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.  

And another:  

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 [TONY 788]. 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.   

Continue reading

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Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.

Ed Tufte
Ed Tufte

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 day was even more exciting for me because he autographed my copy of Envisioning Information and I became mayor of the gallery on Foursquare.

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Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.

Data Mafia Shirt

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Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.

The Father of Gerrymandering
The Father of Gerrymandering

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.

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Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.

Today is World Statistics Day as declared by the United Nations.  There are events all over the world including a mourning for the Canadian census.  The official US event (pdf) is in Washington, DC but a bunch of New Yorkers are celebrating at the bit.ly hack.a.bit.

Drew Conway has some ideas how to celebrate.

Ban Ki-Moon’s (UN Secretary General) message(pdf) on World Statistics Day:

On this first World Statistics Day I encourage the international community to work with the United Nations to enable all countries to meet their statistical needs.
 

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Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.

Last night, Harlan Harris and I gave a talk at the NY Predictive Analytics meetup.  Despite the rain there was a good turn out and people seemed to both enjoy and benefit from the presentation.

As requested I have posted the presentation for all to see.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions.  The data and R code are 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.

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Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.

Tonight I will be giving a talk with Harlan Harris at the Predictive Analytics and Machine Learning Meetup in New York.  It is going to be an introduction to Multilevel Models with examples in R and from previous projects I have worked.

Here’s the details for the talk.

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Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.

A great way to visualize the results of a regression is to use a Coefficient Plot like the one to the right.  I’ve seen people on Twitter asking how to build this and there has been an option available using Andy Gelman’s coefplot() in the arm package.  Not knowing this I built my own (as seen in this post about taste testing tomatoes) and they both suffered the same problems:.  Long coefficient names often got cut off by the left margin of the graph and the name of the variable was appended to all the levels of a factor.  One big difference between his and mine is that his does not include the Intercept by default.  Mine includes the intercept with the option of excluding it.

I managed to solve the latter problem pretty quickly using some regular expressions.  Now the levels of factors are displayed alone, without being prepended by the factor name.  As for the former, I fixed that yesterday by taking advantage of ggplot by Hadley Wickham which deals with the margins better than I do.

Both of these changes made for a vast improvement over what I had avialable before.  Future improvements will address the sorting of the coefficients displayed and allow users to choose their own display names for the coefficients.

The function is in this file and is called plotCoef() and is very customizable, down to the color and line thickness.  I kept my old version, plotCoefBase(), in the file in case some people are adverse to using ggplot, though no one should be.  I sent the code to Dr. Gelman to hopefully be incorporated into his function which I’m sure gets used by a lot more people than mine will.  Examples of my old version and of Dr. Gelman’s are after the break.

As always, any comments or questions are welcomed.  Go to the Contact page or send an email to contact -at- jaredlander -dot- com or find me on Twitter @jaredlander. Continue reading

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Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.

Last Wednesday I made a trip to Di Fara in Midwood, Brooklyn.  Since that place is well covered and lauded I won’t talk about the pizza, as amazing as it is. 

I gave Dom a copy of my thesis (pdf) on NYC pizza and he loved that his place was one of the few pizzerias mentioned by name (along with Lombardi’s and Otto Enoteca, two of my favorites) in the paper.  My friend captured these great photos and I’m extremely thankful to Dom for letting me in his kitchen. 

And to make the trip all the more surreal, Avenue J was lined with lulav and etrog vendors trying to clear out stock before Sukkot started.  The juxtaposition of Di Fara and the surrounding Orthodox neighborhood was striking and really shows the beauty of New York City. 

Gallery of photos below.

 

 

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Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.

After years of waiting a new Artichoke Basilles our dreams have been answered.  The new spot, which hasn’t even been updated on the website yet, is at 17th and 10th opened this weekend.  Unlike the original location this one has seats and wait service and only sells pies, albeit smaller than the originals.  There is a side shop where they sell slices, but I didn’t venture in there.

The pie, seen below in the blurry iPhone shot, is just a smaller version of the pies at the original shop and were just as tasty.  One pie was too much food for a friend and me, so figure one pie ($17) for 2.5 to 3 people.

Additionally, they have a larger selection of pies and non-pizza food, such as salad and the sorts.  They don’t have beer or liquor yet, but should soon.

Updated (September 29th, 6:27 PM):  Slice Review.

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Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.