Stephen Colbert teaches proper data normalization

Colbert Report devotees recently witnessed a true miracle—Stephen Colbert spoke data science: Due to the massive volume [of suggestions received], we … used computers to crunch the data. Mr. Colbert had just received approximately 53,000 e-mailed suggestions from his minions proposing social issues for the newly formed Colbert Super PAC to address. Financial contributions to […]

data scientist goes coolhunting…

Intuitive coolhunting scales poorly. Here’s some math to help fix that problem: Axioms of cool Five axioms enable us to mathematically model cool: No one is intrinsically cool, individuals simply channel it. Ability to temporarily hold coolness varies by individual. Coolness naturally flows into some individuals more readily than others. Rate of coolness flow into […]

church to bar ratio in the lower 48, by county

Calculated the church to bar ratio by county from US Census Bureau data: The color partitions were derived from the log-transformed ratio distribution to facilitate visual clarity. Method From the 2009 County Business Patterns data published at, extracted the number of establishments in each county that have NAICS codes 813110 (places of worship including […]

data scientist walks into a bar…

A data scientist walks into a bar and observes a large crowd cheering intermittently. The crowd’s eyes track events on a large TV screen, following a bouncing spherical projectile’s motion as fit actors throw it through one of two metal rings. One of these rings elicits cheers from the crowd as the object passes through, […]