Baby Name Animation

13 May 2019

I was playing around with the gganimate package this morning and thought I’d make a little animation showing a favorite finding about the distribution of baby names in the United States. This is the fact—I think first noticed by Laura Wattenberg, of the Baby Name Voyager—that there has been a sharp, relatively recent rise in boys’ names ending in the letter ‘n’, at the expense of names with ‘e’, ‘l’, and ‘y’ endings.

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The data from the 2018 wave of the General Social Survey was released during the week, leading to a flurry of graphs showing various trends. The GSS is one of the most important sources of information on various aspects of U.S. society. One of the best things about it is that the data is freely available for more than forty years worth of surveys. Here I’ll walk through my own quick look at the data, in order to show how R can tidily manage data from a complex survey.

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In case you are searching for a unified account of Frank Oz Muppets in terms of the Big Five Personality Traits—and, to be clear, someone on the internet was earlier today—I’m providing it here for posterity. This version includes the “Henson Area”, which is optional but both clarifying for the strictly psychological aspects and a bridge to a fully social theory of Frank Oz Muppets. A unified account of Frank Oz Muppets in terms of the Big Five Personality Traits, and vice versa.

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Installing Socviz

12 March 2019

I’ve gotten a couple of reports from people having trouble installing the development version of the socviz library that’s meant to be used with Data Visualization: A Practical Introduction. As best as I can tell, the difficulties are being caused by GitHub’s rate limits. The symptom is that, after installing the tidyverse and devtools libraries, you try install_github("kjhealy/socviz") and get an error something like this: Error in utils::download.file(url, path, method = download_method(), quiet = quiet(): cannot open URL https://api.

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A few years ago I wrote a post about the stickiness of college and university rankings in the United States. It’s been doing the rounds again, so I thought I’d revisit it and redraw a few of the graphs I made then. In 1911, Kendric Babcock made an effort to rank US Universities and Colleges. In his report, Babcock divided schools into four Classes, beginning with Class I: The better sort of school.

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Recent Work

  • Data Visualization: A Practical Introduction. Princeton University Press. Buy on Amazon Abstract
  • “Transformative Treatments.” Noûs 52: 320–335. Abstract  pdf
  • “Visualizing the Baby Boom.” Socius 4: 1-2 Abstract  pdf
  • “The Plain Person’s Guide to Plain Text Social Science.” Abstract  pdf
  • “By the Numbers.” European Journal of Sociology (2017), 58:512-519 Abstract  pdf

Current Teaching



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