Michael Driscoll of Dataspora invited a few people to a Dataviz Salon yesterday evening. Mike and I went along and huddled in a brick-built basement in SoMa to listen to the following:
- Two talks about baseball stats. This first was from Michael which featured his latest R-driven experiments using pitching data and 2D colour ramps in the CIELUV colour space. He has a nice little R webserver running which can do the clever business with kernel density plots (look closely at those pitch charts, those aren't stacked circles). The second was from Shane Booth who showed sketches for StrategyFan, a forthcoming project with Rio Goodman that lets people create and visualise their own metrics for players and teams. Think "day trading for baseball". (Shane was probably the designeringest person there, and has a lovely tumblelog that ffffound hhhhounds will love).
- A talk about NBA graphs from the homepage-less Brad Stenger, with reference to a timely no-stats all-star article and computational journalism in general (look out for more on this at SxSW and OSCON).
- A talk from Lee Byron, who sadly (criminally) couldn't tell us what he's up to as a data scientist at Facebook (because that's not how they roll, obviously), but did tell some good stories about being the industrial design / motion graphics spanner-in-the-works at the NYTimes during the Olympics last year. (And hey, he got to push a personal project through and include an easter egg in there, well done!)
- A talk from Pete Skomoroch, whose visit to town catalysed the whole event in the first place. Pete showed us some work he's been doing at Juice Analytics, lifting clients out of the dark ages and automating previously laborious data mining processes. People cluster search referrals manually, apparently. In 2009.
- Brendan O'Connor from Dolores Labs showed us some of the stuff they're doing with (and without) Mechanical Turk, including those lovely colour name diagrams and the surprising news that the hot-or-not site genre is definitely not dead, and can also produce interesting stats by posing relatively simple questions to millions of people.
Thanks to Michael for putting on a great event and getting everything together at such short notice. Hopefully there'll be another one soon!
Ben Tesch overlays the timeline of technology adoption and the timeline of cool and concludes that the clothes dryer was responsible for the rise of soul music. I like it.
I'm reminded of my reaction to the wall of statistics about the world before and after Bill Clinton's presidency, at his library in Little Rock, Arkansas. We're told that among other things the national debt, the number nuclear warheads and world poverty all went down, but that AIDS increased. I'm led to believe that nuclear warheads prevent AIDS, or possibly that AIDS prevents nuclear warheads. Clearly.