Jon Bresler was an early supporter of the North American Free Trade Agreement. As owner of Suncook Woven Labels, a textile company whose customers included Ralph Lauren, The Gap and J.C. Penney, Bresler figured anything that would break down trade barriers between the United States, Mexico and Canada would be good for business.
While many Americans struggle to trim sugar and fat from their diets, a far more dangerous ingredient may be seeping in…from the ground. Arsenic is an odorless, tasteless poison that exists in the earth’s crust. Last winter, the U.S. Geological Survey found that low levels of arsenic were present in forty percent of New Hampshire’s groundwater, for example, with one in five wells measuring above ten parts-per-billion.
Independent researchers have also identified excessive levels of arsenic in water-intensive crops, including rice grown in the U.S. and abroad. Deborah Blum is a Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist, columnist and blogger for Wired and The New York Times. She was given access to a U.S.G.S. map showing arsenic concentration across the U.S. ahead of its release to the public, and is joining us to share some of the findings.
Nate Silver opened the public’s eyes to the power of predictive statistics… now, having already conquered politics, marketing, and social media, data-crunchers are taking on their next big challenge: Hollywood. Brooks Barnes is a media reporter for the New York Times – he recently wrote about Vinny Bruzzese, a statistician and former professor who’s using big data to slice and dice Hollywood screenplays
Math has had a good run. Its virtues were extolled during the presidential debates and in endless news stories calculated fiscal scenarios. New York Times blogger Nate Silver was pilloried by math, then vindicated. Still, mathematics and the data-driven statistics that guide decisions from Wall Street to the dugout to your insurance rates are woefully misunderstood.
From apps for avoiding heavy traffic to the latest polling data in the presidential race -- infographics are visual shorthand for data in the post-newspaper slash social media slash sound byte age. Several sources credit the digital age for giving birth to infographics and others cite the publication of USA Today’s “Snapshots” beginning in 1982. Susan Schulten begs to differ.
Last week, WNYC's John Keefe visited NHPR. He heads that station’s new Datanews group, and demonstrated some truly illuminating interactive data maps for us. One map of New York reveals that the blocks where the highest number of stop and frisk gun searches are conducted by the NYPD, are not the places where stopping and frisking actually results in seizing a gun. So, using graphics to illustrate raw data can add value to news stories, or become the story itself.
March Madness begins this week. Pro-basketball stars like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson built their legends in college basketball: both players were known for coming through at critical moments. Others, like Lebron James, are accused of not being able to handle the heat – or come through in the clutch. A wave of new academic research on last-second shots, free throws and playing time recently hit the court.