Playing-With-Graphs

Category archives for Playing-With-Graphs

My class this term is a “Scholars Research Seminar” with the title “A Brief History of Timekeeping,” looking at the science and technology of timekeeping from prehistory through modern atomic clocks. This is nominally an introduction to “research methods,” though the class operates under a lot of constraints that fully justify the scare quotes, at…

Scientific Commuting: The Data

A few months back, I did a post about estimating the time required for the different routes I take to work, looking at the question of whether it’s better to take a shorter route with a small number of slow traffic lights, or a longer route with a bunch of stop signs. This was primarily…

I am an inveterate driver of “back ways” to places. My preferred route to campus involves driving through a whole bunch of residential streets, rather than taking the “main” road leading from our neighborhood to campus. I do this because there are four traffic lights on the main-road route, and they’re not well timed, so…

The other big gender-disparity graph making the rounds yesterday was this one showing the gender distribution in the general workforce and comparing that to science-related fields: This comes from an Economics and Statistics Administration report which has one of the greatest mismatches between the tone of the headline of the press release and the tone…

There are two recent studies of gender disparities in science and technology (referred to by the faintly awful acronym “STEM”) getting a lot of play over the last few days. As is often the case with social-science results, the data they have aren’t quite the data you would really like to have, and I think…

A lot of pixels have been spent discussing this study of grade inflation, brought to most people’s attention via this New York Times blog. The key graph is this one, showing the fraction of grades given in each letter category over the last fifty years: Lots of effort is being put into trying to explain…

Roller Slide Physics Simulated

I really ought to be doing other things, but this roller slide business kept nagging at me, and I eventually realized I could mock up a crude simulation of the results. This led to the production of this graph: This looks pretty similar to the Tracker Video data from the previous post, which I’ll reproduce…

Roller Slide Physics Explained

On Monday, I posted a short video and asked about the underlying physics. Here’s the clip again, showing SteelyKid and then me going down a slide made up of a whole bunch of rollers at a local playground: The notable thing about this is that SteelyKid takes a much, much longer time to get down…

A month and a half ago, I reported on a simple experiment to measure the performance of a timer from the teaching labs. I started the timer running at a particualr time, and over the next couple of weeks checked in regularly with the Official US Time display at the NIST website, recording the delay…

We took SteelyKid to the playground at one of the local elementary schools on Sunday morning. this one includes an odd sort of slide, made of dozens of rollers that are 1-2 inches in diameter (they’re all the same size– the range is just because I didn’t measure them carefully). They’re on really good bearings,…