Strength in Numbers

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Through the eyes of the algorithm

Eugene Wei looks closer at the algorithms that drive TikTok and how its design provided an effective feedback loop: But for TikTok (or Douyin, its Chinese clone), who needed an algorithm that would excel at recommending short videos to viewers, no such massive publicly available training dataset existed. Where could you find short videos of memes,...

✚ The Process 117 – Accumulating Data

It might be tricky. It might be tedious. But it'll make your process more straightforward when it's time to visualize. Read More

Your place in the vaccine line

Using estimates from the Surgo Foundation and Ariadne Labs, Stuart A. Thompson for NYT Opinion shows how many people are in front of you to get the coronavirus vaccine. Just enter your age, if you’re an essential worker, and the county you live in for an idea of where you are. Tags: coronavirus, New York Times, Stuart A. Thompson, vaccine, waiting

Searching for Blue Moon ice cream

Daniel Huffman grew up with an ice cream flavor called Blue Moon. Where he’s from, it’s a common menu item, so he figured it was common nationally. Nope. So Huffman did some cartographic sleuthing: In recent years, I have come to learn that it’s not widely available throughout the United States. It is, instead, a regional flavor, with various articles...

A game where you get to be a faceworker and mess with an AI system

Kyle McDonald, in collaboration with Greg Borenstein, Evelyn Masso, and Fei Lui, made Facework. It’s a game that imagines a platform where people use their faces in a gig economy and you’re encouraged to trick the AI that you’re something you’re not — with your face. Tags: AI, face detection, game, Kyle McDonald

Scented candle reviews on Amazon and Covid-19

Prompted by a tweet about scented candles without smell and Covid-19, Kate Petrova plotted Amazon reviews for scented and unscented candles over time. Notice the downward trend for scented candles after the first confirmed case for Covid-19. Interesting if true. I’m imagining a bunch of people opening their new scented candles, taking a big whiff,...

Jobs of a data scientist

Roger Peng outlines four main roles of a data scientist: If you’re reading this and find yourself saying “I’m not an X” where X is either scientist, statistician, systems engineer, or politician, then chances are that is where you are weak at data science. I think a good data scientist has to have some skill in each of these domains in order to be...

Leftover Turkey Flowchart

I roasted a turkey. There were a lot of leftovers. But my mom taught me to never waste. Read More

Mapping 250,000 people

As we’ve talked about before, it can be hard to really understand the scale of big numbers. So when we hear that over 250,000 people died because of the coronavirus, it can be hard to conceptualize that number in our head. Lauren Tierney and Tim Meko for The Washington Post provide a point of comparison by highlighting counties that have have populations...

What to Call Your Distant Relative

When you have a big family, it's a challenge to figure out how everyone is related. So here are some charts to help you figure it out. Read More

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