Book Review: “Weapons of Math Destruction. Read It!

April 14, 2017 Analysis

Cathy O’Neil’s Weapons of Math Destruction, How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, is a terrific and important book.  O’Neil has the credentials and the cred. Her Ph.D. in mathematics is from Harvard and she subsequently taught at Barnard. She took her analytical skills to D. E. Shaw, a hedge fund and then to […]

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April 7, 2017 Analysis

Hey, data mavens: Jealous?

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Another Meaning for “Use the Damn Data”

April 7, 2015 Analysis

Ben Wellington, who runs the excellent I Quant New York  did a nice job here unpacking NYC taxi charge data and found that two different systems installed in taxis calculate driver tips differently.  And he estimates the more generous (?) system produces $5.2 million in tips above what the other system provides. Of course, riders have been […]

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To Better Understand, We Need Better News Coverage of Malaysia Flight 370

March 20, 2014 Analysis

A colleague and friend, knowing of my history flying large Air Force transports internationally, and who’s intensely curious about the fate of Malaysia Flight 370, has sent me a string of emails, most with the subject line: “does this make any sense?” My first response, and one which is still correct was this: “It is […]

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Clever Examples of an Indirect Measure

February 5, 2014 Analysis

Here are some terrific examples of measuring and visualizing without interfering with existing patterns or operations and without spending much time – and I suspect – without spending any money. Though I’m bicycle-biased, I’m not a transportation policy guy or an urban planner. Yet I’ve always admired those who figure out how to measure any […]

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Keeping Watch for Local Government Fiscal Stress

December 2, 2012 Accounting

New York’s Comptroller, Tom DiNapoli has issued a draft proposal for identifying local governments at risk of fiscal stress. An earlier report touches on local fiscal distress. And here, former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky discusses the earlier Comptroller’s report. It’s a good idea, and given the local governments that have already gotten themselves in trouble the […]

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Political Moneyball and the End of Horserace Punditry?

November 2, 2012 Analysis

The past few days, there’s been a lot of chatter about the contrast between 538’s Nate Silver and subjective observers like Joe Scarborough and their respect electoral analyses. Some of it has gotten pretty ugly, especially about Silver. So Silver offered Scarborough a bet on Twitter. If Silver’s right and Obama wins, Scarborough gives $1,000 […]

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A “Moneyball” Moment in the Presidential Campaign

October 23, 2012 Analysis

With two weeks to go before the election, James Fallows notes the increasing difference between the perspective of the “old pros” who believe that Romney has the momentum that will lead him to defeat Obama and the poll and economics-driven number crunchers like Nate Silver whose current numbers suggest that Obama has the advantage. Fallows […]

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