04. January 2018
ParseHub is an intuitive, graphics-based web scraper that allows you to pull in significant amounts of data with very little preparatory learning. I spent a bit of time over the Christmas holidays playing around with it, and collected a few of the main lessons below.
04. January 2018
Sports Reference.com has an excellent (though presumably soon-to-be-extinct) Olympics database. The data contained there is incredible--an even more detailed look at Olympic results than David Wallechensky's indispensable Summer and Winter Complete Book compendia. I've wanted to take a closer look at fatigue and average pace curves for swimming. This follows some running prediction work I did a while back based on Peter Riegel's 1981 "Athletic Records and Human Endurance" article in American...
02. January 2018
I’ve built a calculator to tally up the points in 'Ticket to Ride' after the last train has been laid. It's handy for the purposes of the game, but the model is useful any time you want a spreadsheet to automatically inform you of ranked results (who came first, who came second, etc).
19. December 2017
There are three basic ingredients to a successful kids swim meet: Air horn for the start (swimmers’ love for the sound corresponds with their parents’ hate). Pizza for the after-party. Lifeguards willing to look the other way when it comes to maximum hot tub occupancy standards. On top of this I would add a fourth ingredient, one integral to sporting success no matter the level: a rockin’ warmup soundtrack. With a meet last weekend I had the opportunity to put together a playlist....
19. December 2017
I haven’t read much of the self-help / effective habits genre, but it was recommended I take Tim Ferriss’ Tools of the Titans for a spin. Though I can’t say the in-depth discussion of psychedelics or quirky workout routines held much interest for me, there is a tonne if interesting stuff in there. I can’t suggest it enough. What follows are a few nuggets I found worth writing down. I’ve denoted ‘TF’ for the suggestions from Ferriss directly, and wrote out the names of his...
15. August 2017
On Thursday Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan for almost a decade, announced his intention to bow out of provincial political life. This is big enough news thatIbought an actual, physical newspaper.
30. January 2017
Cleveland’s signing of the parrot-toting slugger Edwin Encarnacion was more than a savvy grab by a World Series runner-up looking to bulk up on home runs. It was also demonstrative of a Blue Jays front office that both comically misread the declining long-ball market and revealed the new regime's noncommittal strategic attitude that we all feared. Now I get that a professional sports franchise is a business, and that I as a fan have no right to demand the firm hold a commitment to winning...
12. January 2016
I recently wrote a paper looking at Canadian defence spending in historical context. The frame of the paper was to look at the Harper era, but I used it as an excuse to go all the way back to Sir John A. I've included here an assortment of a few graphs and the main dataset, saved in Stata .dta format. Data comes from splicing Stats Canada's incomparable 'Historical Statistics' collection with a newer CANSIM series. The dataset also includes PM and government party, by year.
06. September 2015
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, two small boats carrying 23 refugees from the besieged Syrian town of Kobane set off from Turkey's Bodrum peninsula, bound for the Greek island of Kos. Presumably, their aim was to enter the EU in search of asylum and a new life. The boats, however, sank. At least 12 of the passengers drowned, including five children. One of these was a three-year old boy named Aylan Kurdi, whose body was recovered by the Turkish coast guard laying face-down in the sand....
20. August 2015
I recently had a friend ask me for some advice about graduate schooling and the International Development Studies (IDS) field. I’ve done quite a bit of international development over the years (mostly on Africa, and a lot of work on economics more generally). But most schools offer a distinct IDS stream, one that looks at the issue of development much more intensely than the broad, wide-ranging economics and security elements of the international relations (IR) stream that I took. Needless to...

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