Archive for June, 2013

Came cross a Software Advice blog post: Google+ Hangout with Thomas Davenport: The Future of Working with Data posted at Plotting Success. In the video, Thomas Davenport chatted about the future of working with data and other topics from his latest book, Keeping Up with the Quants.

Some quick take aways [with my quick comments]:

  • Analytics Is (Regularly) Creative [very true]

“Many think that analytics is very cut and dry, that it’s just a matter of letting the computer crunch through numbers and that creativity isn’t required,” he said. In fact, it’s quite the opposite–Davenport argued that creativity is important throughout the entire process of analytical thinking, particularly in the first and last stages

  • The Perfect Analytical Correlation: Great Companies Have Great Analysts [might be true]

“I do hear predictions all the time that we’re creating a ‘data-scientist-in-a-box’ or even going back as far as the mid-90s, people were talking about data mining replacing a data analyst,” he noted. But he doesn’t envision a day in our near future where machines will be able to replicate humans’ ability to tell “data narratives.”

  • Hire “Ph.Ds with Personality” [hard to find]

When recruiting premier quantitative analysts, Davenport advised that organizations hire “Ph.Ds with personality,” meaning data scientists should have as much of an appetite for success in business as for research.

  • Encourage Everyone to Code [Yes, Yes!]

“You don’t have to be the world’s greatest programmer,” said Davenport. “But you should have some exposure to programming.” Davenport pointed to open source scripting languages such as Python as valuable resume builders.

I think the full video is worth watching. What do you think?

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After spending the last few months in China and not able to see or post at my own blog,  this site seems dead.

For a long while the famous Great FireWall of China has been blocking access to all wordpress.com traffics. Computers in China have hard time to gain access to webpages with domain names, for example, youtube.com, facebook.com or even google.com. This is not new, but it is the first time I have a long period of time of using internet under such constraints. To be fair, there are certain ways to get around the Great Firewall, but it takes serious efforts and the connection speed would be too slow.

The effect on each person from blocking access  is not that dramatic in terms of daily life when I spent my time in China, but it does make my brain exercise less. I would like to think one would make better judgement with more useful information. From my naive user point of view, the GFW seems to be counter-productive for the development of Chinese society. If the government has the trust of their people to make the right judgement with the information, it would not spend such effort to block it from the beginning.

Anyway, my simple statistical question is how one might estimate the percentage of pages that has been blocked by the Great Firewall. First, we need a way to test if the website is block by the GFW or not. By looking my site statistics, I realize that it has been a long time that my blog has visitors from allover the world except from China. But it may just due to my content has nothing interest Chinese readers. Or maybe I was blocked.

To check if a site has been blocked by GFW seems to be an easy test, but it is hard to be done when one is outside of China. In other words, it takes extra efforts for any website outside of China to know if it reaches users in China. Fortunately, a simple google search find me a nice webpage called greatfirewallofchina.org where you can test if a site can be reached from China.

It comes handy if we can simple a selection of webpage and test there, we may have a better sense of the percentage of webpages that has been hidden from the users in China. Since GWF blocked blogs on wordpress.com, I thought it would be better if I change the domain of my site from (taoshistat.wordpress.com) to something else so it would not be blocked. I paid the due and changed it to statisticsforfun.com for a test. It is not blocked by GWF now. Cheers!

Even more surprising, a few days after I changed my domain address,I found that my older address becomes also accessible.

It turns out that other wordpress.com blogs also become accessible from China. What a pleasure and unpleasure surprise!

GFW is not blocking wordpress.com any longer, like the Larry Wasserman’s Normal Deviate on wordpress.com.

Now I have to wonder if this change on GFW has anything to do with the 10 bucks I paid or not 🙂

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