Author: Ollie

Choropleths: color-coded maps showing data by state or other geography

A Choropleth is a colored map, typically showing information gathered by some kind of census. A well-known example is the New York Times’s COVID-19 map. Let’s say you have some data that’s coded by geographic area. For example, you might have a table showing the number of COVID cases per 100,000 people county by county in Massachusetts. It might look like… Read more →

From around the ‘toobz: articles marking the 50th anniversary of Friedman’s article

Milton Friedman wrote an article called “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Its Profits” fifty years ago. It is here. Here are some articles marking that anniversary, for reference. Some of them challenge the status quo Friedman established back then. Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times Tom Poldre, B Lab UK Article about the Business Roundtable’s challenge to… Read more →

Half a century of this is enough: Friedman’s piece saying business must be irresponsible

Fifty years ago come this Sunday, on September 13, 1970, Milton Friedman (a professor of economics at The University of Chicago) published a piece in the New York Times called “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Its Profits.” Invoking the socialist bogeyman, he argues that businesses should focus only on increasing their profits. Fifty years on, this has… Read more →

Conceived in bigotry and dedicated to the proposition that my tribe is holier than thine

“Conceived in bigotry and dedicated to the proposition that my tribe is holier than thine”. With deep apologies to President Lincoln, I fear this describes the practice of Christianity among White americans in the twenty-first century. It’s really painful to admit this. What is going on? Recently I visited a man wearing a T-shirt that said “Jesus is my savior.… Read more →

getDisplayMedia vs. getUserMedia

I’ve been messing around with the browser API navigator.mediaDevices.getDisplayMedia(). The question I hoped to answer: can I capture the content in some computer display surface and push it through the same sorts of process that I use with .getUserMedia()? I tested on Google Chrome 84. Answer: yes. It has some quirks. It doesn’t need, and indeed rejects, elaborate constraints.  {… Read more →

Flood Maps Miss Risk Factors

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) national flood insurance program has a non-governmental competitor. Here’s a Times piece about a Brooklyn-based non-governmental outfit called First Street Foundation. They’ve put together an online address lookup scheme called Flood Factor that returns a risk of flood at a property. They claim that FEMA’s rating system, based on Flood Insurance Rate Maps… Read more →

Explore pandemic data with SQL

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Exploring data with SQL

The New York Times newspaper publishes, every day, a file showing COVID-19 cases and fatalities for each county in the USA. They put their file on github here for anyone to use. So, let’s use it. Let’s download it and learn a few things about using SQL to explore data as we dig into it. Their file is called us-counties.csv.… Read more →

New Microsoft Edge rolls out to everybody this month

About time! the new Chromium-based Edge browser will show up on Windows 10 machines in this month’s update. For the cancelled Internet Explorer and Legacy Edge project people, I would have more sympathy if their work products hadn’t baffled software developers for a quarter-century. IE and old Edge were in the uncanny valley of compatibility. They worked well enough that… Read more →