Data Digest: Week of 9/2

Last week in data: Google tracks snacks with data science, predictive analytics aim to cut down on military suicides, race cars crunch their own numbers to tweak future models, and public open data has pros, cons, and a whole lot of interest.

Data Digest: Week of 8/26

Last week in data – Berlin’s privacy chief supports a mix of accessibility and privacy, HR departments are increasingly staffed by data scientists, NASCAR isn’t seeing a return on their Big Data investment, data visualization can be actionable for firms, and the former Soviet Bloc is proving to be a surprising source for data science talent.

David McCandless: The Beauty of Data Visualization

David McCandless, author of the popular Information is Beautiful blog, uses his 2010 TED Talk to describe how combining the language of the eye with the language of the mind enhances our understanding of complex data. He believes that the Web has turned us all into visualizers for whom processing graphic information is effortless.

Jamie Heywood: The Big Idea My Brother Inspired

In this TED Talk, Jamie Heywood shares how he turned the tragedy of his younger brother’s terminal ALS diagnosis into an opportunity to change how medical data can be used as a treatment tool. His work demonstrates that aggregate patient data collected via a social platform may be more reliable than data from clinical trials involving a very small number of patients, in some cases.

Data Science in Action: ‘Calbug’ and Citizen Scientists

Calbug, a citizen scientist effort that involves entomologists right here at UC Berkeley, is working to digitize terrestrial arthropod-specimen records with a focus on California. Their expressed goal is to “develop a database of over one million geographically referenced specimens.” Read more about how they’re going about this task and how you can help.

Deb Roy: The Birth of a Word

In his 2011 TED Talk, Deb Roy describes his ground-breaking data collection project with the MIT Media Lab. Inspired by the birth of his first child, installed video cameras in every room of his house and collected roughly 250,000 hours of multitrack audio and video, allowing his team to formulate new theories about how caregivers coach a child who is learning to speak.