Dream Jobs

My step-daughter is a senior so we all have college on the brain. The other night at dinner we somehow got to talking about what job we would have if we had the freedom to return to Graduate School.  Our conversation never got very far as adult dinner conversation in our house is frequently punctuated by Mason singing, “I Like to Move it Move it” and requesting more “quack-a-mole” for his burrito as only a 2-year-old can do.  However had our toddler been more curious about graduate school, here’s what he would have learned.

I love gorgeous visualizations of numbers.  Graphs.  But nowadays the humdrum bar graphs and pie charts of our youth are often replaced by simply elegant ways to see numerical relationships.  Egan and I look at graphs together as often as possible and most often, the most elegant ones involve technology.

What 7-year-old Warriors fan wouldn’t want to analyze this graph?  curry_heatmap.gif

So you can imagine my delight when a friend recently told me about Flight Aware which allows you to track  airline flights in real-time along with seeing other data.  Tonight my husband was flying to San Diego so Egan and I checked out his flight.  There was so much to talk about that we had the laptop at the dinner table (please don’t tell anyone), but it was  THAT good.

flight path
If you put in your airline and flight number, you can see where the flight is, but that’s only the beginning.

early graphAt any point you can see speed and altitude graphs and we had fun predicting what they would look like 1 minute, 10 minutes and 1 hour from now.  Egan’s hypothesis is that the wiggles in the speed graph were when the plane passed through fog and clouds.  But by far the most exciting part for both Egan and me was seeing all of the airborne flights on the same map and zooming in to find Mike’s flight and zooming out to see where the flight paths were the most dense.all flights.png


The dense spots, the outliers, the time of day…we were together left with a lot of unanswered questions which need more investigation.  I guess the laptop at the dinner table wasn’t all-bad.  Or at least it wasn’t until I looked up from my meal to see that Mason had stood up in his high chair and crawled onto the dinner table to push its buttons.

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 10.40.15 PM.png


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