What is a neighborhood (or you say SoHo, I say NoHo)?

Two startups ago (circa 2005) I created Urban Mapping. Its initial product was a database of spatially-referenced boundaries that define informal space. Since the utility of postal codes outside of delivering mail is near zero, neighborhoods are a smart way to organize and search when local matters. While I sold the company in 2015, some … Continue reading What is a neighborhood (or you say SoHo, I say NoHo)?

Potemkin Villages and Signal Obfuscation

The quest for non-traditional data to understand and exploit opportunity has been around since the advent of markets. While the realization that alt data can be used to supplement existing analyses has caught fire the past few years, it has not spilled over to markets more broadly. Because of the unusual skill set of the … Continue reading Potemkin Villages and Signal Obfuscation

Recycled News/Whining: Illegal Fishing is Hampered by Data Gaps

Quartz reporting on an often ignored, but tragic issue in the world's oceans. The story is based on a report by the UK Overseas Development Institute, an independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues. The report, Fishing for data, should be lauded for surveying the landscape of actors combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. It … Continue reading Recycled News/Whining: Illegal Fishing is Hampered by Data Gaps

“Ground Truth” With Governmental Archives

Terrible title, I know, but the gist is to understand government 'perception v reality' with regard to public release of data. This project sought to look at public news accounts of world events and compare them to contemporaneous, but time-delayed government disclosure. In short, is a government 'hiding' anything from the pubic or are 'words … Continue reading “Ground Truth” With Governmental Archives

Kilimanjaro Trekking Hacks/Tips

A few infobits that might be useful for those researching a trip to Kili. I didn’t want to rehash what others have written, but with no shortage of info online, you should be able to fill in gaps. Operator – I’m a fan of supporting the local economy as much as is reasonable. Booking a … Continue reading Kilimanjaro Trekking Hacks/Tips

To the Namib!

After an exhilarating summit of Mt Kilimanjaro (more on that later), I took a one day Safari at Tarengerie National Park near Moshi (more, later), then zipped to Zanzibar for a few days (more, later) to rest my achy bones. On Dec 28 I flew across Africa to Walvis Bay in Nambia to meet up … Continue reading To the Namib!

The Ceiling of Africa, done!

If you have a short attention span, skip to the real action below! Otherwise, some geological foreplay. I was on an 8 day Lemosho trek. The daily distance wasnt tremendous, but this also ensured proper acclimatization. When I woke up at Karanga on day four and opened my tent, BAM--- Kili staring me down, so … Continue reading The Ceiling of Africa, done!

Barranco Camp (3960m) Disco Tent

I haven't gotten details, but apparently this thing is big enough to stand in, which means it is big enough to dance in. 

Back on the trail

It's been a while, but I'm back on the road before I dig into my next venture (more about that another time). This trip is of the closed-ended variety: Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and Namibia for about a month. First stop is Kili, where I'm trekking the 8 day Lemosho route. After a few sub-4,000 meter treks, … Continue reading Back on the trail

Idea Graveyard: Ground Truth Aggregation

[Note: this post is latest in my series of "startups that weren't." You can read more about other ideas I've (for now!) put in the idea graveyard.] Not too long ago quant research strategies employed by hedge funds were one of the few places time series data was analyzed at scale. But with the flood … Continue reading Idea Graveyard: Ground Truth Aggregation

Statistical Insignificance, Graphic Novel Edition

For those living under a rock [Ed: note irony, as it's doubtful this is on your mind], you may be unaware of the tremendous controversy brewing in academic circles on the topic of reproducibility of published research. For those who think this may be a silly intellectual argument, the truth is quite alarming. The whole … Continue reading Statistical Insignificance, Graphic Novel Edition

“Succulent” Tuna Fish

Simple project Number Two entailed refashioning empty tins of tuna for the beta version below. After pushing this to prod I immediately realized how to improve. After the pic for the step-by-step caption-driven DIY tutorial! What to do with tinned fish containers apart from toss in the recycle bin? Why, use as a foundation for … Continue reading “Succulent” Tuna Fish

Lazy DIY: From Fire Escape to ‘Garden’

I recently moved into my new apartment in Bed Stuy and instantly knew how to transform an ugly, unusable fire escape into something playful, functional and maybe even a bit ironic. My skills in craftiness are more conceptual, but this was pretty straightforward and results were as I expected/hoped. You'll need a tape measure, utility knife or … Continue reading Lazy DIY: From Fire Escape to ‘Garden’

When Data Science Alone Won’t Cut it: Deriving Signal from Observations in the Maritime Domain

I recently read an article (paywall) in the WSJ about Paul Allen’s Vulcan initiative to curb illegal fishing. It's insightful and sheds light on Big Data techniques to address societal problems. After thinking on the story, it struck me that it could be used as a pedagogical tool to synthesize data science with domain knowledge. … Continue reading When Data Science Alone Won’t Cut it: Deriving Signal from Observations in the Maritime Domain

You Say Predicting, I say Reporting

The more the world of Big Data/novel analytic techniques/machine learning is internalized, the greater the likelihood assumptions move to presumptions and technical terms unwittingly become marketing terms. The Gartner Hype Cycle is a great illustration. In the context of "predictive analytics," it's worth knowing what people actually mean. First, predictions--obviously the term is about the future, … Continue reading You Say Predicting, I say Reporting

Idea Graveyard: Leadgen for Cloud Infrastructure

[This is the first in a series of posts about businesses that weren't for a variety of reasons. You can read about others in Projects and Ideas.] In October 2016 I spent a few months with my friend and former board member/employee Jake Baillie looking into building a service that would offer a cloud computing estimation/calculator to help … Continue reading Idea Graveyard: Leadgen for Cloud Infrastructure

Government Stats Are Ready for Change (Book Review)

For those of you similarly interested (obsessed?) with the changing role of government statistics relative to the explosion of highly dimensional private sector data, I recommend having a look at Innovations in Federal Statistics: Combining Data Sources While Protecting Privacy from the National Academy of Sciences. It's an easy read and offers a solid foundation for those who seek a … Continue reading Government Stats Are Ready for Change (Book Review)

Podcasts We Love!

The golden age of radio is upon us (again), this time with fantastic production value and oh so much choice. My top ten below for those who put a premium on commute time. Not an easy list to rank! The folks at Radiotopia are doing a bang-up job and seems like they are just getting started. Le … Continue reading Podcasts We Love!

Talkin’ Geo

Thanks to James Fee for the reboot of Hangouts with James Fee, a geo-centric podcast. The backstory to this goes back close to ten years when Steve Coast started This Week In Maps, a sort of weekly roundtable recorded call (pre podcast, via Skype!) of some ole grumpies (Marc Prioleau Di-Ann Eisnor, Steve and James) … Continue reading Talkin’ Geo

Proxy Indicators: beware of spurious claims

I recently stumbled across a research paper, Using Deep Learning and Google Street View to Estimate the Demographic Makeup of the US, which piqued my interest in derivative uses of data, an ongoing research interest of mine. A variety of deep learning techniques were used to draw conclusions about relationships of car ownership, political affiliation … Continue reading Proxy Indicators: beware of spurious claims