AssembleMe is an information science blog written by Julius Schorzman that frequently sways off-topic.

Julius is the CEO of the Google Ventures backed company DailyCred. DailyCred makes working with OAuth super duper simple.

To view some of my old projects, visit Shopobot or CodeCodex.

You can follow me on Twitter if you really want to @schorzman.

Contact Me
This form does not yet contain any fields.

    Strange Maps -- Is there a blog about everything yet?

    INFO VISUALIZATION: I just found a great new blog called Strange Maps. The title says it all -- give it a look!

    Astute readers may notice that I've been deeplinking images on my last few posts. For shame! I know -- it's a nasty practice. Unfortunately I'm sans-Photoshop on this computer and I haven't been able to move the images over and format them correctly. I'm going to try and revisit soon from my home computer and update the links.


    2000 Years and the Spread of Religion

    INFO VISUALIZATION: This isn't a perfect visualization -- but it's an interesting attempt at showing the spread of today's religions over Eurasia. I'd love to see a more comprehensive look animated as well some day. Kudos again to Wikipedia.


    The US Interstate Highway System Map by Chris Yates

    INFO VISUALIZATION: Well, here I am, back from the dead. :-)

    Work, work, work and some of my projects (a new source code community wiki, a place to buy historical stock quote data en masse (still being built), and a place for historical price data for consumer goods (still in the early stages)) have been keeping me from blogging for almost a year.

    BUT, here I am, to show you a great new map of the US Interstate system. Enjoy!


    New World Birth Rate Metrics

    INFO VISUALIZATION: Reuters has some illustrative visualizations on birth rates and population growth.

    Pop quiz. Biggest pensions in the world + flat population growth =

    A. European economic crisis.
    B. No worries d00d! Das no problem.
    C. European economic crisis.


    Monday Morning Coffee Visual Aids

    INFO VISUALIZATION: Two new visualizations for you this morning:

    • Cabspotting: An animated map showing the location and speed of San Franciscan cabs.
    • World Population TreeMap: Another treemap -- this one using (I think) Treemap 4.0 in a Java Applet.


    New York City charts

    INFO VISUALIZATION: Here are some charts I created for the New York City Demographics page on Wikipedia. For your viewing pleasure.


    • New York City
    • The Bronx
    • Brooklyn
    • Manhattan
    • Queens
    • Staten Island

    Percentage EDIT: Rate of New York City borough population growth, decade over decade.

    New York City population, total and by borough, from 1900 to 2000. Figures in millions.

    New York City population, total and by borough, from 1790 to 1890. Figures in millions.

    New York City borough population from 1790 to 2000. Figures in millions.

    New York City population, total and by borough, from 1790 to 2000. Figures in millions.


    Scatterplot of Religion and Crime Shows Slight Correlation

    DATA: Check out this great paper called Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies. It shows that religion doesn't have the effect on a nation that many people suspect it has.

    Specifically, it looks at crime rates v. religiosity and finds that, at best, the relationship is random and, at worst, religion has the effect of increasing crime rates. (Correlation does not imply causation though. It could be random, or perhaps people turn to religion when the streets around them are crime ridden?)


    Soda, Pop, or Coke?

    INFO VISUALIZATION: The debate continues.


    More Economic Issues

    DATA:Here's an interesting peice from Morgan Stanley about the current issues brewing in the economy. Again, it's the same things I posted on last time.

    • Energy prices up

    • National / Personal debt and Trade Deficit up

    • Real Estate bubble

    • Savings null

    Here's the kicker paragraph from the article:

    Just prior to the two oil price spikes of the 1970s, discretionary spending by US households had also gone to excess. The GDP share of consumer durables and residential construction -- the latter being a proxy for the discretionary demand for shelter -- was running at peak levels of around 14.5%. In the aftermath of those two earlier energy shocks, discretionary spending collapsed -- with the combined share of consumer durables and homebuilding falling to 11.5% in the mid-1970s and 10.5% in the early 1980s. These were the most severe consumer-led recessions on record in the United States. In the current expansion, discretionary household spending has moved into a similar zone of excess. The combined share of consumer durables and residential construction has averaged 14.3% of GDP over the past year -- virtually identical to peak shares hit just before the two energy-shock-induced consumption collapses of the 1970s. In other words, just as the energy shocks of the 1970s hit US households at a point when their spending behavior had gone to excess, the same is the case in the present climate. Yet unlike those earlier periods, today’s asset-dependent, overly-indebted American consumer is lacking any semblance of a backstop of income-based saving to shore up the downside. It would be one thing if American consumers were committed to defending modest lifestyles. It is another thing altogether in today’s era of excess -- there is much more room and greater urgency for consolidation.

    The only investment Dan and I have in non-cash assets right now is investment in international bonds (Templeton Global Income Fund) because I just have a bad feeling about economy as a whole right now.

    When is this government really, really going to get serious about energy policy? And, no, the latest pork-fest energy bill doesn't count.


    Krugman: Doom & Gloom (But I agree this time)

    DATA: So, I'm not an economist.

    However, I've been reading more and more about the housing bubble. And I've seen it play out in real life; none of my friends are looking to buy houses, we all understand that they are overpriced. Today, I read a very interesting article by the good ol' bear Krugman, called Safe as Houses.

    I used to live next door to a Russian émigré. One day he asked me to explain something that puzzled him about his new country. "This place seems very rich," he said, "but I never see anyone making anything. How does the country earn its money?"

    The answer, these days, is that we make a living by selling each other houses. Since December 2000 employment in U.S. manufacturing has fallen 17 percent, but membership in the National Association of Realtors has risen 58 percent.

    I've thought for sometime, even back in Seattle, that housing prices were unsustainable. Now that I'm in New York, I know they are. (Living in a city with a per-capita income of $22,402 but where the average apartment closing price is now $1,300,000.00 will do that to a person.) Meanwhile savings rates have fallen to zero, interest only mortgages are proliferating, and the twin deficits are rising.

    Despite my generally bullish take on the US economy and future in general, I think it may be time to switch into hedge-mode and short a few housing related stocks.

    Another Op-ed piece ties the economy to Bush's slowly falling approval ratings:

    [P]eople are feeling insecure because they understand that today's economy is built on shaky fundamentals. Average Americans may not sit around fretting about America's outsized budget and trade deficits, and its unprecedented foreign indebtedness. But many of them - as buyers, borrowers and employees - are concerned about the increasingly bubbly housing sector.

    The economy's shortcomings are nowhere more obvious than in the job market. Nearly four years into an economic expansion, job growth is still substantially slower than in previous recoveries. Wages for 80 percent of the work force are barely keeping pace with inflation, and aid for the workers hurt by global trade is paltry. Because Mr. Bush fails to acknowledge the lackluster job and wage growth, he fails to respond appropriately. The administration's insistence that the economy is getting better all the time - a stance that is based on statistical aggregates that are often divorced from individuals' actual experience - only intensifies the anxiety that people feel.

    Page 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 ... 28 Next 10 Entries »