Another blog for my feed

The about page for Data Evolution says the blog is “dedicated to exploring the disruptive changes underway in global data markets,” and their interests seem to overlap quite a bit with my own: statistics, data visualization, R, public policy, etc.

I particularly liked the post entitled What can Darwin’s finches tell us about the downturn. If you’re getting tired of the doom and gloom coming out of Washington these days, read this post. It’s one of the few things I’ve read lately that makes an attempt to look on the bright side of the current crisis.

Naturalists studying Darwin’s finches on the Galapagos Islands had found that during the wet season — when food was abundant — all birds were well-fed regardless of the length of their beak. But in 1977, an extended drought left only one in seven finches alive on the islands. Those that survived had longer beaks, which presumably gave them an advantage in finding food. “The birds were not simply magnified by the drought: they were reformed and revised. They were changed by their dead. Their beaks were carved by their losses.

The post concludes:

Downturns are not only good for innovation, they are necessary. While innovation may occur in times of plenty, crises allow the right innovations (hybrid cars) to outcompete the wrong ones (SUVs). This assumes that crises are allowed to run their course (the case against bailouts), but that there are at least some survivors (the case for them).

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One Response

  1. I don’t know a lot (as in nothing) about statistics, but given the subject of this post, it would be interesting to see some statistics comparing government spending with economic growth as measured by the GDP.

    I think the bailouts simply reward bad behavior/poor judgment and cause more harm than good in the long run, because the government is simply transferring wealth from one sector to another. I’d be interested to see if there’s valid statistical correlation between Keynesian stimulus spending and actual economic growth.

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