Quantifying Trump’s call with Georgia election officials

From trumphat.github.io

Powerful people in the world are often lauded for their persuasiveness. A key part of leading a successful company, campaign or tech revolution is convincing others to follow your vision. Apple founder Steve Jobs’ ability to convince his engineers that the impossible was possible was said to be like a “reality distortion field” and was seen as a key part of creating Apple’s hit products and software. Now people like Elon Musk get described as having such a skill.

While we may see public statements by these people, unfortunately we don’t normally get to see how they apply their reality…


Everything you need to build a scalable analytics platform in 2020

I’m shocked to be telling you this next sentence: I read a free ebook from a company and actually loved it. I normally have a low opinion of free ebooks, seeing them as either overly long marketing pitches or too vague to be useful. For instance Snowflake’s For Dummies book on data warehouses is 60 pages long and yet is so dedicated to being abstract it never mentions Redshift, BigQuery or even Snowflake.

The Analytics Setup Guidebook from Holistics is a totally different story. It offers an overview of the different parts of the analytics stack: data warehouses, importing data…


A modern classic for database and distributed system users

Realising how little you know about something can potentially be a demoralising experience. This book, however, manages to make it invigorating and fascinating. In Designing Data-Intensive Applications Martin Kleppmann starts by explaining the basics of how simple databases work and works up to how multiple systems interacting in distributed environments work. Along the way he takes many concepts I thought I understood and shows the depth and complexity I never knew was there in order to provide a much more thorough understanding.

Image by author

For example, ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) transactions in databases (covered in chapter 7). I’ve seen that acronym…


Cloud Composer is Google’s managed service for Apache Airflow. Its environments have a number of packages preinstalled, but the versions can be out of date. It’s possible to update these and install other packages you need.

However you may get conflicts in the package dependencies which will block updating or installs of new packages. Also Google frequently update the Composer/Airflow images available for new environments so if you do get conflicts, you may have to resolve a new set of conflicts each time you update the image version.

What makes this especially painful is that Composer can take 20–40 minutes…


CS50 is Harvard’s introduction to computer science course. This course is not just made to be completed online, it is the actual course taught to Harvard students. All lectures are filmed in Harvard and put online, along with the assignments, tutorial videos and all supporting notes (notes and assignments linked below if you want a peek). Your assignments are graded, so you are held to the same standard as the actual Harvard students. All of this is, incredibly, available completely for free.

The course starts from the very basics, explaining binary and using the visual, block based programming language Scratch…


From Adam Wilson on Unsplash

Thanks to Spotify’s Hot Country and Country Nights playlists, I recently got into an unusual phase of listening to country music. Rock is normally more my genre so this was a first for me. After my immediate realisation of how catchy country can be, something that really struck me was that there seemed to be so many references to alcohol and drinking!

Take these inspired lines from Chris Stapleton below. Do you think he knows that non-alcoholic things can be used in comparisons too?

You’re as smooth as Tennessee whiskey
You’re as sweet as strawberry wine
You’re as warm as a glass…


From Markus Unger

I was recently reading a book called Thinking, Fast and Slow which introduced me to the concept of loss aversion. This is the psychological effect where people will work harder to avoid a perceived loss than for the equivalent gain. For example, losing £5 of your own money feels worse than gaining £5.

The book discusses the effect of this in sport with a study on putting in professional golf. At the end of a golf game only the total amount of strokes count. However, the study showed that golfers were better at making putts for par (where missing would…


I recently started the Google machine learning specialisation on Coursera called Machine Learning with TensorFlow on Google Cloud Platform. I’ve previously done the popular Andrew Ng machine learning course on Coursera and thought it very well taught, but also very academic. With this course coming from a company and using popular private sector tools in Google Cloud I had high expectations.

There are five courses in the specialisation. They started off great but as I progressed I became disappointed in the labs and eventually stopped after the third course. …


Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

I was recently discussing with my sister, who also works in analytics, about how analytics work may be started with the visions of using the latest and greatest in machine learning to vastly improve a process. By the end of scoping a project though, it turns out what is actually wanted is metrics dashboards, possibly created with just Excel. This can be disappointing for a budding analyst (who also has visions of using the latest and greatest tech). A lot of processes may already have some form of metric reporting so creating dashboards can seem like it’s not adding value…

Mark MacArdle

Data engineer @ Bought By Many

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