After writing my last post, Iterations on a Profession, a couple of weeks ago, I was prompted to pick up my copy of Eleanor Roosevelt’s book, You Learn by Living, and re-read the first chapter entitled, “Learning to Learn.” It’s a favorite, filled with great words of wisdom and reminders that life isn’t much of anything, once we stop learning. There are many quotable passages, but I chose the above to share here. As you read it, remember this … it was written in 1960. Fifty years ago, “our world was startlingly new.” And surely 50 years before that and 50 years before that and on and on for as long as humans have been riding on the planet. I get hung up too often on how different everything is today, how much change I’ve experienced in my lifetime and in my profession – all in the same timeframe since Mrs. Roosevelt wrote these words. Adapting to change is nothing new.
The other line from that chapter that lifted my spirits, “if you are interested, you never have to look for new interests. They come to you.” Yes. Thank you for reminding me that it’s a gift to be interested, Mrs. Roosevelt.
Now then, while I was brooding over things, my bookmark folder got filled again. Time to share some with you.
Conference time is upon us and that means many are busy making posters to show off their projects, work, ideas, etc. Better Posters is a great resource to help you make a not-so-awful-and-all-too-common academic poster. Blog posts are added frequently and humor is never in short supply.
Remember Bridget Jones, the character portrayed wonderfully by Renee Zellweger in the movies of the same name? Well, you may or may not know that her character came to be from a regular column authored by Helen Fielding for the British newspaper, the Independent, in the 1990s. The Independent recently ceased publication of its print paper, becoming a digital-only media outlet. Fielding was interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition late last month. She speaks of many things, but one of particular interest to my readers might be her thoughts on what’s lost in the shift from print to digital. Anything? You’ll have to listen to find out.
Several items related to data (because, you know, it’s a lot of what I do):
- An article in my local Worcester Telegram on how a world of “big data” needs people educated in the liberal arts, too. It’s not all about tech.
- A real-life demonstration of the use of big data can have dramatic effects on the child welfare system – Can Big Data Save These Children, from PBS NewsHour.
- The National Center for Health Statistics has a nice collection of data visualizations that I’d never come across before. Bookmarked.
- Is Data Visualization the Most Important Stage of Data Analytics is an interesting read. I shared it with the computer science and math faculty that I’ve been discussing the development of a data visualization class with. The site that produced it, Innovation Enterprise, is loaded with good stuff.
- Why You Should Never Ignore Qualitative Data is a hilarious comic. And oh so true.
- Gravy Anecdote is the blog/website of Andy Cotgreave, a Technical Evangelist for Tableau. I watched a very informative webinar that he did entitled, How Data Storytelling Can Enhance the Way You Communicate, one in the series produced by BrightTALK. I’ve watched several of their webinars and found many to be quite good. Note, there’s an audio glitch a few minutes in to Andy’s talk. Just wait through it. It doesn’t last long. (Live and learn.) From this talk, I discovered Periscopic, a data visualization studio on the West Coast (USA) doing some amazing work. You can browse through some of their portfolio. I also found Ben Jones’ blog, DataRemixed. Ben also works for Tableau. It’s going to take me awhile to get through all of the things here.
- Why all of the Tableau focus? One reason is because last week I was trying to teach myself how to use it to create a social network visualization. I found some help from the blog post, In Chaos, Clarity: Social Network Diagrams in Tableau. I remain irked that NodeXL is a Windows-only add-on for Excel (Mac user that I am), but there are workarounds. Believe me.
Just a few more and these are mostly for fun.
Kurt Vonnegut diagrams The Shape of Stories in this YouTube video. I love one viewer’s comment, “It’s like a cross between a college lecture and a stand-up comedy routine!” It’s pretty funny AND informative.
If you need a story about how to turn a bad situation into something good, read My Wife Left Me with Nothing but a Dog, So I Started this Fun Photo Series. Amazing! I love that dog!
Photos of the archives of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum made the social media rounds a few weeks back. In case you missed it, you can catch up here. I would love a tour some day.
And finally, the one thing that has preoccupied me for more hours than I dare say over the past month… the DC Eagle Cam. Mr. President and the First Lady had a pair of eaglets in March and I have been FASCINATED watching them grow. And I’m not alone. They’ve gotten press on both National Public Radio and the Washington Post. They reside in the Azalea Collection at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, DC. Watch online. You can’t get close to them in person.
And with that … Happy Spring!!