Showing posts from 2017

United States Federal Executive Orders

[Note: the dashboard is best viewed in Full Screen (F11) Mode]

Back in early 2016, when Trump was still seen as unelectable, he directed a portion of his Twitter barrage against President Obama on the latter’s use of Federal Executive Orders. I’m not going to pretend that I’m so politically astute that these comments caught my attention at that time. However, when commentators started to contrast Trump’s statements with his actions once in office, I immediately felt that this was a place where a visualisation of the data would be of use and interest. In my defence, I would note that I’m not so naïve that I believe that actual facts and figures hold sway any longer in either US or British politics … we can but try!
The datasource My initial experimentations and explorations of this data started with the List of United States federal executive orders Wiki page. This is quite high-level data, giving the rolled up figures per US president along with a handy calculation of their total tenure …

Global Terrorism. A Visual Analysis

I recently wrote about my initial experiments in visualising data relating to terrorist attacks. My conclusions were that although the dashboard accurately portrayed the underlying data, I needed a better datasource to provide more detail and a broader context. After a bit of digging, I found a series of Wikipedia pages that attempt to collate all known terrorist attacks across the globe on a month by month basis. This data runs from the present time back to January 2015 [2015, 2016, & 2017]. Before this, Wikipedia has data available for the period from 2010-2014 broken into 6-month blocks and data from 1970-2009 is available in whole year pages. I’ve elected to restrict my choice of data to the period from 2015 onwards for a number of reasons. A brief perusal of the earlier data confirmed that while it was richer and more detailed than what I had used previously, it was still not fully comparable to the data from 2015-17. While I am usually interested in pushing the data back as …

Terrorism in Europe 1867-2017. Initial Experiments with the Data

In the aftermath of the attacks at the Manchester Arena in May 2017 and at London Bridge the following month, I felt that I wanted to take a closer look at data relating to terrorist attacks across Europe. At a purely personal level, my hope was to discern patterns and provide a broader context for my own understanding. In searching for a suitable data asset, I encountered the Terrorism in Europe Wikipedia page. The data doesn’t attempt to cover every incident, limiting itself to those where 10 or more people (including the perpetrators) died. It also consciously defines actions by State actors as beyond the definition of terrorism – a nuance lost on some critics of both the dashboard and the underlying data.
The Data One chief attraction from the point of view of creating a visualisation is that the data in the Wiki article was relatively clean and needed relatively little tweaking to make serviceable. I’m always nervous about dates in Tableau, so I spent some time breaking the Wiki fo…

Rain Unraveled Tales: A Bob Dylan data journey ...

Screenshot of the Tableau Dashboard. Available [here] and at the end of this post.
Following on from my previous post about Bob Dylan and Tableau, I wanted to go back and revisit the datasource to see what else could be done with it and how else I could approach visualising the data. Rather than just writing it up for this blog, I though I'd take up a recent challenge to create a video blog or 'Vlog' as I'm assured all the cool kids call them ... so instead of reading my words, sit back, relax ... maybe put some Dylan on in the background ... and listen to me talk you through my latest Tableau Public data visualisation: Rain Unraveled Tales: A Bob Dylan data journey  ...

If there are issues with this embedded version, try the dashboard on my Tableau Public page [here]. Similarly, if there are any issues with the video you can watch it on YouTube [here]

Just a little glimpse of a data story I’ll tell ’Bout a North Country singer that you all know well

Screenshot of the Tableau Dashboard. Available [here] and at the end of this post.
A dream of Bob Dylan When I was a kid, my parents wanted to ensure that I’d do as well as I possibly could in exams and get a place in University. To this end they hired a personal tutor to give me additional tuition in a variety of subjects that I kinda sucked at.* That’s why they hired JS. The routine was always the same … JS would come to my house and I’d attempt to feign interest and proficiency in my coursework for an hour or so, a couple of times a week. One evening I was listening to the radio when he came over and his first words were ‘What’s that on the radio?’ … well, no, actually … he didn’t say that at all … his language was peppered with obscenities and, when I said it was just something from the charts, he only got more agitated. Lessons were abandoned for the evening as I was treated to a tirade on the poor quality of what made the charts (it was the mid 80s … he wasn’t wrong). The next wee…

OpenRefine – an experiment in data cleaning

In a recent blog post on Northern Ireland’s Renewal Heat Incentive (RHI) scandal [here] I spent quite a bit of time recording all of the changes, tweaks, and decisions I had to make to get the data into a usable format. With any dataset it is important to understand the transformations that went into bringing it to its final form. If other researchers are unable to follow your process and consistently achieve the same results from the same dataset it brings your analysis into question. Beyond that, it brings the whole endeavour of data science and data analysis into disrepute. If you can’t rely on the figures to tell a consistent story, you can’t make consistent decisions, and you can’t gain reliable insights. You certainly can’t trust the folks who are furnishing you this flawed and unreliable nonsense. If you can’t rely on the information you’re seeing on your dashboard, what is it other than a collection of interesting, but meaningless, colours and shapes?
While this should be a con…