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Counting Stuff

Randy Au
Poking at the less sexy (but important!) side of the data sciences and other nerdy things, every Tuesday morning.
Created 24 Jan 2020
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  • Why we reluctantly work with regex
    15 Jun 2021 • 10 min read
    A giant bonfire of hay at a new year’s festival in Tokyo, Japan. Notice the many new years items (ema, arrows, etc) in it. This week brought to you from a tweet inspired by some work I had to do a cou...
  • When scaling yourself goes a bit too far
    08 Jun 2021 • 7 min read • 2 0
    A turtle and a carp(?). Because… I dunno. A couple of months ago, I wrote about “Scaling yourself”, as in, finding ways to make your work processes more efficient so that you an keep working on import...
  • It's Goodhart's Law again
    01 Jun 2021 • 6 min read • 3 0
    A small waterfall up in Kent Falls State Park in Connecticut. The great thing about Twitter is that while I’m not an academic of any sort, I can participate in conversations with people who are, about...
  • Interview season is upon us
    25 May 2021 • 9 min read • 1 0
    May of 2021 is almost over and while the world… well, the US anyway, has stopped jumping at every random tweet from a particular sociopath… But the world continues to spiral into chaos. Between massiv...
  • Let's play with some Library of Congress data!
    18 May 2021 • 8 min read
    The Boston Public Library’s Reading Room. A while back, while I was having some Twitter conversations about data cleaning and generally funky data sets, someone suggested that the MARC from the Librar...
  • Practical benefits of knowing how obscure systems work
    11 May 2021 • 8 min read • 2 3
    A buncha car people assembled doing car/stereo things… Then this one guy unfolds a crazy speaker rig out from the car. I write fairly often about how having an understanding of how complicated systems...
  • Paper dive - Replication is even harder
    04 May 2021 • 12 min read • 3 0
    This week I’ll do something that I don’t really do too often, look at academic paper! This is PRIMARILY because I don’t participate in any academic communities and don’t have much mental bandwidth to ...
  • Muddling 1/3rd through a career
    27 Apr 2021 • 8 min read • 2 0
    A quiet stairway somewhere in Japan, I forget exactly where. A very nice thing happened this week — a few months ago I hurled myself into the byzantine system known as the “Google promotion process” a...
  • Paper measurements are an endless pit of mystery
    20 Apr 2021 • 11 min read
    It’s time for another “measuring things” themed post! Where we go revel in a topic somewhat adjacent to data, usually data collection or measurement units, and see what we find. [For similar posts, he...
  • Churn is hard
    13 Apr 2021 • 7 min read • 3 0
    I’m upset at myself for actually making butter earlier on Monday and I forgot to take a usable photo of it for this post. So please accept a scoop of ice cream on a huge piece of toast as an apology f...

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