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Pivot Tables in Excel Webcast [free}
Mar 19th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

OReilly Webcast
robson

Pivot Tables in Microsoft Excel

Presented by:

Michael Milton, author of Head First Excel, Head First Data Analysis, and Great R: Level 1

Pivot tables let you put together in seconds data summaries that would take forever to create with Excel formulas. That speed gives you the ability to get answers about your data as quickly as you can think up questions for it. Pivot tables are one of Excel's most versatile features, but they can be tough to break into.

Even if you're new to Excel, this live presentation will get you using pivot tables like a champ, and you'll learn

  • How to group and summarize data at warp speed using pivot tables
  • How to create explore data with pivot tables and create new segments for analysis
  • How to recognize data that can and cannot be processed by pivot tables

About Michael Milton

Michael is the author of Head First Excel, Head First Data Analysis, and the forthcoming Great R: Level 1. He has spent most of his career helping nonprofit organizations improve their fundraising by interpreting and acting on the marketing data they collect from their donors.

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Price: Free
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March 24th
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11:00am PT
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How 'bout a new term: "NewsViz"?
Feb 27th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

 Many of us are commonly using the term “data visualization” or “dataviz” or even “infoviz.”  Perhaps we should add to the lexicon “newsviz.”  If so, you saw it here first.  Maybe.  In any event, check out this interesting page at Slate.

News Dots: The Day's Events as a Social NetworkAn interactive map of how every story in the news is related, updated daily.

Like Kevin Bacon's co-stars, topics in the news are all connected by degrees of separation. To examine how every story fits together, News Dots visualizes the most recent topics in the news as a giant social network. Subjects—represented by the circles below—are connected to one another if they appear together in at least two stories, and the size of the dot is proportional to the total number of times the subject is mentioned.

To use this interactive tool, just click on a circle to see which stories mention that topic and which other topics it connects to in the network. Double click a dot to zoom in on it. From there, you can click on any connected dot to see which stories mention both subjects. To zoom out, just double click in white space or use the zoom out button in the upper left corner. The buttons in the upper right can toggle the emphasis between the importance of a subject and how recently it has appeared on the radar. A more detailed explanation of how News Dots works is available below the graphic.

Analysis,  Feb. 24, 2010: Three potential 2012 Republican presidential nominees–Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, and Tim Pawlenty–all cluster around the Republican Party dot. But newly minted senator Scott Brown dwarfs them all.



This is a work in progress, so please send us your ideas for features you'd like to see or other ways we can improve it.

How News Dots works

Step 1: Behind the scenes, News Dots scans all articles from major publications—about 500 stories a day—and submits them to Calais, a service from Thompson Reuters that automatically “tags” content with all the important keywords: people, places, companies, topics, and so forth. Slate's tool registers any tag that appears at least twice in a story.

Step 2: Each time two tags appear in the same story, this tool tallies a connection between them. For example, a story about a planned troop increase in Afghanistan reform might return tags for President Obama, the White House, and Afghanistan. These topics are now connected:

Step 3: As this tool scans hundreds of stories, this network grows rapidly, and “communities” begin to form among the tags. Subjects that are highly connected—those that appear together in many stories—cluster together in the network. This occurs in the same way that a picture of the social network of your Facebook friends would reveal clusters of friends from high school, college, and work, with some unexpected connections between them when friends belong to multiple cliques.

Step 4: The news network that results is visualized using Slate's custom News Dots tool, which is built using an open-source Actionscript library called Flare. Tags are displayed if they appear in at least four stories, and connections are made if at least two stories link those two subjects. The visualization covers the previous three days of news and is updated daily.


 

Open Source Maps Are Helping the World Bank Save Lives in Haiti
Feb 20th, 2010 by analyticjournalism

From FastCompany:

Open Source Maps Are Helping the World Bank Save Lives in Haiti BY ANYA KAMENETZFri Feb 19, 2010


maps

An aid worker from the European Commission holds a PDF printout from OpenStreetMaps.

The humanitarian relief effort underway in Haiti is proving the true potential of open source map building. Don't take my word for it, follow the Tweets and blogs of my friend Schuyler Erle. He's on the ground in Port-au-Prince along with Tom Buckley, a developer of mapmaking program GeoCommons Maker. The pair are advising the World Bank on the use of crowd-sourced mapping, primarily through the open-source programOpenStreetMap, in the relief and recovery effort in Haiti. They are also dealing with rain, illness, PowerBar meals, World Bank contacts snowbound back in DC, and bureaucratic alphabet soup.

“Since mid-January, we've seen a whole set of interlocking technical communities swung into gear to piece together geographic information to help relief efforts after the earthquake in Haiti: OpenStreetMap, Ushahidi, CrisisMappers, and so on,” Erle writes. He's an open-source smart maps ninja–cofounder of OpenLayers, author of the books Mapping Hacksand Google Maps Hacks, and creator of a program that allowed for historians to make crowdsourced improvements to the New York Public Library's digital maps archive.

“The most amazing thing to me about this global response to the disaster is the degree to which volunteers have been able to make a significant impact on the relief situation while sitting at their own desks, thousands of miles away. OpenStreetMap, particularly, has been a model of distributed collaboration, with basically no one calling the shots, while a thousand people painstakingly build a map database of Haiti drawn from aerial and satellite imagery that's so detailed that the Ushahidi volunteers have to ask for a simpler version.”

Erle says the humanitarian applications of Geographic Information Systems may truly comes of age as a result of this disaster. “OpenStreetMap really *has* become the gold standard for base map data in the relief and recovery effort in Haiti.”

rubble

Photos by Schuyler Erle via Twitpic


 



"2009 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge Winners Announced"
Feb 20th, 2010 by analyticjournalism

Press Release 10-028
2009 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge Winners Announced
http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_images.jsp?cntn_id=116369&org=NSF
Winning entries appear in the Feb. 19 issue of Science
“Branching Morphogenesis” aims to reveal–through abstraction–the unseen beauty and dynamic relationships that exist between endothelial cells and their surrounding extracellular microenvironment. Movies of networking endothelial cells cultured on a 3-D matrix were analyzed to generate computational tools that simulate this process. Next, large-scale templates from simulations were overlaid with more than 75,000 inter-connected zipties.
Credit: Peter Lloyd Jones, Andrew Lucia, and Jenny E. Sabin, University of Pennsylvania's Sabin + Jones Lab Studio
Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (9.8 MB)
Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer.
Scanning electron micrograph of tiny plastic fingers around a sphere.
Tiny plastic fingers, each with a diameter 1/500th of a human hair, assemble around and hold a tiny sphere. The image brings to mind global efforts to promote the sustainability of the planet. The image was produced with a scanning electronic microscope and was digitally enhanced for color.

"2009 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge Winners Announced"
Feb 20th, 2010 by analyticjournalism

Press Release 10-028
2009 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge Winners Announced
http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_images.jsp?cntn_id=116369&org=NSF
Winning entries appear in the Feb. 19 issue of Science
“Branching Morphogenesis” aims to reveal–through abstraction–the unseen beauty and dynamic relationships that exist between endothelial cells and their surrounding extracellular microenvironment. Movies of networking endothelial cells cultured on a 3-D matrix were analyzed to generate computational tools that simulate this process. Next, large-scale templates from simulations were overlaid with more than 75,000 inter-connected zipties.
Credit: Peter Lloyd Jones, Andrew Lucia, and Jenny E. Sabin, University of Pennsylvania's Sabin + Jones Lab Studio
Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (9.8 MB)
Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer.
Scanning electron micrograph of tiny plastic fingers around a sphere.
Tiny plastic fingers, each with a diameter 1/500th of a human hair, assemble around and hold a tiny sphere. The image brings to mind global efforts to promote the sustainability of the planet. The image was produced with a scanning electronic microscope and was digitally enhanced for color.

Review: The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics
Feb 18th, 2010 by analyticjournalism

From FlowingData:

 

Review: The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics

Add another book to the growing library of guides on how to make information graphics the right way. Dona M. Wong, former graphics director of The Wall Street Journal and now strategy director for information Design at Siegel+Gale, provides the dos and don'ts of data presentation in The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics.

First Impressions

Given Wong's background, you can make a pretty good guess about the examples used. They're not graphics from The Journal but they do look a lot like them. The book description also makes a point of highlighting that Wong was a student of Edward Tufte, which was a big hint on what the book is like.

The guide is on the smaller side at about 150 pages of content, but it's mostly a visual book. There is about as much text as there are graphic examples, which I like. [more]


 

"Predicting the Next Enron"
Feb 17th, 2010 by analyticjournalism

Thanks to Steve Doig for the pointer:

Freakonomics – New York Times Blog
February 17, 2010, 3:00 pm
Predicting the Next Enron
By FREAKONOMICS
Via the Wall Street Journal, here’s further evidence that companies “tweak” quarterly earnings numbers. Joseph Grundfest and Nadya Malenko analyzed almost half a million earnings reports from 1980-2006. They discovered that when companies want to appear more successful than they are, they often massage their per-share earnings numbers upward by a tenth of one cent. The evidence? The number 4 appears significantly less often than expected in the post-decimal digits of earnings reports. In the U.S., per-share earnings are reported as pennies, so bumping that post-decimal digit from a 4 to a 5 results in the overall number being rounded up by a full penny. Grundfest and Malenko call the practice quadrophobia. While the tweaking may be legal in some cases, the authors also found that “quadrophobes are more likely to restate financials and to be named as defendants in SEC Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Releases (AAER).” Or, as Grundfest told the Journal, quadrophobia serves as “a leading indicator of a company that’s going to have an accounting issue.”

"GIS Data Show Relationship Between Violence, Liquor Retailers"
Feb 17th, 2010 by analyticjournalism

From: http://gisandscience.com/2010/02/17/gis-data-show-relationship-between-violence-liquor-retailers/

GIS Data Show Relationship Between Violence, Liquor Retailers

February 17, 2010 in GIS, Social Science

Annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

18 – 22 February 2010, San Diego, California

As cities grapple with liquor-related violence, new data suggests zoning commissions may want to take a second look at where they put liquor retailers. IU Bloomington criminologist William Pridemore and Geographer Tony Grubesic are in the midst of analyzing new Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data that seem to suggest violent crime is more likely to occur in the vicinity of stores that sell liquor expressly for off-premise consumption. Violence, they are learning, is less likely to occur near other types of establishments that offer alcohol, such as bars, pubs and restaurants. Pridemore and Grubesic have conducted their studies in Cincinnati (Ohio) neighborhoods using blocks as a unit of analysis. Pridemore led the research and is the session organizer. Grubesic will speak about the scientists’ collaborative research, which is using GIS and other spatial analysis techniques to learn more about human behavior patterns.

“Using GIS and Spatial Analysis To Better Understand Patterns and Causes of Violence,” Monday, Feb. 22, from 9:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., Room 5A

Grubesic and Pridemore will take part in a press briefing regarding “Using GIS and Spatial Analysis to Better Understand Patterns and Causes of Violence,” at 2:00 p.m. PST on Sunday, Feb. 21, at the San Diego Convention Center. Please visit the Press Room beforehand for the event’s location (TBD).

To speak with Pridemore or Grubesic, please contact Steve Chaplin, University Communications, at 606-356-6551 or stjchap@indiana.edu.

[Source: Indiana University press release]

New book: "GIS for Public Safety"
Feb 16th, 2010 by analyticjournalism

This looks to be a good book on backgrounding how police use — or do not use — GIS so a reporter can ask informed questions. Oh, did I mention that it's free?

http://www.rutgerscps.org/gisbook/dwnld39629.html

“From the BACK COVER

This book, GIS for Public Safety, focuses on ESRI’s ArcGIS functionality (the most popular GIS software, worldwide) and presents many of the tools and techniques that are commonly used by public safety researchers, analysts, and practitioners. It gives simple steps for descriptive, exploratory, and explanatory mapping tasks and includes concise but meaningful discussions to let you critically assess and accurately apply the software to your own unique specialty. This provides a solid foundation for advanced spatial thinking and permits you to utilize GIS technology in your own innovative ways. Its comprehensive content makes it the perfect coursebook or reference manual for students, researchers, crime analysts, and other GIS users at all skill levels. To use a construction metaphor, this book is intended to teach a carpenter what tools are in his toolbox and how to use them. This instills confidence in his ability to apply these tools to any job when needed. Other books teach the carpenter specifically how to build a house. However, skills needed to build a house might fail the carpenter when he needs to build furniture instead. GIS for Public Safety focuses on a complete working knowledge of the toolbox to let the carpenter accurately apply the tools to his or her own unique specialty.”

How-to: Turning Netflix data into map
Feb 8th, 2010 by analyticjournalism

From the Society of Newspaper Designers via FlowingData:

The making of the NYT’s Netflix graphic

January 20th, 2010

One of The Times’ recent graphics, “A Peek Into Netflix Queues,” ended up being one of our more popular graphics of the past few months. (A good roundup of what people wrote is here). Since then, there have been a few questions about the how the graphic was made and Tyson Evans, a friend and colleague, thought it might interest SND members. (I bother Tyson with questions about CSS and Ruby pretty regularly, so I owe him a few favors.)

Most readers are probably interested in the interactive graphic, although I will say that we also ran a lovely full-page graphic in print in the Metropolitan section, which goes out to readers in the New York region. That graphic had a lot of interesting statistical analysis – in fact, it would have been nice to get some analysis in the web version, more on that later – but for this I will focus mostly on the web version. If there are questions about the print graphic, I will make sure I get Amanda Cox to try to explain cluster analysis to me again.

First is the data itself. Jo Craven McGinty, a CAR reporter, was in contact with Netflix to obtain a database of the top 50 movies in each ZIP code for every ZIP in the country. That’s about 1.9 million records. The database did not include the number of people renting the movie – just the rank. (We [more here: http://www.snd.org/2010/01/nyt-netflix-graphic ]




 

 

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