Archive for October, 2006

Perspective On The Facts

October 6, 2006

October 6, 2006

 

Lately I’ve been spending most of my time doing consulting work for Webster Pacific and building the Data360 tool; however, I do have a few observations about the data that I have been seeing.

Social and Environmental:

• The number one global issue remains controlling population. See p3.
http://www.data360.org/graph_group.aspx?Graph_Group_Id=151

• I continue to be concerned about global warming. I found Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, to be quite compelling. See http://www.climatecrisis.net/ . Yes, it was a dramatic piece, but the centerpiece of his case was data. It is curious to me that there has been no conservative response that is backed by the same data-driven approach that Gore used. I would also love to see the data from the movie put into in a Data360 Organization and updated on an ongoing basis. If anyone knows someone within the Gore organization, I would be grateful for a referral. See p4. http://www.data360.org/graph_group.aspx?Graph_Group_Id=153

• Another piece of data that shocked me recently was the percentages of various countries’ citizens that believe in evolution. In the US, that figure is only about 40%. If belief in the US in evolution is only 40%, it would stand to reason that global belief in evolution is even less. Evolution is a scientific theory that, I believe, has been “proven” by the scientific community in a manner similar to the proof of gravity or relativity. The shockingly low belief in evolution indicates the challenges we face in solving other challenging problems, like overpopulation, educational improvement, terrorism and global warming. Those challenges are not a reason to despair, but instead a reason to support rational and creative approaches to problem solving. See p5.
http://www.data360.org/graph_group.aspx?Graph_Group_Id=286

• The war in Iraq and, more importantly, the war on terrorism, are in need of perspective. It is interesting to see the number of American troops deployed in the Middle East in comparison to the numbers of troops in previous military engagements. The first Gulf war is now a blip in terms of troop deployments compared to the current war. Moreover, our current deployments are approaching both the Korean and Vietnam wars in terms of numbers; moreover, with today’s technologies, it would make sense that 100 troops today are more “powerful” than 100 troops in 1970 or 1955. See p6.
http://www.data360.org/graph_group.aspx?Graph_Group_Id=301

 

Economy and Business:

• The American economy continues chugging along, growing at about 6% a year (or 1.5% per quarter). We are no slouch. See p21.
http://www.data360.org/graph_group.aspx?Graph_Group_Id=149

• The internet continues to boom and it will become a great equalizer, allowing people of lower means but higher abilities and ambitions to achieve more in their lifetimes. The data on internet usage demonstrates that already, the internet is dominated by individuals outside of North America. In North America, almost 70% of the population use the internet; however, North American users account for only 20% of global internet users. In Asia, only 10% of the population use the internet, but Asian internet users are already 35% of the global total. Curiously, only 38% of Europeans use the internet, but their usage represents about 28% of the global total. As it becomes cheaper and cheaper to access the internet, the “flattening” of our world will accelerate. See p37.
http://www.data360.org/graph_group.aspx?Graph_Group_Id=315

• Women continue to earn only a % of what men earn. The latest data is that women in the US earn $0.77 for every dollar that a man earns. See p19.
http://www.data360.org/graph_group.aspx?Graph_Group_Id=353

• I’m not a big fan of the minimum wage, but it is curious to see minimum wage in constant dollars. In today’s dollars, the minimum wage from the early 1960’s to the late 1970’s wage was $7 to $8. Today the Federal minimum wage is $5.15. I’d be curious to know how many people today are actually earning $5.15. See p18.
http://www.data360.org/graph_group.aspx?Graph_Group_Id=373

• Interest rates continue to rise, except for the 30 year mortgage rates. This continues to puzzle me and I would expect to see these rates rising as well. See p23. http://www.data360.org/graph_group.aspx?Graph_Group_Id=20

• I have read articles about the falling housing market in the US and believe it to be true. However, our data is limited and we would welcome any leads on real estate data that we can incorporate into the site. Housing starts are definitely off. See p34.
http://www.data360.org/graph_group.aspx?Graph_Group_Id=26

 

Sincerely,

 

Tom Paper

 

tom@websterpacific.com

 

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Announcing the Launch of Data360

October 6, 2006

From: Tom Paper [mailto:tom@websterpacific.com]
Sent: Friday, October 06, 2006 3:43 PM
To: Friends
Subject: Announcing the launch of Data360

October 6, 2006

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Announcing the launch of Data360, a free collaborative trend tracking website!

With Data360, you can track, store, chart and build reports for your data. You can also collaborate with other people’s data by using their data in your reports. Additionally, you can make calculations and correlations with both your data and other people’s data.

How Data360 Came into Being For Your Use

Data360 has been two years in the making, born of the frustration of seeing data poorly presented in newspapers, as well as long hours spent looking for data on the internet.

Our goal is to make www.data360.org the web’s foremost clearinghouse for data, a free and useful place to go when you want to find data. Anyone will be able to track their data, without charge and on virtually any subject, by creating their own “Organization,” through which their data will be stored, updated and viewed. The world is awash in data and our aim is become the one place where people can go to find interconnected and current data on various subjects.

Two years ago, I started tracking key economic and social trends in Microsoft Excel and sharing those trends with many of you. By last November, I realized that there had to be a better way to store, analyze and share this information, so a group of us at Webster Pacific began plotting out how we would build a website to house our information. Along the way, we realized that we were building a tool that many other people might find valuable, so we decided to expand our effort into something that others could use and, more importantly, something that would be collaborative.

Analysis and Reports

Data360 has been built to foster the same type of reports that I sent to many of you over the past couple years. To see my latest analysis of Economic, Business and Social issues, click here to download PDF.

Customizable Versions Available for Privacy

We hope that Data360 will be useful for individuals, students, teachers, professors, businesses and advocacy organizations, but we also recognize that we don’t know all the potential users. We are giving away the software to encourage maximum collaboration and use of the site, which in turn makes it more useful to the community of users. For those who want a private Organization, where they can use the software and access the public information and still keep their Organization’s assessments private, we will charge $90 per month. Data360 is owned by Webster Systems LLC, a sister company to Webster Pacific LLC, the strategic and financial consulting firm that I manage.

Requesting Feedback!

The current version is a beta version, meaning we know it is not perfect. We are interested in your thoughts on how we can make this site better. We do know that speed of loading on the web could be improved, file sizes of pdf’s could be reduced and graphic quality of pdf’s could be improved. Future versions of Data360 will include the following features: a) XML updating so that data is automatically updated, without the need for manual data entry; b) establishment of a group of about 12 “critics” who will rate interesting and popular Data360 Organizations for the veracity of the information presented; c) a surveying module, where any group of individuals can be surveyed and the results can be reported within the Data360 system; d) log scale for graphs, as well as regression analysis.

We are very interested in your feedback and want to sincerely thank you for your consideration and support.

Sincerely,

Tom Paper tom@websterpacific.com

P.S. Give it a try and please let us know what you think!

http://stats.r8g.us/home

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Let’s Get Started

October 1, 2006

Ok, time to get started and there’s no time like the present. What is this blog going to be about? It’s going to be about data, perspective, context, trends, truth, clarity, power, people. Data360 was started about 45 days ago and things are going well.What is Data360?
“A data dashboard for a democratic society.”
“A collaborative trend-tracking website.”
“An online data almanac.”
“A wiki for data.”

Our favorite quotes:
“Trust, but verify.”
“You can never step in the same stream twice.”