How is electricity generated in your state?

I recently saw an article on showing what methods are used to generate electricity in each state. The data was interesting enough that I decided to try my hand at graphing and mapping it with our SAS software. Read along to see what I kept the same, and what I changed...

But before we get started, here's a fun picture of my friend "Magic Wanda" at my Halloween party. I'm sure it was just an oversight that the article did not include witchcraft & sorcery as methods used to generate electricity! ;)



And now, on to the graphs!...

Here's a screen capture of the main graph in the (wp) article. It's a pretty cool interactive graph, and when you click on the colored bar segments or the legend, it brings the selected electricity source to the top and sorts the bars by the selected source.
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What areas do venture capitalists invest in medical research?

The Wall Street Journal recently published a study of the top 17 medical areas (or body parts) that venture capitalist investments are likely to benefit. They used graphs to summarize the results, but "the graph guy" in me just couldn't resist trying to improve them. Did my improvements help? - You be the judge!

Before we get started in the data analysis, I want to take a minute to point out how fortunate we are to live at a time when medical technology is so advanced. For example, the first successful long-term lung transplants took place in the 1980s ... and today we have a member on our dragonboat racing team who has had both lungs replaced. Can you tell which team member it is?


And now, on with the graph makeover! ... Read More »

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Hadoop releases - here's the timeline graph!

There's a lot of buzz about Hadoop these days. I started checking into it, and there seemed to be a gazillion releases. So, being The Graph Guy, I decided to create a graph to make it a little easier to digest!

During my search for Hadoop information, I found the Apache page showing all the releases. As I scrolled down through page after page of releases, I found it difficult to get a grasp on things - there seemed to be multiple versions releasing simultaneously.

I didn't want to have to work very hard to understand Hadoop releases - I just wanted an "Easy Button." And when your favorite tool is SAS, your easy button often looks a lot like a custom graph. :)

I examined the html code behind the Hadoop release page, and found that all the releases had a consistent 'header' line that I could search out and parse programmatically. Here's an example:


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The world's most valuable sports teams

There's big money in professional sports these days - we're talking billions of dollars! Do you know which teams are the most valuable? The graphs in this blog will show you...

I recently saw a bar chart on showing the world's most valuable sports teams. It was the right kind of graph for this type of comparison, and it showed interesting data ... but their use of color really didn't work for me. Here's a screen-capture of their graph. Try to pick a color in the legend (such as Football or Formula1) and quickly identify all those colored bars in the graph - I bet you can't!



So I found the data source (, entered the data into a SAS dataset, and created my own version of the graph. I kept the layout the same as the original ... but instead of showing all the colors together, I created a separate graph for each sport. Read More »

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Getting SAS certified one credential at a time

Krystian Matusz is what I’d call a super SAS user. He currently holds seven out of the nine credentials SAS offers.

  • SAS Certified Advanced Programmer for SAS 9
  • SAS Certified Base Programmer for SAS 9
  • SAS Certified BI Content Developer for SAS 9
  • SAS Certified Clinical Trials Programmer Using SAS 9
  • SAS Certified Data Integration Developer for SAS 9
  • SAS Certified Platform Administrator for SAS 9
  • SAS Certified Visual Business Analyst: Exploration and Design Using SAS Visual Analytics
Krystian Matusz, 2015 Junior Professional Award Winner

Krystian Matusz, 2015 Junior Professional Award Winner

That makes him part of an elite group of only about a dozen people who hold that many credentials.

Since we love numbers at SAS, I decided to look into whether anyone has earned all the credentials. I found out that only three people have earned eight credentials. And no one has earned all of them. At least not yet.

Krystian is currently preparing to take the SAS Certified Statistical Business Analyst exam this fall. He’s also a beta tester for our latest credentials, SAS Certified Data Quality Steward.

So what drives someone to go after all the credentials? And how much do you need to prepare for each exam? Those are just a few of the questions I asked Krystian – the super SAS user.

1.  Why did you decide to earn so many SAS certifications?

I am a self-motivated and ambitious person. I am always willing to learn and love to challenge myself. I focus on final results and customer's point of view to understand what the customer wants and what his needs really are. Thanks to the certificates, I can better advise them and generate the highest business value as possible for them.

These achievements prove my skills, expertise and knowledge. They give me an opportunity to extend my knowledge and to deliver the best advice for architects and technical/business board teams (e.g. CTO and software architects). The knowledge from my education and exams allows me to deliver the best implementation: pure code, optimal solutions and great working software with clear results: reports, graphs, documents, KPI, KGI and hints for stakeholders. Also, SAS software is one of my favorites. I admire it for its potential. Read More »

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Marriage and divorce in the US: What do the numbers say?

I've heard lots of people quote statistics about marriage & divorce, but the experts don't always agree on what the data means. So I decided to run the data through a SAS graphical analysis, and see what the numbers say ...

Before we get into the numbers though, let's have a little non-scientific fun. I asked my friends to submit their 'interesting' wedding photos, and I have selected 2 to include in my blog. Based on your keen powers of observation, which wedding do you think ended in divorce, and which do you think the couple is still happily married?!? (Thanks Holly & Patricia, for providing these great photos!)




And now, on with the simpler task - analyzing the numeric data!

I spent some time on Google searching for graphs and analyses that were already out there. Read More »

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Creating a better graph to show trade deficit

I recently saw a cool graph showing the US import/export trade deficit. But after studying it a bit, I realized I was perceiving it wrong. Follow along in this blog, to find out what the problem was, and how I redesigned the graph to avoid it.

I was looking through and happened upon a cool graph showing the US imports & exports over time, and the deficit between the two. I didn't like that they used an animation to alternate between the two graphs, but I did like what the data was showing.

I decided to create my own version of their graph, and make a few little changes to improve it. I found the data on the US Census website, saved it in Excel spreadsheet format, and imported it into SAS. I then used PROC SQL to merge the import and export data into a single dataset, so I could graph them together.

Rather than packaging the two graphs as a gif animation, I created them separately. The biggest change I made was in cleaning up the time axis a bit, and extending some reference lines from it. I also made it clear (in the title) that it is a plot of monthly data (which wasn't 100% clear in the original graph). Here are my two graphs:



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Map of US domestic cannabis eradication

In my quest for interesting data to graph, I found some Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) data on US domestic cannabis eradication. Does the data say anything interesting? Read on to find out! ...

While doing some searches for other data, I happened across a table on the DEA website titled 2014 Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Statistical Report. Here's a screen-capture showing a bit of the report:


It seemed like some very interesting data, but I found it very difficult to read the individual values of all the states, and compare them in my head. Therefore I imported the data into SAS, and started exploring it. I tried graphing the data several ways, and here is my favorite visualization (click the image below to see the full-size map, with hover-text): Read More »

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50 million illegal aliens apprehended in the US

There's been quite a bit of controversy about the number of undocumented immigrants in the US lately - for example, Ann Coulter claims that number is 30 million, whereas others claim it's about 11 million (readers of my blog are data-savvy, and would dig into the details of such claims, of course). It's difficult to get a definitive count of something that is by definition 'undocumented,' therefore I focus on something that is more easily quantifiable - the number of illegal aliens that have actually been apprehended.

I found the data on the US Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) website, in the form of a table, as shown in the partial screen-capture below:


This is very interesting quantitative data on the topic, but I found it a bit difficult to digest in their tabular form. There are just too many numbers to try to keep track of in my head, as I look for trends and such. Therefore I imported the data into SAS and created a bar chart - this really helped me see how the numbers have changed over time. I also used SAS to calculate the grand total (nearly 50 million) and annotate it onto the graph using a large font. Read More »

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Was the dress blue ... or was it teal, sky, turquoise, or spindrift?

I saw the dress photo as blue & black. If you're a female, even if we perceived the exact same color, you might might not have said 'blue & black'. That's because women have a larger color vocabulary than men, and you might have elaborated on exactly which blue and which black.


This blog is about a fun/unscientific comparison of the color names men and women use. If you do a Google search for 'men women color names' and look at the images, you will get several matches showing various visualizations of a spectrum of colors, showing that women have a different name for each one, whereas men tend to lump them together into groups.


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