Tag Archives: analysis

Ask a question first

Artemy Lebedev of Designer’s Block articulates the problem we’ve discovered after diving into big data:

There is no way to think up an original and extraordinary design—it can only come as a result of pursuing a given task. In the same way running down a list of words is different from making a narrative.

As FlowingData adds:

This applies to visualization too. When you don’t have a question to answer or a simple wonderment about something, you end up staring at a bunch of numbers with no clue what to do with them. Want to test this out? Go to data.gov and make something useful.

via Visualizing data: ask a question first.


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One way to profile Facebook users

We’ve been wondering how to do analysis on Facebook users, given those pesky privacy settings that can lock out all the cheerful bots and scrapers of market researchers. If you can’t see a profile, you can’t… well… profile. Can you?

Freeze Pops group on facebookEnter FanPageAnalytics.com, which cleverly uses Facebook fan pages, and builds datasets based on who “Became a fan of…” various things. For example, who likes Freeze Pops? And what would an ambitious, cut-throat Freeze Pop executive give for a detailed profile of desert-dwelling fans?

From the About page: Fan Page Analytics uses over 100 million public profiles to offer detailed information on popular brands, bands, politicians and celebrities.

As a result you get gorgeous visualizations like this:

The data is already being used to make new borders for post-2012 North America, after the Mayan calendar has expired and the US government collapses:

The image above shows connections between locations which share friends. “For example, a lot of people in LA have friends in San Francisco, so there’s a line between them.” Given this beginning:

Looking at the network of US cities, it’s been remarkable to see how groups of them form clusters, with strong connections locally but few contacts outside the cluster. For example Columbus, OH and Charleston WV are nearby as the crow flies, but share few connections, with Columbus clearly part of the North, and Charleston tied to the South.

PeteSearch Blog: How to split up the US.

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Filed under Analysis Ideas, visualization, Web tool

IMINT & Analysis: Free Intel Career Webinar

On Thursday, 28 January, at 1100 PST, Professor Edward M. Roche, Ph.D., J.D. will lead a free “Insider’s Guide” webinar on the impact of social networking and virtual worlds on intelligence collection. During the webinar Professor Roche will discuss topics including methods of intelligence gathering and surveillance through social networks, actions being taken by law enforcement and intelligence agencies to monitor and combat terrorism through social networks, and the legal implications of using the Internet as a medium on intelligence gathering.

Register here: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/969996819

via IMINT & Analysis: Free Intel Career Webinar.

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Filed under Online event

Security Jam: Massive online conference

Security & Defence Agenda (SDA), a Brussels-based think tank, is hosting “Security Jam.”

Security Jam is an online conference where thousands of representatives and experts from around the world will provide input into security strategies and analysis of threats to international peace.

The Jam Session is to be open to defence and security specialists and non-specialists alike with the aim of widening the security debate beyond purely military matters. The growing importance of NGOs in security thinking and practice is due to be reflected in the Jam Session’s week-long discussions.

Register at this URL: http://www.eyecone.com/sda/

What is a “jam?” Here’s a video about online jamming, how to find your “myJam” page, bookmarking discussions, etc. Very cool! Watch the video here.

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Counter-terrorism: data analysis is converging with data visualization

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern explains why counter-terrorism is in “shambles” and the path toward fixing it: http://consortiumnews.com/2010/010510c.html. (Via the excitable and apparently left-leaning Consortiumnews.com.)

On the other hand, we seem to be approaching a convergence point between data visualization and data analysis. Univ. of Maryland computer scientist V.S. Subrahmanian is working on a technology to help soldiers figure out where insurgents are hiding their bomb supplies: “Using data from a series of related bombings in Baghdad, [a new analysis system] system was able to predict – within less than a third of a mile in eight out of 14 cases – where explosives caches were actually found.”


And Palantir just added a new post about intelligence integration in its amazing Palantir analysis blog:

Intelligence Integration in Palantir: An Open-Source View of the Afghan Conflict

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