The Words of Spock

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This morning (2015 Feb 27) it was announced that Leonard Nimoy had passed away. 
Here, to celebrate his life and his work, is a word cloud I made of all the dialogue he had in Star Trek (the Original Series)

(a couple alternate layouts: 1, 2)

Live long and prosper

Because it seemed logical, I re-made this word cloud with a familiar shape...

World Population Density Animation

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I have been working on learning to use the mapping package Basemap in Python. This is early learning of machinery for some more posts on maps, and normalizing things by underlying population density.

World Population Density from James Davenport on Vimeo.

Here is a spinning globe with population density drawn. This was code written in 20 min, and took about 100 min to render the images on my laptop. Basemap is straight forward to use... once you know what you're doing. However, the maps don't seem quite as mature as those in IDL (to be fair, IDL has been a commercial mapping product for many years). If you'd like to use this as an example for learning Basemap/Python, the code is on GitHub! I am also working to make the same map using IDL as a teaching tool.

hat tip: got code help from here!

Football Statistics: the Impact of Smiling

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If you've ever watched a professional football game (and this is probably true for most professional sports) then you have seen these little portraits of players that appear at the bottom of the screen. On some TV networks they are actually short video clips where the players announce their alma mater, on some networks they are animations where the players each raise their heads and occasionally blink (these creep me out), and for other networks these head-shots are just still photos. Some players smile in their photos, some do not.

Key & Peele have a recurring bit about this player introduction phenomenon.

While watching a Seahawks game this past year, my mother in law posed an amusing question: Do players who smile in their photos play better football?

The question is simple and whimsical, in other words perfect. I don't know anything about how often these photos are taken, what the player's mindset is when they're shot, or if there is any prior expectation about attitude/persona and player record. I set out to find some answers...

For this study I am only focusing on Quarter Backs (QBs) in American professional footbal (NFL), though it would be easy to extend to all positions if anyone can help me get the data! Right away I know I'll need a few ingredients: photos of each player, some classification of their smiles, and some real stats on their records in the NFL.