Fig. 1: This graph shows received and sent text messages by month. Notice the spike in July 2010.
A few weeks ago my iPhone for some reason erased ALL of my previous text messages (SMS and MMS) and it was as if I was starting with a new phone. After doing some digging I discovered that each time you sync your iPhone a copy of its text message database is saved on your computer which can be accessed without jailbreaking.
My original intent was to take the old database and union it with the new database for all the texting I had done since then, thus restoring all of my text messages. But once I got into the SQLite database I realized that I had a ton of information on my hands that was begging to be analyzed. It also didn’t hurt that I was in a lovely but small Vermont town for the week without much else to do at night.
My first finding, as seen above, is that my text messaging spiked after my girlfriend and I broke up around July of last year. Notice that for both years there is a dip in December. That’s because in 2009 I was in Burma during December and for 2010 the data stopped on December 6th when the last backup was made. A simple t-test confirmed that my texting did indeed increase after the breakup.
More interestingly, is that before my girlfriend and I broke up last year I texted more men than women, but shortly after we broke up that flipped. I don’t think that needs much of an explanation. The above graph and further analysis excludes her and family members because they would bias the gender effect. Being a good statistician I ran a poisson regression to see if there really was a significant change. The coefficient plot below (which is on the logarithmic scale) shows that my texting with males increased after the breakup (or Epoch) by 74% (calculated by summing the coefficients for “Epoch”, “Male” and “Male:Epoch” and then exponentiating) while my texting with females increased 127%.
It gets really interesting when he says, “You know these deep-dish pizzas—it’s not pizza. It’s very good, but … call it tomato pie or something.” While an argument can certainly me made that deep-dish pizza is almost a casserole, I think the folks down in Trenton (where Scalia was born) have already claimed the name tomato pie, referring to a round pie with the sauce on top.
As many people are aware two nights ago was a total lunar eclipse that occured on the winter solstice, a pretty rare combination. I won’t go into the math behind the eclipse or the solstice or discuss the rarity or physics of the event. I just want to show off these great pictures. Early Tuesday morning my friend John (who is not a professional photographer) and I climbed up to the roof of my building with his pro camera and gear armed only with many layers of Under Armour and North Face and hot chocolate.
We took probably a hundred pictures, but these are the two he sent me. They were taken with a high end Canon DSLR with a powerful telephoto lens and a tripod. I’m not certain of the specifics, but we used a middle-sized aperture setting and long exposures, ranging from 4 to 30 seconds. Next up I want to mount this thing to a telescope.
He also took a bunch of pictures on a behind-the-scenes tour of Grand Central that I find breathtaking.
For the past few weeks Time Out New York‘s Dating columnist, Jamie Bufalino, has been fielding letters discussing the ratio of homosexual to heterosexual questions he answers. The readers suggested that disproportionate attention is paid to Gay and Lesbian issues compared to the Gay and Lesbian proportion of the general population.
Jamie rudely called his readers “ass-wipes” and repeatedly told them to “remove your head from your ass.” He also professed to have “no idea what the percentage is of gay/bi versus straight issues that end up in the column.”
One question and response:
Q I see statistics that show NYC to be 6 percent gay, lesbian and bi, and yet in “Get Naked” you feature letters from them almost to the exclusion of heteros. Why the preoccupation with them in your column? It doesn’t seem right or logical. As one of the other 94 percent, I am disappointed and offended weekly.
A All I can say is: You’ve got your head up your butt. Just in the past month or so, I’ve answered letters from a straight guy with a weird fetish that suddenly stopped delivering the jollies it used to, a straight guy who was juggling a woman from the Ukraine and a woman from Jersey, a woman who had an issue with sticking her finger up her boyfriend’s butt, a 19-year-old woman who was getting pressured to have sex with her boyfriend, and on and on. If, for some reason, you happen to be obsessing over the gay and bi questions and not acknowledging the straight ones, that’s your issue, not mine.
Q I always read your column to see if I can learn something and just for shits and giggles. The one thing that has always bothered me is your preoccupation with gay and bi problems. Gays and lesbians get their own special section of three to four pages!
A First of all, dude, you sound like one of those total ass-wipes who believes that gay people somehow have all these special privileges that straight people aren’t entitled to. Honestly, I have no idea what the percentage is of gay/bi versus straight issues that end up in the column, because it doesn’t matter. If you removed your head from your ass, you’d realize that so many sexual issues are universal and that you can learn something from all sorts of people who don’t fit into your specific demographic.
When confronted with the data he once again reffered to a “head lodged up [a] rectum” and suggested the reader was “paranoid.”
Q As a statistician I am disappointed by your response to a question in the November 4 issue [TONY788]. The reader wrote, “I see statistics that show NYC to be 6 percent gay, lesbian and bi, and yet in ‘Get Naked’ you feature letters from them almost to the exclusion of heteros. Why the preoccupation with them in your column? … As one of the other 94 percent, I am disappointed and offended weekly.” You responded by citing individual examples of heterosexual questions you’ve fielded, which is not a valid form of proof. I went through about ten months’ worth of “Get Naked” columns on the TONY website and found that approximately 19 percent of the questions were from gay (15 percent) or lesbian (4 percent) readers. Whether or not that percentage is representative of the general population is not my concern. I just feel that Jamie should have his data correct and not write, “You’ve got your head up your butt.”
A I seriously cannot believe I am still getting letters about this. Okay, Mr. Disappointed Statistician: If you don’t want to come off as someone who has his head lodged up his rectum, it would be an awesome idea not to leap to the defense of some jackass who claims I cater to homo letters “almost to the exclusion of heteros” and then point out that straight issues actually make up a full 81 percent of the subject matter here in “Get Naked.” What I want to know is, why are you even keeping score? Are you really that insecure about the amount of attention heterosexual sex gets in the media? If so, that’s both laughable and sad. This is the last time I’m addressing this, so here’s my final bit of advice to you (and your like-minded brethren): Stop being so paranoid.
Since Jamie is so rude to his readers and clearly doesn’t have any sense of the data, I thought I’d take a look at the numbers. Results after the break.
The other week I finally made it to the Ed Tufte exhibit in Chelsea. The gallery is a collection of his art and not about data, though as he tells it data is not important, but information is and that his art conveys information of all kinds. Going on a Saturday means you’ll get a tour from the artist himself. Getting to hear him describe his art and the way the eye and mind see it is really fascinating.
We had a chance to briefly chat about data (how could I resist) and he reinforced the notion that the medium, or the code or graphics, don’t matter. He “would use sock puppets to get his point across” if that was necessary. Something that al data visualists should keep in mind.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that even with all the concern around gerrymandering that in reality the upcoming redistricting probably won’t have much affect on upcoming elections. Gary King is mentioned as having written a paper “that helped demonstrate the relative impotence of partisan redistricting” yet “he favors the efforts to create a statistical method that would replace it.” I personally am always for using math and hard numbers to solve any problem whenever possible.
The article also mentioned a “conference last year in Washington, D.C., researchers proposed alternatives.” David Epstein presented a paper at that conference that Andy Gelman and I worked on.
While the article quoted one of Dr. Gelman’s papers it unfortunately did not mention him, or any of us by name. However, the accompanying blog post did mention both Dr.s Gelman and Epstein with specific quotes of them and their work.
As requested I have posted the presentation for all to see. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. The data and Rcodeare also posted and we will post at least the presentation on the Meetup page. Everything is also available in one convenient package at GitHub.
Update: Harlan wrote up a great summary of the night.