Wednesday, July 20, 2011

So Much For My Bucket List!

Forty two years ago today, on July 20, 1969 (20:17:40 UTC), Neil Armstrong stepped on to the surface of our moon.

I've had an ongoing interest in the space program since the early 1960's. I kind of grew up with it all. Then, in the summer of 1980, while attending the Joint Statistical Meetings in Houston, my friend Keith McLaren and I went on a tour of the Johnson Space Center.

Several things stand out when I think back to that visit.
  • The Apollo 11 capsule was unbelievably small, and the ceramic heat shield was burned almost right through!
  • The Mission Control room was also incredibly small! (The guide said that was everyone's first reaction.)
  • We went inside a "mock-up" of the space shuttle.
  • We walked along a catwalk above a barn of a room that was totally full of more IBM mainframe computers than you can imagine. They were part way through a 12 month long simulation in preparation for the first shuttle flight the following year.
Not surprisingly, then, one item on my bucket list was to see a shuttle launch.

Mapping the Flow of Scientific Knowledge

If you have an interest in the flow of scientific knowledge, especially across different disciplines, then you'll enjoy the site. It provides some terrific graphical analyses of the map ("graph") of the world of scientific citations.

One thing that you'll get an insight into is the position of economics, as a discipline, relative to other sciences.

You can also use the site to get a slightly different "take" on the rankings of economics and econometrics journals, based on factors that aren't taken into account in simple citation counting. I'm referring to the so-called Eigenfactor Score.

Make sure that you check out the tabs labelled "mapping" and "well-formed".

Moritz Stefaner is responsible for the "well-formed" visualization, and he blogs here. You've seen his very creative work before, in connection with the OECD's Better Life Index, which I've discussed previously, here, here, and  here.

© 2011, David E. Giles