Giacomo Debidda

Interesting things other people did in 2016

December 29, 2016 | 3 min Read

Some time ago I followed a data science course taught by Jeff Leek on Coursera. The course was so good and thorough that eventually they decided to split it into several courses and create a data science specialization out of it. During the course Jeff Leek mentioned that toward the end of the year he likes to compile a list of things other people did during the year.

I think it’s a nice idea, so I’ll make a list of the things I stumbled upon during the year and that I found interesting.

Here it is:

  • Nathan Yau posted a scary but entertaining visualization on how you will die. The analysis and data preparation was performed in R, while for the visualization he used D3.js.
  • Omar Wagih created Guess the Correlation, a hilarious game where you try to guess how correlated the two variables in a scatter plot are.
  • Toby Walsh published a short paper on AI and singularity. Quite a different opinion than the one expressed by Ray Kurzweil in The Singularity is Near.
  • Clayton d’Arnault wrote a really interesting article about information overload, one of the biggest problem of our hyperconnected society. The title couldn’t be more appropriate: Drowning in a Sea of Information. I really like the paragraph about idea debt.
  • Someone created dsxyliea, a web page that gives you an idea about how people with dyslexia see text.
  • Someone created an Atari Breakout in a pdf. You have to view the PDF in Chrome to be able to play it. The author created this game to show that PDF has its own JavaScript scripting (which uses a completely different standard library from the Javascript available in a browser).
  • Two twin teenagers built a fusion reactor in their bedroom and posted an AMA on Reddit.
  • These guys created a really cool project about Beer and IoT.
  • Charles Scalfani wrote an article on why experts make bad teachers. Really, really interesting point of view.
  • Rody Zakovich created a funny Sankey diagram on the most common swear words in South Park season 1.
  • Brandon Liu of created a beautiful map of New York where you can explore the age of the buildings. I love maps like this one. I want to build something similar in 2017.
  • Jose Aguinaga wrote a hilarious article about the state of the Javascript ecosystem, now that a new framework/transpiler/shiny thing seems to pop up every single day. How it feels to learn Javascript in 2016.
  • The University of Michigan created Visualizing Health, a website which hosts a collection of visualizations on healthcare topics. All visualizations are distributed via a Creative Commons license, which allows anybody – academics, healthcare organizations, even for-profit businesses — to adapt them for their own objectives.
  • Christopher Möller put together a nice list of resources on interactive journalism. I proptly starred this repository on my GitHub account.
  • Deep Learning was the buzzword of 2016 (and probably it will be of 2017 too). This article about Emoji & Deep Learning was a bit different from the usual neural network tutorial :-)

Note: I was really tempted to steal some stuff from Jeff’s list, there were really some good links…


Jeff Leek’s “A non-comprehensive list of awesome things other people did in 2016”.

Giacomo DebiddaWritten by Giacomo Debidda, Pythonista & JS lover (D3, React). You can find me on Twitter & Github