This experiment is probably not able to be reproduced outside of Texas, but it’s worth it.

Today’s humourous update is a guest post by my dear friend Erik Swedberg. Please direct all comments to him. -dx


i gotta admit, i’ve been exploring the 7-11 menu a little bit. this is partially because there’s one a block away from my house, and partially because i’m intrigued by their (new?) tacocabana-style all-you-can-take salsa/chili/cheese/jalapeno bar.ok, so this stuff is pretty nasty. but $1.59 big bite hot dogs sure are attractive at the end of a 2am bike ride home from the bar, especially when the closest other thing open is a whataburger 15 blocks away.the problem is, i’ve been pulled back even during the day when i’m not tight. the most recent experiment: a $1.49 pizza roll with ranch dressing and jalapeno dip! it was actually surprisingly tasty and didn’t make me wanna puke (unlike their taquitos).p.s. anyone who attempts this trick must know that it is pretty much required to be sitting on the curb outside the 7-11 while eating (whatever) to get the full effect. more reports from the field as they come in…

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Alpha, baby.

Hello, everyone! As you saw from my last post, I have a few projects in the works, one of which is The Blue Dog Blog.  Well, guess what? We’re in the alpha stages now, so I’m looking for testers. Your job as a tester is very simple:

  • sign up for a blog,
  • blog regularly,
  • test out the features, like polls, music files, etc.,
  • give me ideas on how we can improve the site,
  • spread the word and grow the site!!

I’m looking forward to hearing all your ideas.

 -dx

Professional

Personal statement

I love solving problems and I am quite good at it. Almost every real problem is a problem of information: either there is too much noise interfering with the reception of signal or the signal is not broadcasting.  We use the tools of software development to build the capability to broadcast and receive information, and we use the tools of mathematics to write and understand the messages. In every case, we apply the full powers of our minds and all our experiences to every problem.  Every problem is a new problem, with new contours, dimensions and experiences. Perhaps things we’ve done in the past have prepared us to look at this problem from some angles, perhaps we are seeing something like this for the first time, but we are always seeing this very problem for the first time.  The delights of discovering the nature of the problem are matched only by the delights of discovering the solutions.  I love to dive into problems, discover what’s there, and try things out.  Will this work? Will that work? Let’s try, let’s see.  And after all the examination, when the problem is solved, let’s find a new one.  I solve problems. My tools are mathematics and software development.  Nothing makes me happier than removing obstacles between our aspirations and our grasp.

Main Clients: Cisco,  Masai Interactive, Saforian, Carousel 30 Interactive, Electronic Insight


Areas of Interest and Tools

I am very, very driven by the ideas of the Free and Open Source Software movements, not just as technological ideas, but as visions for how society can collaborate on ideas and share knowledge. Information wants to be free. Mathematics is the language we use, software, the masterpieces we create.

Information is my primary target. I’ve been using PHP and Python to build tools, and MongoDB, PostgreSQL, MySQL and Oracle to store data since before Human Resources started using the term “data science”.  To my eyes, there’s no meaningful software that is not about managing data efficiently and transforming it to make things faster for the world.   I’ve been using JavaScript tools like jQuery, OpenLayers, D3 and HighCharts to show people the results of computations and build interfaces for a long time.  I’ve even used R for that!

Geography and GIS is probably my favourite node at the intersection of Data Science, Software Development and Statistics.  The ways that physical and social geographies work in tandem to predict and explain behaviours really fascinate me.  There’s a reason that our most common metaphor for understanding is a roadmap, I think.  I’ve done spatial projects for just about everyone, but my favourite one was for the NAACP, which involved looking at access to roads and routes to emergency rooms in poor areas. 

 


 

Formal Résumé

Myers Research, Senior Data Analyst, 2012 – 2013

Designed, architected and developed software to allow the complete administration, reporting and analysis of completed surveys and surveys in progress using Django; Developed web-based software to perform statistical computations to replace SPSS; Introduced geospatial analysis and geospatial statistics to the firm’s analytical process.

PCCC, Director of Research Engineering, 2012

Designed and built IVR polling software using Django and custom PHP/MySQL framework to deploy on AWS and conduct political opinion research surveys; Developed PHP/MySQL based reporting software for political polls; Developed Python, PostGIS and OpenLayers based geospatial software for visualizing polling data by maps; Developed geospatial web applications; Designed survey methodology, from instrument design to sampling and fielding; Interpreted polls for strategic directions.

Salsa Labs,  Software Engineer, 2011

Project Lead for Advocacy Tool: using Java, Server-side JavaScript and MySQL to maintain and extend a cutting edge advocacy tools package that gets 5 million+ hits every day ; Project Lead for Mobile : Use Titanium IDE to create mobile instance of Salsa for Android and iOS ; Trained new developers on use of custom implementation of Server-side JavaScript (SalsaScript) ;  Prototyped new geospatial features and analysis;  Integrated CASS data standardization and hygiene into software. ; Used Django to facilitate Advocacy Tool penetration; Used GeoDjango to prototype geospatial analysis tools; Led development staff Python trainings

AFL-CIO, Political Targeting Analyst, 2010

Administered all IVR and live polling sampling and reporting; standard sampling and political analysis for political projects; Sampling and analysis for Experiment Informed Mail Programme (EIP); Trained analysts on use of Stata, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL for analysis; Developed bash, PHP and Python scripts for analysis; Handled VAN API’s; Developed online interactive maps and print maps for analysis using ESRI and FOSS; Developed GOTV model and scored membership files; Spearheaded analysis on Latino and Immigrant strategy. ; Developed transition plan to move the entire Analytics Dept. from using Stata to moving entirely to Python and led trainings on use of Python for statistical and geospatial analysis

The Praxis Project, Technology Manager, 2009

Developed, maintained and updated sixteen Drupal sites; Fielded online polls and assessments, created reports; Upgraded and maintained Debian server; Guided constituent groups to needs-based decisions on data and technology solutions; Administered CRM tools and reports; Represented the group at The Analyst Institute.

Lake Research Partners, Programmer, 2008

Standard sampling and statistical analysis for political projects; Designed a database that would hold hundreds of polls from different pollsters with different methodologies and data standardization; Represented the firm at The Analyst Institute, where we shared research, explored new methods and conducted original experiments.

The Feldman Group, Field Director, 2007-2008

Responsible for all sampling, data and technology; Trained and managed a staff of three programmers using OSCAR to produce cross-tabs, daily partials and banner books; Administered a complete overhaul of OSCAR, to make daily operations more efficient and allow for archiving of polls and data; Represented the firm at The Analyst Institute, where we shared research, explored new methods and conducted original experiments; Special projects included: extensive research into microtargeting, and a special microtargeting poll of n=10,000 for the Ohio Democratic Party.

The Talk Radio News Service, Correspondent, 2006-2007

Covered the U.S. Senate, focusing on labour, energy and economy issues; Developed and authored the company blog; Covered the White House in 2006 and 2007, during which time my team broke a story about Republican National Committee members who were considering rejecting President Bush’s choice to replace Ken Mehlman as RNC chair; Covered the 109th Congress Inauguration and the 2007 State of the Union.

Freelance Research Consultant, 2005-2006

Extensive research on how health care, pensions and savings plans could be reformed to provide better, more efficient coverage for the millennial generation’s retirement, and what the political realities of those reforms would be for GMMB; Research on Asian-American demographic and education patterns for The National Asian-Pacific American Bar Association, with an eye to find the roadblocks that keep APA’s out of law schools or from advancing in their careers.

Democratic National Committee, Assistant Canvass Director, 2004-2005

Assistant Canvass Director for the DNC in Texas: Trained canvassers, developed a field plan and executed it with a staff of 60, raising more money in Texas for the DNC than any campaign had since 1992; Ran a voter-persuasion and get-out-the-vote for Working America/AFL-CIO in Cleveland, OH; Recruited, trained and supervised a staff of fifty.

Field Organizer for the Virginia Democratic Party’s Coordinated Campaign: Responsible for working with community leaders and activists to ensure that Asian-Americans and recently naturalized citizens turned out to vote Democratic.

Baseball

There are few things in life more beautiful and symbolic than baseball. As my friend Erik Swedberg once described watching a game as watching, “…all these little gladiators live out these micro-dramas from second to second.” I tend to agree entirely.

I am a fan of the Houston Astros. I believe that The National League represents the apotheosis of baseball and the human spirit.

There are some amazing quotes about baseball out there, and I feel the need to aggregate them here.

Bull Durham

(Opening Narration)

I believe in the Church of Baseball. I’ve tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I’ve worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I heard that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn’t work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there’s no guilt in baseball, and it’s never boring… which makes it like sex. There’s never been a ballplayer slept with me who didn’t have the best year of his career. Making love is like hitting a baseball: you just gotta relax and concentrate. Besides, I’d never sleep with a player hitting under .250… not unless he had a lot of RBIs and was a great glove man up the middle. You see, there’s a certain amount of life wisdom I give these boys. I can expand their minds. Sometimes when I’ve got a ballplayer alone, I’ll just read Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman to him, and the guys are so sweet, they always stay and listen. ‘Course, a guy’ll listen to anything if he thinks it’s foreplay. I make them feel confident, and they make me feel safe, and pretty. ‘Course, what I give them lasts a lifetime; what they give me lasts 142 games. Sometimes it seems like a bad trade. But bad trades are part of baseball – now who can forget Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, for God’s sake? It’s a long season and you gotta trust. I’ve tried ’em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball.

(Crash Davis)

Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman’s back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.

Interests

I like to think that I have a wide range of interests, and I try to devote as much time to each one as I possibly can. They can be categorized into the following areas:

  • the Muses and their descendents,
  • politics,
  • baseball,
  • international travel,
  • pen-pals and
  • comparative religion.

If you are interested in being a pen-pal of mine, please visit my contact page and send me an email. I am currently particularly interested in penpals in Hindi, German, Latin and Panjabi, but welcome all correspondents.

Wow.

It never ceases to amaze me what kinds of things people are able to expect from each other. While nowhere near this ridiculous, here are a few ridiculous expectations that people in my life have.

  • A very good friend of mine has an ex-girlfriend who believes that every person in the world should sit around, anxiously awaiting her telephone calls, text messages and emails. If someone doesn’t respond immediately, she flips out and starts a process that I call “bombing.” She will start calling and leaving messages over and over, send email to his actual email address, but with a carbon copy sent using teleflip, so it becomes a text message, with each iteration resulting in increasingly hysterical messages. It’s quite crazy.
  • Another friend of mine is of the opinion that her boyfriend should know the difference between when she really doesn’t want to talk about something and when she only says that she doesn’t want to talk about something, when, in fact, she really does want to talk about it. Let’s be very clear here: she uses the exact same words, tone of voice and body language. I’ve not only seen this, but I dated her once, as well. Trust me.

Very amusing stuff. I’m sure that you guys have more. I think that Maddux had one of the best takes on these expectations ever. -dx