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2010 (old posts, page 1)

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Daily photo: Open late

Open late

Scarecrow Video in Seattle. One of the largest independent video stores in the country with a huge inventory. So many films to see, so little time.

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Winston Churchill and Data Analysis

A really interesting post on the importance and perils of reliance on data by Carl Carter-Schwendler via @m3sweatt.

The reason is that the Prime Minister, Baldwin, had access to most if not all of the same information that Churchill had but did not form the same conclusion. That's the peril of data. It doesn't actually make decisions for you. Furthermore, I'm fairly confident that Churchill would have formed the same opinion about Hitler even if he didn't have access to the data. Given that this same dynamic plays itself out over and over, you can be forgiven for wondering if data actually helps at all.
This was indeed a fascinating time in British history and, while our recollection of history quite possibly distorts some of the details and circumstances of the time, there remains much to be learned from it.
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The power of visualization: Hans Rosling

This is actually quite an old video (2003) but remains highly relevant. Provide ready access to large quantities of information and the ideas will follow.

But I think it's very important to have all this information.  We need really to see it...  In this software, we access about 500 variables from all the countries quite easily. It takes some time to change for this, but on the axises, you can quite easily get any variable you would like to have. And the thing would be to get up the databases free, to get them searchable, and with a second click, to get them into the graphic formats, where you can instantly understand them. Now, statisticians doesn't like it, because they say that this will not show the reality; we have to have statistical, analytical methods. But this is hypothesis-generating.
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China railway map

With our departure looming I'm starting to collect all sorts of useful links and information for China. Today, from TravelChinaGuide.com, an easy to read railway map. The idea of getting on a train at 9pm at night and arriving at 7am the next morning seems a whole lot more appealing than airline travel right now but we'll see.

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