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Don Philip Faithful's Blog (131)

Development as Art - Hopscotch and Robots

When I read a blog, I often find myself in deep thought as I approach the end, trying to determine if the author has said anything that I might be able to use. A blog doesn't have to say anything. Nor does it have to be useful to me specifically. It might simply offer a personal reflection on life. As a person who also writes blogs, I…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on January 3, 2015 at 8:16am — No Comments

Fallacy of Rational Prerequisite & My Fruitless Existence

Before elaborating on my fruitless existence - about my decision to avoid fruit - I want to emphasize how this blog is actually about something that I call the "Fallacy of Rational Prerequisite." There will be some misunderstanding about this term even after my prolonged explanation. I just want to state plainly at the outset that I am not proposing that people become irrational. If they are already so, I am not suggesting that they further the situation.…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on December 20, 2014 at 8:21am — No Comments

History, Music, and the Depth of Data

Like many students about to finish their undergraduate degree, I decided to artificially inflate my grades by taking some "bird courses." These are not courses about birds. Other students assured me that the courses were designed to bolster my marks and to help me complete my program requirements. Considering the many bird courses available, I decided to take introductory music, which was essentially a history course focused on music. It required a lot of…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on December 6, 2014 at 8:52am — No Comments

Variable Metrics Formats for Mass Data Assignments



I created this blog to further discuss the issue of mass data assignments, a methodology that allows qualitative data events to be incorporated into metrics such as performance indicators. These assignments are routine for me now after having developed a prototype. However, I am unaware of the prevalence of this or similar techniques in the broader community. So I periodically work the topic into my blogs to help stimulate discussion. When quantitative data exists, it means that we had…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on November 22, 2014 at 8:18am — No Comments

True Freedom - Algorithmic Man Unplugged

Thermometers and scales to measure weight appeared in retail outlets long ago. Blood pressure monitors perhaps came later. Pedometers and heart-rate monitors seem more recent - possibly closer to my time. I saw several devices while doing this blog intended to electronically record among other things hours of sleep; these are designed to be worn on the body all the time. A couple of weeks ago, I bought something to give the heart rate and blood oxygen saturation level. I consider it a real…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on November 8, 2014 at 9:18am — No Comments

Qualitative Engine for Organizational Simulations

Given the nature of the community, presumably many visitors already have a strong understanding of the nature of quantitative data. Perhaps more mysterious is the idea of qualitative data especially since it can sometimes be expressed in quantitative terms. For instance, "stress" as an internal response to an externality differs from person to person; yet it would be possible to canvas a large number of people and express stress levels as an aggregate based on a perceptual gradient: minimal,…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on October 25, 2014 at 6:37am — No Comments

Dark Art of Warping



The celebrity of Toronto's mayor has certainly drawn a lot of attention to the city in recent years. Several candidates are now running for Rob Ford's job. Since the mayor is currently undergoing treatment for cancer, he decided to withhold his candidacy in the upcoming municipal election. Being a longtime resident of Toronto, and being aware of the city's wealth and poverty, I'm always interested in how these competing needs play out when it is time to vote.  Consider the interesting…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on October 11, 2014 at 6:07am — No Comments

Data Instrumentalism

Being the son of a mechanic, I have spent many years handling power tools. I'm especially fond of a couple of hammer-drills in my possession. They can effortlessly drill holes through concrete. At least, this is what my father once claimed. He handed down his most treasured tools to me. I'm big on pliers and screwdrivers. This might be due to my vocational training as a technician. Even today - long after I completed my diploma and continued to further my education - I still carry a licence…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on September 27, 2014 at 7:39am — No Comments

Universal Data Model - A Really Different Look at Data

The idea of environmental determinism once made a lot of sense. Hostile climates and habitats prevented the expansion of human populations. The conceptual opposite of determinism is called possibilism. These days, human populations can found living in many inhospitable habitats. This isn't because humans have physically evolved. But rather, we normally occupy built-environments. We exist through our technologies and advanced forms of social interaction: a person might not be able to build a…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on September 13, 2014 at 8:11am — 2 Comments

The Awkward Road

This blog is about the peculiar nature in which software sometimes gets developed. I hope that many readers will recognize the relevance of data science in the examples taken from my own projects. I propose that development is the product of creativity more than accreditation. Creativity is something complicated that interacts with a person over his or her life circumstances. Many people know how to write . . . sentences and paragraphs. However, the ability to write well does not necessarily…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on August 30, 2014 at 8:59am — No Comments

Systemic Intelligence - Prelude to a Universal Data Model

Many years ago, I attended a vocational college to learn skilled trade. I was taught about the behaviour of systems. I learned that after renovations to a house, the furnace might cycle on and off more frequently; this can leave some parts of the house too cold. A wood-burning stove or fireplace should be treated as a part of a system. Open doors and windows in the dwelling can cause exhaust from such appliances to enter living spaces. I realize that these particular examples of systems…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on August 16, 2014 at 8:31am — No Comments

Origins of the Species

In this blog, I will explain how an approach to handle small amounts data can be reconstructed to handle much larger amounts. This reconstruction is the product of an anomalous perspective or mutation relating to the attribution of performance.

Fig. 1 - 6-fingered handprint spotted near my truck

Many businesses share certain common features.…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on August 1, 2014 at 6:21am — No Comments

Participation in Data and the Effectiveness of Intervention

The role of statistics in data science is often debated. Despite rapid developments in technology giving access to algorithmically sophisticated approaches, I feel that statistics can still provide many worthwhile insights. If I have a database of sales figures spanning many years, I feel that I can become more aware of historic trends and seasonal patterns through the use of statistics. Statistics offers a sense of state, direction, pace, and progress. Statistics can also enable estimation…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on July 19, 2014 at 7:57am — No Comments

Standardized Performance Friendly to Big Data

Somebody once mentioned to me that there is a need for a standard method of performance evaluation that can be applied to all employees regardless of their exact duties: e.g. to compare a janitor to an accountant. In my jurisdiction, there is a regulatory requirement for "equal pay for work of equal value" that can affect companies with government contracts. I consider the concept of "equal value" complicated due to its subjective nature. Certainly two people handling exactly the same work…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on July 5, 2014 at 7:31am — No Comments

Causality, Closet Nazis, and the Metrics of Criteria

A few semesters into my undergraduate studies, I decided to move away from campus in order to escape the incessant party atmosphere. I chose to rent an old but roomy apartment in Kitchener, Ontario. I read somewhere that this city was formerly called New Munich. One day in the dead of morning, I heard loud banging and smashing downstairs. It seemed that neither I nor my cat could sleep, so I went to investigate. I saw the owner of the building at the front entrance of the apartment holding a…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on June 21, 2014 at 6:27am — No Comments

Thresholds, Butterflies, and the Metrics of Phenomena

My favourite explanation of the "butterfly effect" so far is as follows: Under particular conditions, even the tiniest movements of a butterfly can trigger storms and hurricanes. This principle is not limited to butterflies, of course. I think that many of us face pivotal moments in life that leave lasting effects. Perhaps no different than other students, I remember running out of cash during my undergraduate years. I consider this my personal butterfly moment. I had no money for food. I…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on June 7, 2014 at 7:33am — No Comments

Geography of Data - Restoring the Transpositional

Above is a distribution of price differentials for the Dow Jones Industrial Average from the 1930s. The image was generated by one of my programs called Storm. I posted a few images from the same application in other blogs. If I recall correctly, the more volatile differentials (closer to the action) are at top; the more stable differentials (further from the…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on May 24, 2014 at 6:51am — No Comments

Addition of Different Dimensions to Data

I was often the lone wolf among my peers in university because I supported a prominent place in society for corporations and an important social role for capital. I questioned whether the directors and executives of companies entered into boardrooms really intending to “oppress” people such as minorities and people with disabilities. Did they deliberately make bathrooms inaccessible to people in wheelchairs perhaps to advance their preconceptions of who gets to go to the bathroom, I pondered…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on May 10, 2014 at 9:44am — No Comments

Strategic Placement for Big Data in Organizations

I tend to examine the different roles played by data. For instance, when I work on computer code, I often ask myself what the presence of data is meant to accomplish. Sometimes the analysis is not at all straightforward or simple. In society and organizations, people exist and persist in the records as data. The data survives even as employees come and go. I therefore consider it important to regard the data and its environment as a system in itself, something that has a life all of its own.…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on May 3, 2014 at 6:30am — No Comments

The Algorithmic Man - Epic Battle Against Headless Apparitions

There was a television interview of a man who had to deal with severe breathing problems through much of his adult life.  He underwent various procedures although he found little relief.  In fact, the adverse impact to his body was long-lasting.  So he was surprised to discover how he was extremely allergic to his breakfast cereal, something that he ate almost without fail.  When he stopped eating the cereal, his breathing problems disappeared.  I am sure that many people would regard the…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on April 27, 2014 at 8:26am — No Comments

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