New Timezone, Same Tomfoolery

Apologies for my prolonged absence. I had to pilot a Honda Fit full of our belongings and one terrified cat from Oakland, CA, to Washington, D.C. Since this is a site about nerdy stats, and I’ve been getting a lot of questions about “How long did it take?”, etc., I decided to share some of the details here.

Are You a Tolkien Baby?

The Social Security Administration makes all its data on baby names available to the public, which as you can imagine leads to some fun analyses. I decided to look at the influence J.R.R. Tolkien, in particular the Lord of the Rings novels, has had on baby names over the decades since his books were published.

Using Data to Tell Better Stories

Lately I’ve been interested in sentiment analysis, aka opinion mining. It’s a method that combines natural language processing with text analysis to basically identify (and quantify!) feelings created by words. Julia Silge has a fantastic example on her blog, where she mined her favorite book, Pride and Prejudice.

Has Hollywood Reached Peak Superhero?

Since I had all that data on superhero films sitting around after my last post, I decided to take a shot at the ongoing debate over whether there are too many superhero movies. The question pops up so often that once I was finished with my analysis, a new article at The Guardian declared “We’ve reached peak superhero. So which ones should we cull?“