Tomas Petricek's blog articles

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on 6/14/2017 5:27 AM
Over the last year, I have been working on The Gamma project, which aims to make data-driven visualizations more trustworthy and to enable large number of people to build visualizations backed by data. The Gamma makes it possible to create visualizations that are built on trustworthy primary data sources such as the World Bank and you can provide your own data source by writing a REST service. A great piece of feedback that I got when talking about The Gamma is that this is a nice ultimate goal, but it mak[...]
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on 4/12/2017 6:05 AM
As someone who enjoys being at the intersection of the academic world and the world of industry, I'm very happy to see any attempts at bridging this harmful gap. For this reason, it is great to see that more people are interested in reading academic papers and that initiatives like Papers We Love are there to help. There is one caveat with academic papers though. It is very easy to see academic papers as containing eternal and unquestionable truths, rather than as something that the reader should actively[...]
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on 3/7/2017 7:31 AM
If you read a about the history of science, you will no doubt be astonished by some of the amazing theories that people used to believe. I recently finished reading The Invention of Science by David Wootton, which documents many of them (and is well worth reading, not just because of this!) For example, did you know that if you put garlic on a magnet, the magnet will stop working? Fortunately, you can recover the magnet by smearing goats blood on it. Giambattista della Porta tested this and concluded that [...]
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on 3/2/2017 3:53 AM
As mentioned in an earlier blog post, I've been spending some time at the Alan Turing Institute recently working on The Gamma project. The goal is to make data visualizations on the web more transparent. When you see a visualization online, you should be able to see where the data comes from, how it has been transformed and check that it is not misleading, but you should also be able to modify it and visualize other aspects of the data that interest you. I gave a talk about my work as part of a talk series[...]
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on 1/25/2017 4:31 AM
There were a lot of rumors recently about the death of facts and even the death of statistics. I believe the core of the problem is that working with facts is quite tedious and the results are often not particularly exciting. Social media made it extremely easy to share your own opinions in an engaging way, but what we are missing is a similarly easy and engaging way to share facts backed by data. This is, in essence, the motivation for The Gamma project that I've been working on recently. After several[...]
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