Monthly Archives March 2012

How Much More Women Pay for Health Insurance

tumblr m1ljse0xKX1qzhkvho1 r1 1280 1024x682 How Much More Women Pay for Health Insurance

As seen in Flowing Data today, reposted from the Obama campaign’s Tumblr page yesterday. We’re curious what you think.


Beware of the Filter Bubble

Eli Pariser, author of “The Filter Bubble” delivers a compelling TEDTalk on the dangerous unintended consequences of web companies tailoring news and search results to our personal tastes. He argues that this personalization is the internet showing us what it “thinks” we should see, as opposed to what we should or need to see.

Arguably, we already live with a filter bubble with the media we choose to ingest and to ignore. Consider the viewers of FOX News versus the Daily Show and the rare folks that cross over or seek out a broader array of opinions. Most folks take in media that reaffirms their existing views, rather than challenging their perspectives. We do this in our personal lives, with the friends we choose and in our business lives, with the narrow view we take on our own data. We encourage all of our readers to consider making uncomfortable decisions – seek out opinions that oppose yours, get into lively debates with your friends and put your data in the context of the broader world. You can read more about the idea of data in context in Flip Kromer’s posts on Big Data Predictions for 2012 and On Being Wrong in Paris.

How to Build a Hadoop Cluster in 20 Minutes

If you’ve ever tried your hand at manually provisioning, configuring and deploying a Hadoop cluster, you know that it can take days or weeks to create a fully functional system. With tools like Chef, this time can be cut down to a matter of hours or days (depending on the size of the cluster). In this video, Dhruv Bansal, Chief Science Officer of Infochimps, builds a Hadoop cluster in 20 minutes with Ironfan.

Ironfan is the foundation for your Big Data stack, making provisioning and configuring your Big Data infrastructure simple. Spin up clusters when you need them, kill them when you don’t, so you can spend your time, money, and engineering focus on finding insights, not getting your machines ready. To learn more about how Ironfan enables The Infochimps Platform, check out our white paper.

Chimps in the Wild

Did you miss us during SXSW? Lucky for you, we may be in a city near you very soon! With about half a dozen speaking engagements at meetups and conferences in New York and the Bay Area over the next few months, we’ll be on both coasts and available for in person conversations.

A little later this week, founders, Joe Kelly and Dhruv Bansal will be in New York City for Structure: Data. Just give us a shout if you’d like to meet up with them to chat about Big Data and the Infochimps Platform!

Three Years, 2.5 Million Data Points, One Lifelong Obsession with Maps

aaronpk handwritten commute logs Three Years, 2.5 Million Data Points, One Lifelong Obsession with Maps

Last week, we posted a TedxVancouver talk from Jer Thorp about the humanity in data. Today, we bring you the story of Aaron Parecki, who grew from a geo-data obsessed youth (the above are the detailed logs he kept of his commutes with his parents from 1995-1997) to a digital cartography expert. Co-founder of Geoloqi, Aaron has been tracking and visualizing his location every six seconds for the past three years.  Projects like this have existed in the past, but Aaron’s dedication to self-surveillance throughout his life is impressive.

What comes out of this data is a beautiful visual story of a person’s life – where he spends his time and how this has changed over time depending on where he’s lived. It’s about as personal of a city map as one can get. To read more about this project and Aaron, check out the Co.Design article and Aaron’s website.

2012 03 aaronpk gps map portland close Three Years, 2.5 Million Data Points, One Lifelong Obsession with Maps

Keep It Simple

I’ve been reading Superfreakonomics and just finished up the chapter on how the best fixes are often the simplest and cheapest. This talk from Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame reminds us of how simple ideas have lead to some of the most revolutionary scientific discoveries. Both are great reminders for your professional and personal lives.

The Evolution of SXSW Interactive

We’ve been deep in the chaos of SXSW Interactive since late last week and it’s amazing to see how much the conference has changed even in the few years that we have existed as a company. Even more amazing is how far the conference has come since it’s inception in 1994 (18 years ago!) and how it’s changed from a music festival with a “film and multimedia conference” tacked on to the launchpad for tech that it is today.  In 2010, the number of attendees for Interactive surpassed Music for the first time and by all accounts it seems like this trend will only continue.

Infographic via Cool Infographics, created by Silicon Angle and Rocksauce Studios The Evolution of SXSW Interactive

The Parts of Humans Data Can Explain

Jer Thorp is the data artist in residence at The New York Times. His projects, including Cascade and the September 11th Memorial, focus on using data to uncover and showcase the underlying humanity in human-generated data.  Check out his talk in the video above and head over to his G+ page where you can check out a surprising conversation that sprung up around capitalism and data.

Find us at SXSW!

sxsw interactive logo Find us at SXSW!

We’re just four short days away from the start of the beautiful madness we call SXSW Interactive and as you prepare for what has been lovingly referred to as “Geek Spring Break“, you may be wondering how to track down some of the smart chimps in the jungle. Well, you’re in luck, here’s your field guide to finding our founders: Flip Kromer, Dhruv Bansal, and Joe Kelly in the chaos.

Disambiguation: Embrace Wrong Answers & Find Truth
Sunday, March 11 12:30pm – 1:30pm | Hilton Garden Inn (Rio Grande)

Big Data can solve big problems, but it can also head to big headaches. For example, seemingly easy questions can gain immense complexity when you consider ambiguity. Dhruv Bansal and Flip Kromer will be presenting a tag-team panel on how we can embrace ambiguity and #findtruth in our data.

Data Show and Tell: International Data-Driven Journalism Unconference
Sunday, March 11 3:00pm – 5:00pm | Texas Tribune (823 Congress Ave, Suite 210)

We’re joining NPR, Deutsche Welle Innovation Projects and the Texas Tribute for an unconference for the data people  – with a focus on data journalism and data science. Topics of discussion will include examples of reporting based on data, cool data visualization and how to create them, how to create more effective data-driven teams in the newsroom, and more! Interested in attending? Email Mirko Lorenz to reserve a spot!

Austin [Big] Data Party!
Sunday, March 11 6:00pm – 9:00pm | Elysium (705 Red River St.)

Hobnob with some of the world’s biggest data geeks at the Austin [Big] Data Party, organized by GeekAustin. We’re one of the co-sponsors and would love to share a drink with you! No badge required – just RSVP!

Big Data Meet Up
Monday, March 12 3:30pm – 4:30pm | Hilton Austin Downtown (Room 615AB)

Get together with other Big Data professionals for an hour of brainstorming, idea-buidling, networking, friend-making and career-enhancement. This event is presented by Silona Bonewald, co-founder of TuneHopper.
We’ll see you soon!