Do city buses in the US make a profit?

What cities have the most and least profitable public transportation services in the US? Perhaps you can find out in this graphical visualization of the data!

The US data I'm analyzing here covers things like buses, vans, and rail ... but it might be even more interesting to analyze data from other countries, where they have a bit more variety in their modes of transportation. Can anyone guess what country my friends Joy and Erik are in?



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SAS Certification sets up Indiana University grads for success

Love_Hardi_croppedA year ago, Love Bisht and Hardi Gokani were working toward their master’s degrees in information systems at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business when SAS piqued their interest.

Today, they’re newly minted graduates with a powerful extra credential – SAS Certification.

Love and Hardi, both India natives, encountered SAS University Edition in summer school through an analytics course. They saw getting SAS certified as a way to capitalize on their academic strengths and position themselves for great careers.

Love’s background includes a two-year fellowship at Teach for India that enabled her to teach full time and two years as a software engineer with Adobe Systems. In August, she will join PWC. Hardi is a business technology analyst at Deloitte.

Below, in their own words, they reveal some of their journey.

Describe your academic strengths. Do you have an aptitude for math and computers? Read More »

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Mapping the 50 US hospitals with the highest price markups

A recent study by Bai & Anderson has found that some hospitals charge 10x (ie, 1000%) higher than the standard rates set by Medicare. Many news agencies have posted the list of the 50 US hospitals that have the highest markup. But I am more visually oriented, so of course I used SAS and plotted them on a map...

Before we get to the map, how about a little trivia contest! The image below shows my friend Beth's injury. What was the injury? ... and for bonus points, how did the injury happen? (Thanks Beth!)


And now, on to my custom map...

I first tried plotting the 50 hospitals as markers on a US map, but some of them were clustered so tightly that it was difficult to see them all clearly. So I decided to plot them on state maps instead. There were so many states, the user would have had to spend a lot of time scrolling through them all, looking for the state that interested them. So I set up a graphical user interface (GUI) - and by 'graphical' I mean a top-level US map, where they can click on the state of interest to drill down. Here's a snapshot of my GUI US map (you can click it to see the actual interactive map):


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Tracking West Nile virus mosquitos in the US

Have you ever been bitten by a mosquito? What are the odds it carried the West Nile virus? ... Perhaps a lot higher than you thought!

Here's a picture of a mosquito that kept 'bugging' me around my computer desk at home - good riddance, I say!


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DATA STEP text file tricks

Files_FilesWhen reading a text file (common extensions: TXT, DAT; or, for the adventurous: HTML) with the DATA STEP, you should always view several lines from the text file, and compare to the record layout, before completing the INPUT statement.  There are many ways to view a text file.  I use the DATA STEP as a file viewer, which is convenient, since I use the DATA STEP to read the text file anyway.

Advantages of using the DATA STEP as a text file viewer:

  1. Platform independence: Windows, Unix, or Z/os
  2. Hex code for unprintable characters
  3. Column ruler

It's super easy!  Check out this SAS log:

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What's the most popular surname in your country?

My previous blog was about popular first names ... now for a blog about popular surnames (ie, last/family names)!

But before we get started, here's a little pop-quiz - what country is my friend Mr. Foley's surname from?

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Weird PROC FREQ trick

Default PROC FREQ output looks like this:


Suppose you don't want the two cumulative statistic columns above.  No problem.  Those can be suppressed with the NOCUM option on the TABLE statement, like this:

proc freq;
	table product / nocum;

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What's the most popular baby name in your state?

A couple of years ago, I blogged about the most popular baby names in the US over the past 100 years. This time, I focus on the most recent year, and take it to the state level!

But before we get started, here's a picture of my friend Jennifer's daughter, Sloan. According to the data, Sloan is a fairly unique name, and was not in the "top 5" for any of the 50 states in 2014.


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Creating a map using death data

I guess most of us have a morbid curiosity about how we're going to die ... which is probably why Francis Boscoe's Causes of Death map went viral (no pun intended, of course!). This blog post shows how to create such a map...

But first, to lighten up the mood a bit for this somewhat dark blog topic, here's a picture of a medical skeleton I recently bought at the Raleigh flea market, and have been repairing/restoring - I've nicknamed him Fast Eddie (bonus points if you know where I got the name!)


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Looking for a SAS job? Join the 21-day SAS challenge

yoga_2I recently taught a SAS training course where the students were very engaged. They had so many questions, I could have spent the next month writing helpful blog posts that came from that one class. However, I picked this one question that the class begged for me to share. The students were so keen on the answer, they even let me take a photo of them smiling as they did yoga. Fair trade. Yoga poses in exchange for a SAS tip. (By the way, I’m also a yoga instructor.)

Problem – Rachel gets dates in a date time format. Her team has been going through a laborious process of copying into Excel and extracting and then converting to a SAS date. Can she do this with SAS?

Solution – Yes, of course. (You knew that was the answer!) SAS can do practically anything, but SAS takes special pride in reading virtually any data. Flat files, text files, .csv, .dat, -- no problem at all.

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