Chemical Activity Barometer “Suggests Accelerated Business Activity”

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Here is an indicator that I’m following that appears to be a leading indicator for industrial production.

From the American Chemistry Council: Chemical Activity Barometer Suggests Accelerated Business Activity; Notches Sixth Consecutive Gain

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), expanded 0.4 percent in August following an upward revision for July. This marks the barometer’s sixth consecutive monthly gain. Accounting for adjustments, the CAB is up 3.2 percent over this time last year, the strongest year over year growth since January 2015. All data is measured on a three-month moving average (3MMA). On an unadjusted basis the CAB climbed 0.3 percent in August, following a 0.6 percent jump in July.

The CAB is signaling higher, and possibly accelerating, U.S. business activity into 2017. The services sectors have begun to improve and likely accelerated during recent months, and manufacturing appears to be gathering momentum,” said ACC’s Chief Economist Kevin Swift.
emphasis added

Currently CAB has increased over the last three months, and this suggests an increase in Industrial Production over the next year.

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Create an animation with the BY statement in PROC SGPLOT

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(This article was originally published at The DO Loop, and syndicated at StatsBlogs.)

Create an animation by using the BY statement in the PROC SGPLOT

It is easy to use PROC SGPLOT and BY-group processing to create an animated graph in SAS 9.4.
Sanjay Matange previously discussed
how to create an animated plot in SAS 9.4, but he used a macro loop to call PROC SGPLOT many times.

It is often easier to use the BY statement in SAS procedures to create many graphs.
Someone recently asked me how I created an animation that shows level sets of a contour plot. This article explains how to create an animation by using the BY statement in PROC SGPLOT.

An animation requires that you create a sequence of images. In SAS 9.4, you can create an animated GIF by using the ODS PRINTER destination. ODS does not care how the images are generated. They can be created by a macro loop. Or, as shown below, they can be generated by using the BY statement in PROC SGPLOT, SGRENDER, or any other procedure in SAS.

As an example, I will create the graph at the top of this article, which shows the annual time series for the stock price of three US companies for 20 consecutive years.
The data are contained in the Sashelp.Stocks data set. The following DATA step adds two new variables: Year and Month. The data are then sorted according to Date, which also sorts the data by Year.

data stocks;
   set sashelp.stocks;
   Month = month(date);      /* 1, 2, 3, ..., 12 */
   Year = year(date);        /* 1986, 1987, ..., 2005 */
proc sort data=stocks; by date; run;

I will create an animation that contains 20 frames. Each frame will be a graph that shows the stock performance for the three companies in a particular year. You can use PROC MEANS to discover that the stock prices are within the range [10, 210], so that range is used for the vertical axis:

ods graphics / imagefmt=GIF width=4in height=3in;     /* each image is 4in x 3in GIF */
options papersize=('4 in', '3 in')                    /* set size for images */
        nodate nonumber                               /* do not show date, time, or frame number */
        animduration=0.5 animloop=yes noanimoverlay   /* animation details */
        printerpath=gif animation=start;              /* start recording images to GIF */
ods printer file='C:AnimGifByGroupAnim.gif';  /* images saved into animated GIF */
ods html select none;                                 /* suppress screen output */
proc sgplot data=stocks;
title "Stock Performance";
   by year;                                           /* create 20 images, one for each year */
   series x=month y=close / group=stock;              /* each image is a time series */
   xaxis integer values=(1 to 12);                         
   yaxis min=10 max=210 grid;                         /* set common vertical scale for all graphs */
ods html select all;                                  /* restore screen output */
options printerpath=gif animation=stop;               /* stop recording images */
ods printer close;                                    /* close the animated GIF file */

The BY statement writes a series of images. They are placed into the animated GIF file that you specify on the FILE= option in the ODS PRINTER statement.

A few tricks are worth mentioning:

  • Use the ODS GRAPHICS statement to specify the size of the image in some physical measurement (inches or centimeters). On the OPTIONS statement, specify those same measurements.
  • You can control the animation by using SAS system options.
    To create an animated GIF, use OPTIONS PRINTERPATH=GIF ANIMATION=START before you generate the image files. Use OPTIONS PRINTERPATH=GIF ANIMATION=STOP after you generate the image files.
  • Use the ANIMDURATION= option to specify the time interval (in seconds) that each frame appears. Typical values are 0.1 to 0.5.
  • Use the ANIMLOOP= option to specify whether the animation should repeat after reaching the end
  • Use ODS HTML SELECT NONE to prevent the animation frames from appearing in your HTML output. (If you use the LISTING output, replace “HTML” with “LISTING.”)
  • By default, the levels of the BY group are automatically displayed in the TITLE2 field of the graph. You can turn off this behavior by specifying the NOBYLINE option. You can use the expression #BYVAL(year) in a TITLE or FOOTNOTE statement to incorporate the BY-group level into a title or footnote.

You can use a browser to view the image.
As I did in this blog post, you can embed the image in a web page.

Have fun creating your animations! Leave a comment and tell me about your animated creations.

tags: 9.4, Statistical Graphics

The post Create an animation with the BY statement in PROC SGPLOT appeared first on The DO Loop.

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The post Create an animation with the BY statement in PROC SGPLOT appeared first on All About Statistics.

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Digital Realities: Augmenting Fashion

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From enhancing a catwalk or retail experience to digital garments that react to your most recent tweets, the relationship between augmented reality and fashion is an increasingly attractive one. With designers and brands having to work harder than ever to keep up with the pace of technology, what influence does augmented reality hold across the […]

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Waspmote Radiation Sensor Board+Geiger Tube

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Detect Alpha, Beta and Gamma radiation integrating any Geiger Tube which works in the range 400V – 1000V and read this levels using Arduino. As well as from the terminal, the radiation levels can be shown using different actuators: Piezo: it allows us to hear the typical “chirp” common in the radioactivity counters Leds: 3 green and 2 red let easily to show low, medium and high levels The current version of the pack comes with the J305ß Geiger tube which detectes Beta and Gamma radiation.Detect Alpha, Beta and Gamma radiation integrating any Geiger Tube which works in the range 400V – 1000V and read this levels using Arduino. As well as from the terminal, the radiation levels can be shown using different actuators:
Piezo: it allows us to hear the typical “chirp” common in the radioactivity counters
Leds: 3 green and 2 red let easily to show low, medium and high levels
The current version of the pack comes with the J305ß Geiger tube which detectes Beta and Gamma radiation.


Edward Tufte Keynote Presenter at Data Science Summit, Sep 26-27

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(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

I'm excited to share that one of my data science heroes will be a presenter at the Microsoft Data Science Summit in Atlanta, September 26-27. Edward Tufte, the data visualization pioneer, will deliver a keynote address on the future of data analysis and the how to make more credible conclusions based on data.

If you're not familiar with Tufte, a great place to start is to read his seminal book Visual Display of Quantitative Information. First published in 1983 — well before the advent of mainstream data visualization software — this is the book that introduced and/or popularized many familiar concepts in data visualization today, such a small multiples, sparklines, and the data-ink ratio. Check out this 2011 Washington Monthy profile for more background on Tufte's career and influence. Tufte's work also influenced R: you can easily recreate many of Tufte's graphics in the R graphics system, including this famous weather chart.


The program for the Data Science Summit looks fantastic, and will also include keynote presentations from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Data Group CVP Joseph Sirosh. Also there's a fantastic crop of Microsoft data scientists (plus yours truly) giving a wealth of practical presentations on how to use Microsoft tools and open-source software for data science. Here's just a sample:

  • Jennifer Marsman will speak about building intelligent applications with the Cognitive Services APIs
  • Danielle Dean will describe deploying real-world predictive maintenance solutions based on sensor data
  • Brandon Rohrer will give a live presentation of his Data Science for Absolutely Everybody series
  • Frank Seide will introduce CNTK, Microsoft's open source deep learning toolkit
  • Maxim Likuyanov will share some best practices for interactive data analysis and scalable machine learning with Apache Spark
  • Rafal Lukawiecki will explain how to apply data science in a business context 
  • Debraj GuhaThakurta and Max Kaznady will demonstrate statistical modeling on huge data sets with Microsoft R Server and Spark
  • David Smith (that's me!) will give some examples of how data science at Microsoft (and R!) is being used to improve the lives of disabled people
  • … and many many more!

Check out the agenda for the breakout sessions on the Data Science Summit page for more. I hope to see you there: it will be a great opportunity to meet with Microsoft's data science team and see some great talks as well. To register, follow the link below.

Microsoft Data Science Summit, September 26-27, Altanta GA: Register Now

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog: Revolutions. offers daily e-mail updates about R news and tutorials on topics such as: Data science, Big Data, R jobs, visualization (ggplot2, Boxplots, maps, animation), programming (RStudio, Sweave, LaTeX, SQL, Eclipse, git, hadoop, Web Scraping) statistics (regression, PCA, time series, trading) and more…

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How to attract and nurture design talent

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In an industry that is increasingly competitive, retaining talent has become a top priority for design leaders.

Download our new free ebook “Design and Business,” a curated collection of chapters from the O’Reilly Design library. Note: this post is an excerpt from “Design Leadership,” by Richard Banfield, which is included in the curated collection.

In the early stages of a design company, finding the right talent to grow your team can seem like a distant problem. Particularly as you start out as a small group of founding members, seeking and developing talent on a regular basis simply isn’t top of mind. But for larger teams and established studios, it is something that needs to be addressed almost daily. As the company grows, even the most loyal team members may move on and will need replacing. Our design leaders are constantly having to ask how they will find and keep the best people.

Continue reading How to attract and nurture design talent.

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Are You Stupid?

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I’m on the phone with a Vendor Executive. The individual, well respected of course and somebody that 50 – 100 of you (+/-) work with, is questioning a tactic applied by a client. The conversation goes something like this.

Vendor: Why did you execute the strategy you executed?

Kevin: Because we had test results, and the test results replicated themselves more than a dozen times. We knew this strategy was the most profitable strategy. The tests confirmed the strategy, over and over and over again.

Vendor: But it’s a dumb strategy, and you know it.

Kevin: We tested it.

Vendor: But why do the opposite of a best practice?

Kevin: Because we tested the opposite of a best practice, and the opposite strategy outperformed the best practice in twelve consecutive tests.

Vendor: Are you stupid?

Kevin: Wut?

Vendor: Everybody knows my strategy is right. It’s a best practice. I don’t care what your test results and actual customer behavior revealed. I’m letting you know we are implementing the opposite of your strategy, and we don’t need your help going forward. In fact, we’re taking over the marketing function at this company. We’re going to do things the right way from now on, ok?

Kevin: Fine.

Vendor: I just don’t get it. Are you stupid?

Kevin: If you are going to make a change, make it. But then be accountable for the results, good or bad. If you are right, brag about it. But if you are wrong, you better be ready to call me and tell me you were wrong. Are you willing to be held accountable if you are wrong?

Vendor: I know I am right. I am applying best practices. Everybody knows I am right.

The data-driven people have it all wrong, of course. For if this were a data-driven world, the Vendor Executive would steal these results and apply them broadly across the vendor ecosystem.

When I get myself into trouble, professionally, it’s because I have test results that threaten the way somebody makes a living. My weakness is trying to appeal to the data, a strategy that seldom works when somebody makes a living requiring the opposite outcome I observe via test results.

Such is the case with the Catalog Vendor outlined in this post.

Ask your vendor if they have tested their tactics? Ask to see actual results. When you hear the phrase “best practice” thrown out into the middle of a testing argument, be wary. And if the vendor executive asks “are you stupid”, know in the back of your mind that you have identified a truth at odds with what the vendor is selling.

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