Here are two small sites I made recently, and which I may continue to tweak and expand. The first, plain-text.co, presents “The Plain Person’s Guide to Plain-Text Social Science”. It is designed to address some questions about managing research and writing projects in the social sciences using plain-text and free or mostly-free tools like Emacs (or other text editors), R, pandoc, and make. The second, vissoc.co which I’ve mentioned before, compiles notes from a short course in data visualization I taught last semester.
In the next week or two I’ll be talking to some social science students about tools for doing research and writing up results. Over the years I’ve accumulated various things on the topic, ranging from bits of advice to templates or things I use myself. My focus is on managing the various pieces of the work process in plain-text, especially when it comes to writing code you can read later, and keeping track of the work you’ve done.
ASA Section Membership and Revenues. I taught a half-sized introductory seminar on data visualization last semester. It’s an introduction to some principles of data visualization for working social scientists, and is focused mostly on teaching people how to use ggplot effectively. I’ve made the (slightly rough-and-ready) course notes available as a website. The notes include numerous code samples, .Rmd files for every week, and there’s a GitHub repository containing all the material to build the site, including the datasets used to make the plots.
Continuing my nonremunerative career as an IT Analyst, I updated my Apple Sales plots to the most recent (end of 2015) round of quarterly data. These plots were originally inspired by Dr Drang, and the trend for the iPad (shown below) continues to confirm his views. I also took the opportunity to clean up the code a little, and to fix a small problem in the earlier versions. The x-axis of the “Remainder” panel didn’t line up properly with the line plots above and below it.
A few days ago, Matt Yglesias shared this tweet from Liz Ann Sonders, Chief Investment Strategist with Charles Schwab, Inc: DailyShot: Here is a comparison of the monetary base with the S&P500 ... Coincidence? pic.twitter.com/QsdNhJdbRP — Liz Ann Sonders (@LizAnnSonders) January 15, 2016 Matt remarked that “Friends don’t let friends use two y-axes”. It’s a good rule. The topic came up a couple of times during the data visualization short course I taught last semester.
While making the maps for yesterday’s post about the extent of US federal landownership, I noticed an odd checker-pattern in one part of it. It flowed through northern Nevada and Utah, and then out a ways into southern Wyoming. I did enough work to make sure it wasn’t a coding error on my part, but didn’t pursue it any further. This morning, JP Lien asked me about it on Twitter, and we both took a closer look.
The current occupation of a federal wildlife refuge building in rural Oregon prompted me to make a map of the land owned or administered by the US government. There are a few such maps floating around, but I wanted to see if I could draw one in R. The US Geological Survey makes a shapefile available containing the boundaries of federal lands, so I grabbed that and simplified the category codings a bit, to make the main classes of land a bit more tractable.
A few weeks ago the Irish Times ran an extensive supplement on secondary student transition to higher education in Ireland. They were interested mostly in a league-table exercise to identify the “best” schools in the country, but in the process they compiled some pretty good data on “feeder schools” together with some decent discussion of the broader trends associated with the move from secondary school to third-level education. They also made their full table of data available as an Excel spreadsheet.
Marissa Mayer’s performance as CEO of Yahoo has been criticized by various people. Yesterday, Eric Jackson, an investment fund manager, sent a 99-slide presentation to Yahoo’s board outlining his best case against Mayer. Paging through the presentation/hatchet-job gives some insight into what passes for analysis in the world of corporate investment and finance. I’m not too interested in the details. From a design and communication point of view, though, the slides are generally terrible.
Having recently revisited plots of some international comparative data on assault death rates in the OECD, here’s a quick update to the state- and region-level plots for assault deaths within the United States. CDC Wonder data now goes up to 2013, so if we query that for adjusted death rates due to assault (based on ICD-10 codes X85-Y09 and Y87.1) we can make some new plots. Here’s a boxplot of the yearly trends across states, with some high-rate outliers marked.