The birthday problem and voter fraud

I was traveling at the end of last week, which means I had some time to listen to podcasts while in transit. This American Life is always a hit for me, though sometimes I can’t listen to it in public because the stories can be too sad, and then I get all teary eyed in airports… This past week’s was both fun and informative though. I’m talking about Episode 630: Things I Mean to Know.

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Recently the blog Brain Pickings wrote about the set of hand-drawn visualizations that Civil Rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois commissioned for the1900 World’s Fair in Paris. (In a previous post, Rob wrote about an art exhibit he saw that featured artistic interpretations of these plots.) Every time I see these visualizations I am amazed—they are gorgeous and the detail (and penmanship) is amazing. The visualizations included bar charts, area plots, and maps—all hand-drawn!

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A little over a year ago, we decided to propose a data visualization course at the first-year level. We had been thinking about this for awhile, but never had the time to teach it given the scheduling constraints we had. When one of the other departments on campus was shut down and the faculty merged in with other departments, we felt that the time was ripe to make this proposal.

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We’re discussing data visualization nowadays in my course, and today’s topic was supposed to be mapping. However late last night I realized I was going to run out of time and decided to table hands on mapping exercises till a bit later in the course (after we do some data manipulation as well, which I think will work better). That being said, talking about maps seemed timely, especially with Hurricane Irma developing.

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Data Science Webinar Announcement

I’m pleased to announce that on Monday, September 11 , 9-11 am Pacific, I’ll be leading a Concord Consortium Data Science Education Webinar. Oddly, I forgot to give it a title, but it would be something like “Towards a Learning Trajectory for K-12 Data Science”. This webinar, like all Concord webinars, is intended to be highly interactive. Participants should have their favorite statistical software at the ready. A detailed abstract as well as registration information is here.

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Webinar Series: Data Science Undergraduate Education Join the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for a webinar series on undergraduate data science education. Webinars will take place on Tuesdays from 3-4pm ET starting onSeptember 12 and ending on November 14. See below for the list of dates and themes for each webinar. This webinar series is part of an input-gathering initiative for a National Academies study on Envisioning the Data Science Discipline: The Undergraduate Perspective.

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About a year ago I wrote this post:  I wasn’t teaching that semester, so couldn’t take my own advice then, but thankfully (or the opposite of thankfully) Trump’s tweets still make timely discussion. I had two goals for presenting this example on the first day of my data science course (to an audience of all first-year undergraduates, with little to no background in computing and statistics): Give a data analysis example with a familiar context

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Citizen Statistician

Learning to swim in the data deluge