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Posts from the ‘Visualizations’ Category


A Timeline of NASA Competitions

Pausing for a “work meets play” moment, thanks to stumbling across the cool interactive timeline tools at   To try out the new tool, I loaded up a database of NASA mission proposal competitions over the last 20 years, mostly in science and technology.   The dry run is available here.  (Or view a screencap here).


Last Slice of the Pie

Time for one last slice of the NASA pie, this time broken out state by state (following up on previous slices by Company, and by Field Center).   Again, all data are from NASA’s annual procurement reports, are inflation-adjusted to FY10 dollars, and are 3-year smoothed.  The embedded time-series begin in 1999 (reflecting a 1997-1999 average) and end in 2010 (thus, the data still only reflect the old Constellation program, and not the Obama administration’s requested new direction).

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Another slice of the NASA pie

Last week I sliced the NASA procurement history up based on its deployment through its ten field Centers.  Today, a slightly different take – tracking the end recipients.    Well, to a point … NASA’s official procurement data only tracks the “prime contractor” recipients of awards (whether technical primes or support service contractors).   In the actual aerospace industry, of course, the money then gets distributed through layers of subtier suppliers (subcontractors).   That said – even tracking the primes over time is interesting. Read more »


The Eye of The Storm

NASA enjoys the stablest budget in the Federal government.  Why then its continual state of disarray?

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A Year In The [Google] Life

Last week I shared some findings on how the new GoogleCorrelate tool uncovered the very sharp seasonality in searches for student internships (happily and coincidentally helping me out at work).   Search interest follows an extremely concentrated annual cycle, beginning during (or just after) winter break.   This of course begs the question of what topics are of most “peaked” interest for the remainder of the year… Read more »


Is the market really looking up for commercial space?

A while back I published a hard look at the optimistic launch demand estimates generated by FAA’s COMSTAC annual forecast.  This year’s forecast has just been released.    In addition to the forecast, the report has for many years included a valuable and underutilized source of information, which provides a more believable and fundamental basis for optimism in the commercial launch sector.   Read more »


Interns: On Your Mark, Get Set …

Want to attract the attention of the best summer interns?   Target your communications campaign to be ready on the first of the year.   It shouldn’t be a surprise that interest in internships follows an annual cycle with a peak in the late winter and spring … but what it is surprising is how sharply peaked this interest is. Read more »



Another lifelogging experiment with GraphViz-based network mapping, this time on my library of books (sample size 356, managed with the excellent little Mac app Delicious Library 2, notable for its iSight-barcode-scanning magic, and no relation to the social bookmarking service). Read more »


Adventures in Tagging

This is a “three birds with one stone” entry:

  1. I wanted a test project to learn GraphViz and its related programming syntax for generating network diagrams.
  2. I wanted to see how much semantic structure was built into my Delicious bookmarks, after two years and ~1190 entries worth of use.
  3. I wanted to do the latter before Delicious gets transferred to its new owner and potentially gets dorked up.   (Yahoo’s utter apathy and neglect has at the very least been benign.  Although I am optimistic about AVOS…)

More specifically on #2, has enough information content found its way into my assigned tags to self-organize related keywords?  (I’m fascinated with the concept of folksonomies, even if a folksonomy technically requires more than one contributor.    Read more »


Commercial Launch (Forecast) Fever

This will be a difficult entry to pen without being accused of being “hostile” to the emergent U.S. commercial space industry (which I am not).  It is – as with most posts in this blog – a discussion of data, more specifically, data from forecasts.   Very optimistic forecasts.   If it makes it any easier to swallow, very optimistic government forecasts.

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