Prototyping business intelligence applications with open-source tools

Introduction

One of the most important skills for data analysis is interacting with databases. Most organizations store their business-critical data in a relational database like Postgres or MySQL, and you’ll need to know Structured Query Language (SQL) to access or update the data stored there.

SQL is an incredible language — it was invented in the 1970s and most new database projects e.g. Redshift, Snowflake, CockroachDB still choose it as their foundation because it is powerful and relatively simple (at least to start). …


Hands-on Tutorials

Use interactive charts to explore a deeply-nested inflation dataset

Showing data broken down into categories is quite easy — just use a humble bar chart or pie chart (although there’s a 100-year old debate about which is best).

But what if each category has sub-categories? And those sub-categories have sub-sub-categories? This is a common data pattern found in many domains including filesystems, biology, and economics.

In this article we are going to walk through a few options for displaying nested data interactively, and discuss the pros and cons of each.

The Data: US Consumer Price Index (CPI) Weights

Ever wondered how inflation is calculated? Essentially, governments will collect price data on thousands of ordinary items every month…


What’s the relationship between carbon output, and economic growth? If we look at both of these on a per-capita basis over the past 60 years, some fascinating trends start to emerge:

For developed countries seems like their carbon output per capita remains roughly flat with increased economic growth. In the US for example, carbon output was about 15 tons per capita in 1960, and is around the same today even though per-capita GDP has grown 20-fold, from $3,000 to $60,000 in that time.

In some countries like the UK, carbon output per person has fallen quite quickly, at…


A Case Study in South Africa

I visited my parents’ home recently in Cape Town, South Africa, and noticed the big shiny solar panels on the roof. They had just forked out some serious cash to upgrade the system and wanted to know why they were still having to buy electricity from the grid.

This turns out to be quite a tricky question, and to answer it we’ll have to go deep into the economics of solar as well as energy usage habits.

How we live

The house is a rambling old 1920s structure that has grown organically over the years. At this point it’s really two separate households…

John Micah Reid

Technical product manager interested in telling stories through data. https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnmicahreid/

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