Dereks Time Travel Note Books: VII The Structure Of Data Is Not The Same As The Metrics Of Data


Demonstrating the importance of visualising data is difficult in a digital world. For a variety of reasons.

There are people who suppose that graphs, charts, tables and diagrams are just pictures. These are people who suppose that statistics and metrics are the sole arbiter of understanding and analysis. The mean, standard deviation and correlation say a lot about a set of data. To suppose that you can simply look at those three metric and 'know' the importance of the data is naive.

In 1973 F.J. Anscombe devised a quartet of datasets that appeared to have identical metrics. Yet, when graphed, each of the eleven point datasets were visually quite different. The first appearing like a scattering of dots, the second a J curve, the third a straight line with a single outlier data point, and the fourth a curious stack of points to the left of the graph and a single point to the right. Showing the image removes the serious point that visualisation needs images. So, to make the point, omit the images, which forces the reader to seek out the Anscome dataset; or, link to an entirely different dataset that illustrates the same principle.

Time Travellers have a vested interest in having a personal time line which does not cross itself. Crossing the beams indicates paradoxes. Causing a personal time line to cross itself causes paradoxes. Intuitively, time travel should sketch a timeline which is a monotonic function. Again, omission of an image forces a dive into a rabbit hole of monotonicity which rarely provides exactly the information that a good image might have provided. Indeed, the rabbit hole method might lead to statistical test of "how imagey an image is": how monotonic is monotonic? Which, given the Anscome datasets might well be a misleading statistic.

The really big, and interesting, idea for cryptocurrency is that visualisation is about pattern. Cryptocurrencies have a tendency to be, to paraphrase Edison, ninety nine percent pattern and one percent value. Cryptocurrency patterns tell you something far beyond the financial, speculative, value. Which is where understanding the communities around Cryptocurrencies becomes important. What motives people who hold and exchange DOGE, BTC, ETH or even Dollars and Pounds Sterling. The patterns of communities are less bound to summary statistics and more revealed by visualisations. Dynamic visualisations at that.

The structure of data is not the metric of data. Community is not Society as the German Sociologists were wont to opine. Cryptocurrency Communities are not Cryptocurrency Societies - as they might continue to opine. Time Travellers seem to suffer from the Fermi Paradox which gives rise to the question: where are all the Time Travellers? Which is a recurrent theme across both Time Travellers and Space Travellers: that Aliens are just as likely from the future as from Zeta Reticuli. The really interesting idea is not do Travellers in Space Time exist but how to recognise them.


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Hubert Huzzah
Hubert Huzzah

An ongoing manifestation of Thee Surrealerpool Collage of Alchymical, Flâneurial and ’Pataphysical Studies. An Institutuion with membership by invitation, coercion and accident only. Hawkers, Traders and Carlists not welcome except by exception.

Derek has given up Time Travel.
Derek has given up Time Travel.

Derek has given up Time Travels for reasons of practical expedience and to devote more time to a particularly important project. Episode #1 of an intermittent series on Surrealism, Technology, and Science.

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