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This Week in Chicago Apps and Other Data: Poetry and CPS Socio-Economic Tiers

Plus: Sunspot images, “The New Optimism,” means of determining the optimal baseball batting order, and a forthcoming social-services finder for Chicago.

 

* Open City Apps, the local collective that previously brought you Clear Streets and the Vacant and Abandoned Building Finder, have released their most compelling (to me) app to date: Chicago Public School Tiers. It’s not just an informative look at how this aspect of CPS works, it’s also a compelling glance at socio-economic distribution across the city. Impressively, it took them only five hours to code; Forest Gregg’s appearance on CLTV discussing the app should be online soon.

* @astronomerjoe does some daytime city astronomy and comes away with some wonderful sunspot images.

* Every year MIT’s Sloan School of Management hosts a star-studded Sports Analytics Conference, which also includes an open call for research papers. One of those highlighted at the conference comes from a local, Clayton J. Graham of DePaul: “Baseball Enigma: The Optimal Batting Order” (PDF).

Baseball is a game with significant traditions, if not superstitions. Prior to turning over the starting line-up to the home plate umpire before each game, the field manager has made use of such advanced player evaluation methodologies as: tarot cards, a Ouija board, biorhythms and sun spots. Since Branch Rickey [3] hired a full time statistician in 1947 the quest to make use of a player’s quantitative performance has been increasingly incorporated by major league baseball. The magnitude of available statistics within baseball ranks second only to the output of the Bureau of the Census.

I can’t help but wonder what Graham’s formulas would say about A.J. Pierzynski batting second.

* The Poetry Foundation took home a well-deserved Digital Ellie nomination for its iPad app (also available in iPhone and Android flavors). Among other things, it introduced me to Dean Young’s “The New Optimism” (“even as the last polar bear sat / on his shrinking berg thinking, / I have been vicious but my soul is pure").

* Put it on your radar: Purple Binder.

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