All posts filed under: Society

Capstone: Variables Associated With Environmental Sustainability – A United Nations Millennium Development Goal

For those following my blog since the start of my Data Analysis and Interpretation Specialization by Wesleyan University through Coursera, this is the final course and the Capstone project. Unlike previous courses, I will move away from urbanization data and try to tackle one of the problems provided by the course’s industry partner. Below is our first assignment – the introduction to my final report. Variables Associated with Environmental Sustainability Using data provided by the World Bank, through DrivenData, this study looks to identify factors associated with the Environmental Sustainability Indicator defined as an United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG). Preliminary explanatory variables are Gross National Income, Forest Area, CO2 Emissions, Employment, Foreign Direct Investments, Household Final Consumption Expenditure, Adult Literacy Rate, Urban Population, Investments in Energy, and Energy Use. This mix of both economic and social factors will be examined for associations with the UN-MDG indicator of environmental sustainability. After the associated variables are identified, they will be used to create a model to predict data for the years 2008 and 2012. As a social/urban scientist interested …

GIS Specialization – Fundamentals of GIS

On February 22, 2016, I started the GIS Specialization Course with UC Davis through Coursera. Today, I completed the first course in the series. As I already have a couple years of GIS experience, the first course Fundamentals of GIS was more like a review of the basics. At the same time, I definitely learned new skills such as map package sharing and creating bookmarks. To complete the first course, I needed to create a map for the final assignment. The original data is at the precinct level. I had to aggregate the voting data for Proposition 37 and total votes to the county level. This is the map I created: I must say, this process took longer than I expected. I am definitely a bit rusty with the map-making. My spatial analysis skills are also rusty. At first, I used a different geoprocessing tool. Instead of directly using a spatial join with the intersect method, I took the long way around using Intersect, Merge, and then Dissolve. However, this presented issues because the data became more …

Short Post: Biology and Life

I have been looking for a steady job now for almost a year now and one of the questions I get asked the most is why? Why am I pursuing or want to pursue a career in such and such? People really want to know where you are coming from and what your vision of the future is. Honestly, even though I know my answers, sometimes I have to look back to the beginning and ask myself why? Why am I now fascinated by the use of space in cities and urban environments? Why am I pursuing a career in understanding the urban? Like most stories, there is a beginning. As a young child, I was always chasing after butterflies, digging up earthworms, and collecting fish. Their movements and their features fascinated me. Metamorphosis, the transformation from an ugly caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly, captivated my imagination and in many ways it is a metaphor for life. I never though much of it until high school, where I met a wonderful biology teacher by the …

Short Post: Mindfulness

Mindfulness, it is a quality that is hardly seen in people today. We are all consumed by instant gratification, the so-called freedom as we are liberated to chase whatever our short attention spans dictate. We are influenced by the idea of “personal brands”; we are dominated by a desire to foster a certain type of “public image”. We become more concerned about what others think of us instead of just being who we are. We lost that ability to be happy for ourselves and to bring happiness to others. Mindfulness runs against all of that. It is a compassionate and empathetic act that comes through self-less giving. When we are mindful, we are not taking from others. We are making the world around us the subject matter. It is when we are able to see the world from another person’s eyes. It is when we try to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. We too often judge others quickly without truly understanding who they are and where they come from. We forget that everyone has …

Short Post: The Issues – Educate and Compromise

Recently, I have had several conversations with my friends back in Taiwan. A common thread of discussion is how hopeless they feel about social conditions getting better. Since the recent presidential election that resulted in the first female president in the country’s history, there have been a wave of euphoria. A large majority of the population, especially millennials, felt that the fall of the KMT was key to social change in Taiwan. Yet the problems that face Taiwan, especially those of my generation, are complex and difficult to untangle and dissect. One thing that we all agreed on is the fact that many people are unable to think for themselves. Many young people comment and criticize based on misinformation or a lack of independent thought. Part of the issue is how the media presents information and part of the issue is how people consume media in Taiwan. Though media consumption is not a unique problem to Taiwan, the culture of Taiwan tend to cause people to disregard and dismiss opposing opinions and voices. I feel …

Compassion is Light

After being reminded of some personal philosophies earlier this morning, I want to take the time to explain it. I wrote this poem 7 years ago after a conversation at dinner with my buddies about relationships with people: A Conversation at Dinner An act in progress is the star within you. Simplified to four stages: Red dwarf Blue giant Supernova Black hole Bring out the light in those around you or engulf them with your own. What is it that you want – a harmony or an overwhelming shell. Self-confidence comes with the brightness you emit and cause others to emit. Centered on yourself you drain all around you as a black hole pulls in even light. Drowning in the ever amassing matter accumulated throughout years of darkness. None can save you but yourself. So you, I am talking to pick yourself up and act in the manner you believe to be best. I will expand on what I wrote in poetry form. If we imagine each of us as a star (which I believe …

k-Means Cluster Analysis – Machine Learning

Machine Learning Data Analysis This is the last lesson of the fourth course of my Data Analysis and Interpretation Specialization by Wesleyan University through Coursera. If you have been following along with my work, you will know that I am interested in the relationship between urbanization and economic development and am posing the general question of whether urbanization drives economic growth? For this assignment, the goal is to run a k-Means Cluster Analysis using my variables: Urban Population, Urban Population Growth, GDP Growth, Population Growth, Employment Rate, and Energy Use per Capita in 2007. Here, GDP per Capita in 2007 is used as the validation variable. I am trying to identify if there are clusters of characteristics that associate with certain values of GDP per Capita based on national data from 2007. As before, the data is split into 70% training data and 30% test data. However, the k-means cluster analysis will only be run on the training data set. The Elbow Curve Graph shows that 2, 3, and 4 clusters could be interpreted, though it is …

Lasso Regression – Machine Learning

Machine Learning Data Analysis This is the third lesson of the fourth course of my Data Analysis and Interpretation Specialization by Wesleyan University through Coursera. If you have been following along with my work, you will know that I am interested in the relationship between urbanization and economic development and am posing the general question of whether urbanization drives economic growth? For this assignment, the goal is to run a Lasso Regression that identifies the impact of each of my explanatory variables: Urban Population, Urban Population Growth, GDP Growth, Population Growth, Employment Rate, and Energy Use per Capita in 2007. As it is a linear regression model, I am able to use a quantitative variable. Unlike the previous lesson, I can use GDP per Capita 2007 as is, without having to convert it into a categorical variable. This time, the training data set is 70% and the test data set is 30% of the original data, which means there are 100 observations in my training data set vs. 43 in my test data set. pred_train.shape = (100, 6) …

Random Forests – Machine Learning

Machine Learning Data Analysis This is the second lesson of the fourth course of my Data Analysis and Interpretation Specialization by Wesleyan University through Coursera. If you have been following along with my work, you will know that I am interested in the relationship between urbanization and economic development and am posing the general question of whether urbanization drives economic growth? For this assignment, the goal is to create a random forest that identifies the varying importance of my explanatory variables: Urban Population, Urban Population Growth, GDP Growth, Population Growth, Employment Rate, and Energy Use per Capita in 2007. For my response variable, I created a categorical variable from GDP per Capita 2007. I separated the data into two levels, where GDP per Capita 2007 is lower than 10000 is 0 or low and where GDP per Capita 2007 is higher than 10000 is 1 or high. Just as in the last assignment, when my test sample is set at 40%, the result is 58 test samples and 85 training samples out of 143 total, with …