Posts Tagged ‘data’

What kind of food does Leeds eat?

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015 | Food

Following on from my previous post looking at statistics we can pull out from the Leeds Restaurant Guide dataset, I wanted to look at how the restaurant scene has changed since we first published the guide.

Here it is:


In this graph, I have plotted each cuisine type against the number of restaurants. This is shown for the 1st edition (2013), 3rd edition (2014) and 5th edition (2015). As we learned in the last post, the number of restaurants has risen, so in general, we would expect most categories to have grown between each addition. I have not included pub grub as the size of it makes the rest of the data difficult to see.

For the most part, this holds true. Some cuisines have grown faster than others though. We have seen a rise in restaurants serving American, British, International (those that serve food from all over the world with no real speciality) and steak.

In other areas we have seen a decline though. Buffet, French, Indian and seafood have all seen a decline. Persian has too, but this was always a small market. The biggest change is possibly Chinese restaurants. In the first edition we had seven Chinese restaurants, now we have only four.

In terms of the most popular cuisines, Italian remains king. When we first wrote the guide we even considered splitting Italian into two categories, one for general Italian and one for restaurants that specifically did pizza. Latin is also very popular thanks to the growth of tapas bars. It used to be equally as popular as Indian, but Indian has since fallen away.

We can draw the most popular cuisines in a table. I have omitted hotels and casinos, and international because these do not really tell us anything about people’s tastes.

Position 2013 2015
1 Italian Italian
2 Latin Latin
3 Indian British
4 British American
5 American Indian

It is a pretty consistent story. The only change is that Indian has dropped off from a joint-second spot in 2013 to now being 5th, behind British and American. Much of the growth in these categories is down to meat places such as burgers and BBQ so it could be people are looking towards more meat-heavily dishes in recent years. Or it could also just be random chance. The sample size is not that big after all.


Saturday, December 19th, 2015 | Books

Christian Rudder is a founder and head of data trends at the dating site OkCupid. For years he ran the blog OkTrends which looked at what data you could mine from their site. This book is a continuation of this work as well as bringing in other data sets, mostly to talk about human sexuality.

The full title is Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking).

The anonymised data of OkCupid in aggregate provide some surprising facts, and some expected ones. Take gender differences, for example. Women rate men of a similar age to themselves as the most attract. Up until 30 women will rate men a year or two older than them as the most attractive; after 30 they find men a year or two younger than them most attractive. A drop off starts at 40. That is a good innings though. Compare this to the way men rate women. They rate 21 year olds the most attractive and it goes down hill from there.

He looks at the use of English on Twitter. Many people suppose the internet is degrading the quality of language used. Not so. The average length of a word used on Twitter is actually longer than that in professional publications, and historically. It turns out that when you limit people to 140 characters, they write concisely using a wide lexicon.

He quotes Steve Jobs: “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them”. This always reminds me of the Henry Ford quote “if I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse”. Whether Ford actually said that is unknown, but it makes a good point. When asking for feedback you really need to find out what they think the problem is that you want to solve, rather than asking them what they think the solution is. In Ford’s case a faster way to get from A to B and in Job’s case an easier way to play and listen to music.

Back on OkCupid, it turns out that everyone is a racist. Rudder breaks the data down into how four groups: white, asian, latino, black, rate each other’s photos. It turns out that people generally rate their own race as the most attractive, but the real drop off is for black women by any other group, who consistently rate them lower. This has geographic differences however. There is a big gap in the US for example, while almost no gap in the UK.

He also looks at the differences between the heterosexual and LGBT communities. Is sexuality a spectrum, for example. Only 19% self-identifying bisexuals regularly message both males and females. This could imply a number of things. It could be that there is a spectrum and many bisexuals fall at either end of it. It could also be that some gay people identify as bisexual for cultural or social reasons. Especially given it correlates with their state’s tolerance of homosexuality. The answer is probably a number of different factors.

Rudder also mentions that Justine Sacco, the woman who made the “hope I don’t get aids” tweet, worked for OkCupid’s parent company. Sacco was discussed in Jon Ronson’s book So You’ve been Publicly Shamed. The hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet is a classic example of how quickly things can travel world the world these days.

In summary, it’s not too clear what Dataclysm was actually about. It seemed to be mostly “here is some interesting data about people”. From that respect, it was genuinely interesting. It also had a lot of crossover with A Billion Wicked Thoughts in using anonymous internet data, a source that has only come around in the last few decades, to reveal fascinating insights into human thoughts and behaviour.


Technical difficulties

Monday, October 13th, 2008 | Tech

I came to access the data partion of my hard drive yesterday and received a message informing me that my E: drive was not formatted and would I like to format it now?

Awwww, crap.

Having tried all the usual solutions I installed Partition Table Magic (having shelled out quite a bit for it) to fix everything. Which it didn’t. It did however mess with my partion table so that instead of booting off my main partition it now booted off the small media partition that you can use to play movies and such without booting up the full operating system.

So now I couldn’t get Windows to boot at all.

I downloaded GParted and booted into that with the LiveCD and managed to reset the flag so that it booted off the proper partition. But now the media center partition is visible for the first time and who knows what other damage has been done.

Still, I’ve got past the heart wrenching hours where I thought I was going to have to shell out for professional data recovery so things could be worse.