphasize the importance of incorporating analytics into the data visualization process. Here is the lesson plan: Introduce the...

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High school statistics class builds election prediction model

High school seniors, in the Political Statistics class at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, built a prediction model for the upcoming elections: Under the guidance of Mr. David Stein, this model (which we named the Overall Results of an Analytical Consideration of the Looming Elections a.k.a. ORACLE of Blair) was developed by a group of around 70 high school seniors, working diligently since the start of September....

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Education disparities

There are many racial disparities in education. ProPublica shows estimates for the gaps: Based on civil rights data released by the U.S. Department of Education, ProPublica has built an interactive database to examine racial disparities in educational opportunities and school discipline. Look up more than 96,000 individual public and charter schools and 17,000 districts to see how they compare with their counterparts. Using white students as the baseline, compare opportunity,...

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Optimized bubble tea consumption

When you drink bubble tea, ideally you’d like to finish with the same proportions of boba and tea that you started at. Krist Wongsuphasawat took care of the math and provides a simulator for this ever important challenge: This article simulates an optimized sip based on amount of boba and tea in the straw before sipping (method adopted from this post). The simulation assumes that all bobas sit in the...

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The French takes back cinema but can you see it?

I like independent cinema, and here are three French films that come to mind as I write this post: Delicatessen, The Class (Entre les murs), and 8 Women (8 femmes).  The French people are taking back cinema. Even though they purchased more tickets to U.S. movies than French movies, the gap has been narrowing in the last two decades. How do I know? It's the subject of this infographic:  How do I...

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