Likelihood Log

Econometrics of scale

Category Archive: General

Sourcing Data 101: Publicly Available Datasets

data-new-oil2First step in getting started with any data analysis is to actually get hold of some meaningful data.

Fortunately, we live in the age of Big Data where information is abundant in all its volume, velocity, volatility and voracity.

Last 50 years have seen unprecedented rise of video cameras, sound recorders, counters, logs, sensors, trackers, all accompanied by ever decreasing cost of storage to keep all of this data. Suddenly both capturing and storing data is easy and the challenge has shifted to the actual making sense of the data.

Thus, as long as you know how to make sense of data and to turn it into meaningful information, there is no shortage of actual data repositories out there that you can apply your skill to. A large number of these repositories are free and open to public and this should be your first point of call before investing into customized sampling and research or purchasing premium data sets from data service providers.

Today I would like to talk about large data sets that are available on the web, usually for free, for public use.


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Data Visualization

datavoz4Most of us are used to consuming information in the form of tables, graphs and charts.  In recent years, there has been growing demand from customers, stakeholders and management for information in visual form.  Being “data visualization literate” is fast becoming a skill as indispensable and basic as being able to use a word processor or Excel.

So what are some of the rules of thumb for creating a good dashboard or a set of charts?

Before going into that let’s cover a few key ideas.


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A Less Obvious Way in Which Technology Is Changing Economics

Lately there has been a lp2p 4ot of talk in the economics and tech communities about the technological revolution that is currently happening.  The “new machine age”, the “industrial revolution 2.0”, automation and artificial intelligence are replacing traditional jobs like taxi drivers, travel agents and insurance brokers.  To some, the recent protests by the taxi drivers against Uber in London, looked just like the smashing of textile machines by the Luddites in Victorian England.


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Top 5 Web Application Vulnerabilities

hackedA security researcher from Israel has discovered a very basic, almost “school boy” level bug in Gmail that could have potentially compromised millions of email addresses. He notified Google, who have rectified the problem and have rewarded the honest fellow with the whooping $500. Here is the news article that details these events:

For those technically minded, watch the embedded Youtube video that details how Oren Hafif did it.


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Big Day Today – A Computer Has Passed The Turing Test (For The First Time)

blade runnerBig Day Today!

For the first time a computer has passed the Turing Test.

Here is a detailed news article with names and dates on Gizmodo.

This is big news indeed. Those who studied theoretical Computer Science would have heard of the Turing Test, a procedure designed to distinguish whether an entity is a human being or a mere machine with formidable artificial intelligence.  The concept was first proposed by Alan Turing, one of the founders of computer science. (more…)

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KPCB Internet Trend Report 2014 Is Out Now


Kleiner Perkins (KPCB) is a venture capital firm that has, since its establishment in 1972, successfully invested in incubation of AOL,, Citrix, Compaq, Electronic Arts, Google, Intuit, Juniper Networks, Netscape, Sun Microsystems and Symantec among others – they are considered one of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital providers. Their long awaited annual Internet Trends report has just been released and it makes a fascinating read. The full report can be found here.

It’s a 164 slide powerpoint presentation, but well worth a read. For those who are too busy, here is a summary distilled to a few key points:


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JavaScript Drives Robots

This is great!  You can now use simple JavaScript to program robots.  And I mean actual robots that blink eyes, move around the room, pick up Coke cans and do other robot stuff.  Here is a podcast that explains how this happens:

All you need is a bit of web programming know-how (and I’m talking rather basic stuff), the Johnny Five library that runs on node.js and a simple Adruino open source micro controller!

Why is this big news?  Because, all of these technology components are simple, easy to get hold of and easy to learn.  And this allows almost anyone to get into robotics, play around and contribute.


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