The Data Thread. Issue #3

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The Data Thread. Issue #3

June 25, 2019

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In The News

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The future of AI research is in Africa

Despite the odds, the African machine-learning community has blossomed over the last few years. In 2013, a local group of industry practitioners and researchers began Data Science Africa, an annual workshop for sharing resources and ideas. In 2017, another group formed the organization Deep Learning Indaba, which now has chapters in 27 of the continent’s 54 countries. University courses and other educational programs dedicated to teaching machine learning have burgeoned in response to increasing demand.

AI & Machine Learning

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Exploring Neural Networks with Activation Atlases

These atlases not only reveal visual abstractions within a model, but later in the article we will show that they can reveal high-level misunderstandings in a model that can be exploited. For example, by looking at an activation atlas we will be able to see why a picture of a baseball can switch the classification of an image from “grey whale” to “great white shark”.

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A new set of images that fool AI could help make it more hacker-proof

Add a few choice strokes or layer in some static noise invisible to the human eye, and you can throw off an image recognition system, sometimes to deadly effect. Adding stickers to a stop sign can make a self-driving car believe the sign is posting a 45-mile-per-hour speed limit, 

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Don’t Learn Deep Learning

The use cases for deep learning stand somewhat apart from the mainstream use cases of data science. Where Data Scientists are often trying to make models with broad applications in a business context, such as to predict marketing churn, insurance events or similar, the use cases that deep learning has been especially associated with have tended to be around things like computer vision and other traditionally Artificial Intelligence applications.

Business Intelligence & Data Viz

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Designing in Style

…there were many examples of how effective brand can be when it’s thoughtfully applied to data storytelling. Branding done well goes beyond design elementsfont, color and logosevoking a feeling and perhaps an emotional connection.

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A Chronicle of the Anti-vaccination Movement

How one unethical study on vaccines caused irreparable harm.

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UFO Sightings in America

Natalie Miteva visualizes the number of Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) sightings across America in the last 50 years.

Training & Resources

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Mapping Anthony Bourdain’s Travels

In today’s tutorial, we are going to plot this extraordinary person’s world travels in R. So our code will cover geospatial data mapping using 2 methods:(1) Leaflets package to create zoomable maps with markers (2) Airplane route style maps to see the paths traveled.

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7 Steps to Mastering Data Preparation for Machine Learning with Python — 2019 Edition

…is the process of detecting and correcting (or removing) corrupt or inaccurate records from a record set, table, or database and refers to identifying incomplete, incorrect, inaccurate or irrelevant parts of the data and then replacing, modifying, or deleting the dirty or coarse data. Data cleansing may be performed interactively with data wrangling tools, or as batch processing through scripting.

Power BI APIs for Non-Programmers

There was an announcement made a few weeks ago by Microsoft that nearly slipped under my radar. I don’t always read the more technical announcements because I don’t have a highly technical background. Luckily I read this particular announcement as it contained a nugget of gold that is very useful for anyone with a business background that wants to learn more about the Power BI APIs

Interesting Data

Plant Extinctions

Most people can name a mammal or bird that has become extinct in recent centuries, but few can name a recently extinct plant.

All new data on plant extinction and rediscovery analysed during this study are available as supplementary files linked to this published article. The data used for comparison with all seed plants are from the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families and are, or will soon become, publicly available from


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Advanced R, Second Edition

Advanced R helps you understand how R works at a fundamental level. It is designed for R programmers who want to deepen their understanding of the language, and programmers experienced in other languages who want to understand what makes R different and special.

About Me: Pedro A. Medina, E.E. lives at the intersection of advanced analytics, business intelligence, and social responsibility. He inspires a new breed of innovative Data Scientists at Haystack Data Solutions. Connect with him on LinkedIn:

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