Last week, a team from my office ventured to the bustling tech incubator, otherwise known as New York City, to meet with leading female thinkers in the data/tech space. We want to better understand what might draw more women to the space data table. Among others, we met with Dawn Barber, co-founder of NY Tech Meetup; Hilary Mason, founder of Fast Forward Labs; Sasha Laundy, founder of Women Who Code; Vanessa Hurst, co-founder of Girl Develop It and Write Speak Code; and Rachel Sklar, media darling and mover shaker behind TheLi.st and #ChangeTheRatio.
NYC Skyline at 53rd and Broadway
While we were chatting with Sasha, she mentioned the work she’s doing with Max Shron at Polynumeral, their new data strategy consultancy. Now here’s the cool thing. I had just ordered Max Shron’s book, “Thinking with Data: How to Turn Information into Insights” for my dissertation research. I’m in the data analytics phase, and I’ve been looking at different methods and platforms for teasing insights from a mountain of data I’ve assembled on my topic. I love it when work and research collide like this.
I haven’t finished his book yet, but I offer a few tidbits. Before treasure hunting with data, scope out what you want. Most of us do the reverse. We throw analytic tools and processes at the data and wonder what we’ll find. “Starting with data, without first doing a lot of thinking, …is a short road to simple questions and unsurprising results. We don’t want unsurprising — we want knowledge” (Shron 2014: 1). I totally agree. My dissertation is all about knowledge creation. In fact, I’m looking at “Knowledge Alchemy through Collaborative Chaos.” Max states that our search for knowledge is sometimes filtered through a mental model of our own creation, while other times an algorithm can put the puzzle pieces together for us. “What concerns us in working with data is how to get as good a connection as possible between the observations we collect and the processes that shape our world (Shron 2014: 31).
While Big Data is the buzzword of choice these days in the IT world, I learned on my trip to NYC what a truly small data world we live in. The connections between us shape our observations of the world around us. So great to make new connections with awesome and inspiring leaders, and plug into the vibrant NYC data hive.
Source: Shron, Max. Thinking with Data: How to Turn Information into Insights. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media, Inc, 2014.
Even though the DC region is covered in white, here are a few “green” space images to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Enjoy!
Space Station Expedition 37: French Polynesia
Earth’s surface from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica. Credit: NASA/Robert Schwarz
Space Station Expedition 34: Northern Lights
Space Station Expedition 37: Aurora Australis
Expedition 38: Night view inside Space Station
Hubble image of supernova
Hubble Reveals the Ring Nebula’s True Shape
Planetary Nebula MyCn18: An Hourglass Pattern Around a Dying Star
My Robot 2012 Calendar came equipped with Fold-Your-Own 3-D paper punch-out robots. As I close out this year, I decided to try putting one together. After one, I was hooked. I punched, folded, and glued my way through the week of Christmas. Normally, I wouldn’t take the time to make paper dolls, but who can resist these cute little robots? I truly enjoyed bringing them to life.
Meet the spacebots. Each is unique and has a story to tell.
Radiacto’s radiation gauge looks off the chart. Best to wear lead.
Retro Attack dares invaders to touch down on our Blue Planet. She’s on guard 24-7.
Cyclops is a Universal Guardian keeping an eye on humanity.
I-Spin 3000’s Mood Meter monitors human happiness. Smiling makes her meter spin.
Tock-A-Tron is a time traveler. He rolls between the space-time continuum
Don’t Panic is an Earth monitor. She’s here to keep humanity safe.
Jackpot thinks our Blue Planet in right on the money!
Raid Invader was once a galactic warrior, but after a short vacation on Earth, he quit his job. He opted for a Blue Planet retirement.
Galaxy Ranger travels planet to planet. Earth is his fav stopover.
Heartbreaker has a heart for Earthlings. She’s a planetary caretaker.
Tank-Tronic keeps the planet safe from enemy invaders.
Drill Bit is a Planetary Archeologist. Don’t forget the drilling permits!
Spacebots are hanging out in my library, trying to learn about humans.
Spacebots enjoyed their first Blue Planet Christmas.
In days gone by, I never left home without my camera bag stocked with film and lenses. With an iPhone, I travel so much lighter. I’m totally hooked on the hipstamatic app, which allows me to create a funky style without a darkroom or chemicals. With a simple shake of my iPhone, I can change camera lenses and film, though my favorite is the Hipstamatic John S lens and Kodot XGrizzled film.
Here are a few shots from my 2011 travels to the Space Tweetups in Germany and Italy, and the NASA tweetups at the Kennedy Space Center. The final two are from Washington DC, where I work and play. Enjoy!
Space Tweetup: German Space Day train
Rome: Santa Maria Maggiore
ESA/ESRIN facility in Frascati, Italy
Cocoa Beach Sand Castles
Space Coast Space Melons
Taxi window view of Washington Monument