The LA Times reported today, along with several other sources, that the California Department of Justice has initiated a new “open justice” data initiative. On their portal, the “Justice Dashboard”, you can view Arrest Rates, Deaths in Custody, or Law Enforcement Officers Killed or Assaulted. I chose, for my first visit, to look at Deaths in Custody. At first, I was disappointed with the quality of the data provided. Instead of data, you see some nice graphical displays, mostly univariate but a few with two variables, addressing issues and questions that are probably on many people’s minds.
Another August, another JSM… This time we’re in Boston, in yet another huge and cold conference center. Even on the first (half) day the conference schedule was packed, and I found myself running between sessions to make the most of it all. This post is on the first session I caught, The statistical classroom: student projects utilizing student-generated data, where I listened to the first three talks before heading off to catch the tail end of another session (I’ll talk about that in another post).
Fitbit, you know I love you and you’ll always have a special place in my pocket. But now I have to make room for the Moves app to play a special role in my capture-the-moment-with-data existence. Moves is an ios7 app that is free. It eats up some extra battery power and in exchange records your location and merges this with various databases and syncs it up to other databases and produces some very nice “story lines” that remind you about the day you had and, as a bonus, can motivate you to improved your activity levels.
The Mobilize project, which I recently joined, centers a high school data-science curriculum around participatory sensing data. What is participatory sensing, you ask? I’ve recently been trying to answer this question, with mixed success. As the name suggests, PS data has to do with data collected from sensors, and so it has a streaming aspect to it. I like to think of it as observations on a living object. Like all living objects, whatever this thing is that’s being observed, it changes, sometimes slowly, sometimes rapidly.
I had the privilege last week of listening to the dissertation defense of UCLA Stat’s newest PhD: Nathan Yau. Congratulations, Nathan! Nathan runs the very popular and fantastic blog Flowing Data, and his dissertation is about, in part, the creation of his app Your Flowing Data. Essentially, this is a tool for collecting and analyzing personal data–data about you and your life. One aspect of the thesis I really liked is a description of types of insight he found from a paper by Pousman, Stasko and Mateas (2007): Casual information visualization: Depictions of Data in every day life.
For various reasons, I decided to walk this weekend from my house to Venice Beach, a distance of about four and a half miles. The weather was beautiful, and I thought a walk would help clear my mind. I had recently heard a story on NPR in which it was reported that Thoreau kept data on when certain flowers opened, a record now used to help understand the effects of global warming.
Two years ago, I made a New Year’s Resolution to read more books. At that point I joined GoodReads to hold myself accountable. I read 47 books that year (at least that I recorded). In 2012, I didn’t re-make that resolution, and my reading productivity dropped to 29 (really 26 since I quit reading 3 books). While the number of books is lower, I did some minor analyses on these books based on data I scraped from GoodReads and Amazon.
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