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Category Archives: History Through Spreadsheets
My first engineering manager was named Marl Godfrey. He was an excellent manager who also had keen insights into the human condition. These insights made quite an impression on my 22-year old self – I actually kept a notebook of his comments. Some of his most insightful comments were about the US military and the Vietnam War. Marl has grown up in Oklahoma and he had served in Vietnam. He once commented that Oklahoma had very aggressive draft boards, which resulted in Oklahoma having a relatively high death rate during the conflict. I was reminded of this statement when I recently reviewed my quote database. I thought that I should be able to determine how death rates varied by state during the Vietnam War, which is the subject of this post. Continue reading
One WW2 battle that we hear little about was fought by logisticians. Their battle was between what could be produced versus what could be delivered in time to matter. This point was driven home to me when I heard a WW2 historian say that the US had the manufacturing capacity to produce 150K tanks, but that level of tank production would consume all the US steel and leave nothing to build the ships needed to carry the tanks to the fight. In this post, I will look at Liberty Ships and the role they played in supplying allied armies during WW2. Continue reading
I was watched a particularly interesting lecture by Victor Davis Hanson on his new book The Second World Wars. While Hanson is generally thought of as an ancient Greek scholar, he does an excellent job of analyzing WW2 from a novel set of viewpoints: ideas, air, water, earth, fire, and people. Continue reading
I was driving home from my cabin construction project yesterday when I heard on the radio Gordon Lightfoot singing about the sinking of the Great Lakes freighter Edmund Fitzgerald (Figure 1). The sinking occurred when I was in high-school, and it was the first I had ever heard of a sinking on Lake Superior. Continue reading
I have been working hard to address the issues associated with an aging workforce (blog post). However, aging is problem for the entire world – the median age of the world is increasing. Aging populations put enormous strains on the infrastructure of country. I have been reading quite a few articles lately on the effect of aging populations on quite a few developed nations: South Korea, China, Germany, and Italy. Many nations are facing the problems associated with aging populations: high medical expenses, providing elder care, paying pensions, etc. Continue reading
Quote of the Day At least you figured it out. My first two husbands never did. — Female employee told me this after I mentioned that my wife's nickname for me was "The Paycheck" – this nickname was a joke … Continue reading
I was reading an article that stated that names of Hurricane Harvey and Irma could be the eighth pair of back-to-back hurricane whose names have been retired since the 1954. I have never thought about which hurricane names have been retired, so I started to search around the web. As usual, the Wikipedia provided an excellent data source. Continue reading
I was watching the weather reports on Hurricane Erma and the discussions on how powerful it is. The most cited metrics for hurricanes and typhoons appears to be wind speed and eye barometric pressure (see Figure 1). I decided to look around for hurricane and typhoon strength data and the Wikipedia turned out to have a page containing large number of tables for all the most intense typhoons and hurricanes in different regions of the world. I used Power Query to (1) import the tables, (2) clean them up, (3) combine them, and (4) rank the storms by air pressure. Continue reading
You may have noticed that many of my recent posts are focused on data processing and analysis. These recent posts reflect the fact that I am preparing for a career change as I near "retirement," and I plan on working in the data analysis arena. This means that I have been in serious Python, R, and statistics training. While I love working with Python and R, I keep finding myself drawn back to Excel and Power Query (aka Get and Transform) for quick, ad hoc analysis work. While this blog will look at the frequency over time of the name Mark, you can use the tool to generate the same chart for any name. Continue reading
I heard some discussion on television about all the Confederate monuments around the country and when they were erected. I decided to look for the data and plot it for myself. I very quickly found a document from the Southern Poverty Law Center that looked interesting and provided me some interesting data tidying and charting challenges. My focus here is on duplicating their chart of monuments dedications dates. This chart type is not a standard Excel type and I wanted to see how I could duplicate it. This workbook will be used in a charting seminar that I plan to present in a month or so. Continue reading