We were there when they made Dear Data

 

Easy links: dear-data.com deardata-deliveries.tumblr.com

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Procedural notes that can be skipped:

I had previously intended to write something about the shapes employed by Giorgia Lupi and the Accurat studio – and indeed I still will. But that takes some time and it got leapfrogged by Dear Data. This post came at a good time because I didn’t get around to it straight away (we’re now at week 35 of the project) and by the time I did, some other ideas had bubbled up in conversations, focussing my attention on the process of design, critique and refinement (which is getting added to my reading pile for the summer). These ideas are so alien to statisticians that I am not sure any of them will have read this far into this post, but they (we) are the ones that need to up their (our) game in communication. Nobody else will do it for us! The other building block that came along in time was finally finding really nice writing paper and resolving to draft everything by hand from now on, preferably in time when I’m physically away from a computer. It has already proven very productive. People seem to have different approaches that work (like starting with bullet points, or cutting out phrases, or mind maps), but mine is to start writing at sentence one, like Evelyn Waugh, and just carry straight on. There is no draft; why should there be? Finding that technique and place to write is really valuable; don’t devalue it and try to squeeze it into a train journey or between phone calls. It’s the principal way in which you communicate your work, and probably the most overlooked.

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3 Comments

  1. Here’s a nice quote I just found: “An amateur is someone who doesn’t stuff his ideas down your throat” – Morton Feldman, Give My Regards To Eighth Street, p 56

  2. The down side of doing all writing by hand is a touch of the old carpal tunnel symptoms. So, I’ve been learning to write with my left hand. This is not an unalloyed success, but it forces even more concise expression, and somehow – quite beyond my control – comes out looking like something out of a Yes or Marillion album cover.

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