Late Summer / Early Fall Recommendations, 2016

What a whirlwind of a Summer. Since the last recommendations post I started a new job at Slalom. I'm on my second project now and it's been a great experience so far, with fantastic clients. Beyond the new job, we've also had a few visitors to Minneapolis, and Emily and I took trips to Iceland and to San Luis Obispo for my 30th. It's been a great summer of exploring new places, seeing old friends and pushing myself to do the best client work I can. I've also been trying to up my Tableau and R skills (see some example fun in the Thoughts section) in addition to broader information management and data visualization approaches. Having very talented co-workers will make you want to continually push yourself to advance your skills!

Most importantly, Emily defended her dissertation and received her Ph.D!

Ok, beyond the life update here are the things I've been reading, listening to, eating, drinking and admiring that have also made this summer special. 


The Hard Bounce

Really enjoyed this crime fiction from Todd Robinson. Was a fun summer read that had the right balance of humor and grit. If you're looking for some escapist PI fiction, here you go :)

The Weeds Podcast

Every time I listen to the Weeds podcast I feel like I'm getting smarter. I'm not sure if I actually am, but the fact that it feels like I am is reason enough to listen. Their latest two episodes have been some of my favorite. The first one reviewing Caludia Goldin's research on the gender pay gap and the most recent episode which covered how changes in the way inflation adjustments are measured could have played a role in the most recent Census report on income. Yes it sounds boring, but I promise it's not. 

Keeping it 1600 Podcast

Jon Favreau, a former speechwriter for President Obama hosts a twice a week podcast that has been a breath of fresh air this election. 

Algorithms are Biased, Just Like the Humans That Create Them

Part of the promise of "Big Data" and algorithms is that data, on its own, can act without the pernicious bias that infiltrates human decision making. While this is an attractive thought, in many cases algorithms replicate the bias of the humans who are creating them. As more and more artificial intelligence is used to augment or act as a proxy for human decision making, understanding that bias exists in algorithms too is something that we'll have to grapple with as a society.  The Data and Society  research institute is already doing awesome research in this area, attempting to understand the "social and cultural issues arising from data-centric technological development."

Jay Z and the New York Times - "The War on Drugs is an Epic Fail"

Awesome short film narrated by Jay Z with illustrations by Molly Crabapple. 


Data Viz to Try Out - "Small Multiples" 

I've been using this one a lot at work recently - a stacked area chart that then is broken out into it's component parts. It's a fun way to visualize both context and detail. See example below: 

Loved this Docu series on Netflix that follows kids and coaches at the top football Junior College in Mississippi. Watch this, even if you don't like football. 


TV is really having a moment. Well, it has been having a moment for quite some time now, but the 30 minute show is really having a moment. With shows like Transparent, Girls, and many others creating a rich, humorous and dramatic sense of place in 30 minute blocks. Atlanta is the latest show to do this, and do it really well. Donald Glover said he wanted to make "Twin Peaks with Rappers". It's that and more. It breaks many of the conventions of a TV series that you didn't even realize were there and creates a real sense of place. It's awesome. 

Drink - Citra Hop Showcase Beers

Beer style of the moment

Anything with additional Citra hops. Single hop beers have been around for quite a while but recently I've been enjoying the emphasis placed on beers exploding with Citra hops. 


Three to try - 

Lift Bridge Citra Kellerbier, Surly Xtra Citra, Toppling Goliath Pseudosue

They just continue to kill it. Love the new North beanies, shirts and fleece pant. 



Intrigued by Matt & Bow, aiming to be the "Warby Parker" for denim. Yet another "try before your buy" internet e-commerce company, but, this one seems promising. 

Wear - 


Love the way these Wool Runners look and feel. 


Daniel Prager