Lumpy Links

Here’s a lump of interesting articles I’ve come across over the past few weeks.

I got to see Jeffery Veen present at WordCamp San Francisco a few weeks ago. This video really hits home regarding some of our work at Mercy.

Moving Past Default Charts (in R) – did you know R can make pretty charts?
The Psychological Comforts of Storytelling – to say more would spoil the story.
Ryan Goodman talks about why culture is the important part of any analytics project.
“Driving a culture where people think visually is not about a faster way to create bar charts. After carefully walking through the “people” aspect of driving a visualization roadmap, I asked the attendees (60/40 mix of business and IT professionals) to collaborate in micro round table discussions focused on technology. First, they took turns painting a perfect picture of what the optimal technology mix would look like. Immediately after they went through the self admitting process stating their organization’s current deficiencies. Sure enough, discussions evolved from technology to “people and process” and the body language quickly changed watching from the front of the room.”
Michael Jordan (no, not the athlete) on the delusions of big data,
“Now, if I start allowing myself to look at all of the combinations of these features—if you live in Beijing, and you ride bike to work, and you work in a certain job, and are a certain age—what’s the probability you will have a certain disease or you will like my advertisement? Now I’m getting combinations of millions of attributes, and the number of such combinations is exponential; it gets to be the size of the number of atoms in the universe.

Those are the hypotheses that I’m willing to consider. And for any particular database, I will find some combination of columns that will predict perfectly any outcome, just by chance alone. If I just look at all the people who have a heart attack and compare them to all the people that don’t have a heart attack, and I’m looking for combinations of the columns that predict heart attacks, I will find all kinds of spurious combinations of columns, because there are huge numbers of them.

So it’s like having billions of monkeys typing. One of them will write Shakespeare.”

The UK government is working on a huge (some might even say ‘Big”) data sharing program of anonymoized health data. One of the concerns being raised? Communication of what’s being shared and how.
Many of the concerns critics cite in opposing the program, such as patients being under-informed, doctors being at risk of losing their patients’ trust, and insurance companies having access to the data