Apparently our last blog post was in August. Dang. Where did five months go? Blog guilt would be killing me, but I swear it was just yesterday that Mine posted. I will give a bit of review of some of the books that I read this semester related to statistics. Most recently, I finished Hands-On Matrix Algebra Using R: Active and Motivated Learning with Applications. This was a fairly readable book for those looking to understand a bit of matrix algebra.
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.
I just finished reading An Accidental Statistician: The Life and Memories of George E. P. Box. The book reads like he is recounting his memories (it is aptly named) rather than as a biography. I enjoyed the stories and vignettes of his work and his intersections with other statisticians. The book also included pictures of many famous statisticians (George’s friends and family—Fisher was his father-in-law for a bit) in social situations.
WolframAlpha has a tool that will analyze your Facebook network. I saw this awhile ago, but HollyLynne reminded me of this recently, and I tried it out. You need to give the app(?) permission to access your account (which I am sure means access to your data for Wolfram), after which you are given all sorts of interesting, pretty info. Note, you can also opt to have Wolfram track your data in order to determine how your network is changing.
I read a piece last night called 5 Ways Big Data Will Change Lives In 2013. I really wasn’t expecting much from it, just scrolling through accumulated articles on Zite. However, as with so many things, there were some gems to be had. I learned of Aadhar. Aadhar is an ambitious government Big Data project aimed at becoming the world’s largest biometric database by 2014, with a goal of capturing about 600 million Indian identities.
I’ve been reading and greatly enjoying Nate Silver’s book, The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—and Some Don’t. I’d recommend the book based on the introduction and first chapter alone. (And, no, that’s not because that’s all I’ve read so far. It’s because they’re that good.) If you’re the sort who skips introductions, I strongly suggest you become a new sort and read this one. It’s a wonderful essay about the dangers of too much information, and the need to make sense of it.