Below are articles and other resources I came across through my work as a program evaluator, professor, and psychologist. The digests I share mostly relate to evaluation, psychology, health, and education. I also usually include a quote, book, and/or event that may interest you.

RESEARCH/ EVALUATION

Density- From Data to Viz (Yan Holtz)
A density plot is a smoothed version of a histogram and is very useful for illustrating distributions of variables, which is a good first step in data analysis. It can also be useful in comparing up to about three groups on the same variable. Yan provides examples as well as R and Python code!

PSYCHOLOGY

Atomic Habits Cheat Sheet (James Clear)
This two-page summary of James’ way of thinking about building positive habits and decreasing negative ones outlined in his book, Atomic Habits, can be quite useful for those trying to make a change in their lives. I am working on a video in which I discuss how my meditation practice was solidified using these guidelines (although I only recently realized that this was the case). More to come…

HEALTH

Framework for Nutrition and Fasting (Peter Attia)
If you want to getting a better understanding of the difference between time restricted eating and fasting, among other important nutritional factors, this video is a good start. Peter refers to nutritional biochemistry as one of the five pillars of longevity. It shares an overview of his way of conceptualizing nutrition and fasting and why he refers to the Standard American Diet as a “killing machine”.

BOOK

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (Yuval Noah Harari)
This helpful visual timeline of history provides a great overall framework for the major events and trends identified in his book, which is a favorite of many including Bill Gates. I find it useful as a scaffold for learning other historical events and understanding the context impacting certain psychological, health, and social phenomena. For instance, dietary practices instituted during the agricultural revolution (about 12,000 years ago) do not necessarily promote well-being but are present due to social and economic factors. For instance, this encourages me to question the benefits of conventional eating behaviors even though they have been around for a long while- 12,000 years is a blip in our evolution going back 200,000 years with the emergence of Homo Sapiens.

UPCOMING EVENTS

VizUM2019: Uncertainty in Visualization (University of Miami)
If you can make it to Coral Gables on Wednesday, December 11th from 4 to 7pm you can catch Jessica Hullman’s talk titled “Supporting Reasoning with Uncertainty Using Data Visualization” and Alberto Cairo’s presentation titled, “How Charts Lie: What You Design is Not What People See.” For a taste of Alberto’s work check out this article in Scientific American. I highly recommend going to the event, these types of talks at UM have been excellent and this one is free!

“Whereas the truths of science are communicable… mythology and metaphysics are but guides to the brink of a transcendent illumination.” – Joseph Campbell
(Thanks to Bernardo Kastrup for citing this quote in his book, “More Than Allegory: On Religious Myth, Truth, and Belief”)

Enjoy!

James