As I have mentioned previously in my blog, one of my childhood heroes was Harry Houdini. Halloween holds a sad, special place in my heart in that it is the day Houdini died. Houdini died of peritonitis, secondary to a ruptured appendix at 1:26 p.m. on October 31, 1926 in Room 401 at Detroit’s Grace Hospital, aged 52. In his final days, he optimistically held to a strong belief that he would recover, but his last words before dying were reportedly, “I’m tired of fighting.” Eyewitnesses to an incident at Houdini’s dressing room in the Princess Theatre in Montreal gave rise to speculation that Houdini’s death was caused by a McGill University student, J. Gordon Whitehead, who delivered a surprise attack of multiple blows to Houdini’s abdomen.
The eyewitnesses, students named Jacques Price and Sam Smilovitz (sometimes called Jack Price and Sam Smiley), proffered accounts of the incident that generally corroborated one another. Price describes Whitehead asking Houdini “whether it was true that punches in the stomach did not hurt him”, and after securing Houdini’s permission to strike him, delivering “some very hammer-like blows below the belt”. Houdini was reclining on a couch at the time, having broken his ankle while performing several days earlier. Price states that Houdini winced at each blow and stopped Whitehead suddenly in the midst of a punch, gesturing that he had enough, and adding that he had no opportunity to prepare himself against the blows, as he did not expect Whitehead to strike him so suddenly and forcefully. Had his ankle not been broken, he would have risen from the couch into a better position to brace himself.
Throughout the evening, Houdini performed in great pain. He was unable to sleep and remained in constant pain for the next two days, but did not seek medical help. When he finally saw a doctor, he was found to have a fever of 102 °F (39 °C) and acute appendicitis, and advised to have immediate surgery. He ignored the advice and decided to go on with the show. When Houdini arrived at the Garrick Theater in Detroit, Michigan, on October 24, 1926, for what would be his last performance, he had a fever of 104 °F (40 °C). Despite the diagnosis, Houdini took the stage. He was reported to have passed out during the show, but was revived and continued. Afterwards, he was hospitalized at Detroit’s Grace Hospital.
It is not entirely clear what relationship the encounter in the dressing room had on Houdini’s eventual death. As Snopes points out, the relationship between blunt trauma and appendicitis is not clear. One theory suggests that Houdini was unaware that he was suffering from appendicitis. If he had not realized that his stomach pains were symptomatic of appendicitis, he would not have appreciated the potentially critical effect of the blows to his abdomen.
After taking statements from Price and Smilovitz, Houdini’s insurance company concluded that the death was due to the dressing-room incident and paid double indemnity.
This Houdini Infographic was created by Mark D., an experienced Mac technical Expert & Designer located in Ballston Spa, NY. Mark has over 15 years experience troubleshooting and maintaining Apple-based equipment including desktop and portable computers, iPads and iPhones, Mac networking and the Macintosh OS as well. He is also a graphic designer who can design your next logo, sales literature and even icons for your projects.
Best Regards and Happy Halloween,
Every year, halloweencostumes.com brings us “Creepy Calculations,” a visual compilation of some of some of Halloween’s freakiest facts. This year is no exception! What are some of the 2014’s most popular costumes? How much money will Americans spend decorating their homes and filling our bellies with sweet candy treats? Who do people trust more to give them costume advice: friends, family, or Facebook??
As a followup to the visualization I shared on mankind’s greatest architectural achievements, Britt from Podio.com shared a chart her team has created. It depicts the world’s most over-budget projects, which shockingly consist of some of the world’s most monumental buildings, such as the Montreal Olympic Stadium and the Empire State Building.
To give you more of an overview, it charts large-scale projects in history known for cost overruns. Project timeframes, budgets and costs were taken from reliable news media and academic literature to create a comparison chart that allows you to contrast each project’s percentage over budget, years over deadline and total amount over budget.
Simply click on any of the images to see the more detailed information.
You are allowed the option to view it via the grid or the graph view. I highly recommend checking out the graph view as it will give you a better picture of how the costs to build each building compares to one another.
Thanks to Britt and her team for sharing this with me.
Here is where you can view the entire interactive visualization: https://podio.com/site/budget-busters
Best regards, Michael
When I clicked on the Scottish Parliament Building, the following information displayed.
When I was a young boy, I loved to color with my big box of Crayola Crayons. I would pull out blank sheets of paper and create multi-colored masterpieces (at least my mother said so).
Crayola’s crayon chronology tracks their standard box, from its humble eight color beginnings in 1903 to the present day’s 120-count lineup. According to Crayola, of the seventy-two colors from the official 1975 set – sixty-one survive. 
A creative dataviz type who goes by the name Velociraptor (referred from here as “Velo”) created the chart below to show the historical crayonology (I just made that word up!) of Crayola Crayons colors.
Velo gently scraped Wikipedia’s list of Crayola colors, corrected a few hues, and added the standard 16-count School Crayon box available in 1935.
Except for the dayglow-ski-jacket-inspired burst of neon magentas at the end of the ’80s, the official color set has remained remarkably faithful to its roots!
Ever industrious, Velo also calculated the average growth rate: 2.56% annually. For maximum understandability, he reformulated it as “Crayola’s Law,” which states:
The number of colors doubles every 28 years!
If the Law holds true, Crayola’s gonna need a bigger box, because by the year 2050, there’ll be 330 different crayons! 
A Second Version
Velo was not satisfied with his first version, so he produced the second version below. 
A Third Version (and interactive too!)
Click through to the interactive version for a larger view with mouseover color names!
 Stephen Von Worley, Color Me A Dinosaur, The History of Crayola Crayons, Charted, Data Pointed, January 15, 2010, http://www.datapointed.net/2010/01/crayola-crayon-color-chart/.
 Stephen Von Worley, Somewhere Over The Crayon-Bow, A Cheerier Crayola Color Chronology, Data Pointed, October 14, 2010, http://www.datapointed.net/2010/10/crayola-color-chart-rainbow-style/.
While called the “Festival of Lights,” Diwali is most importantly a day to become aware of one’s “inner light.” In Hindu philosophy there is an idea of “Atman,” something beyond the body and mind which is pure, infinite and eternal. Today is a celebration of “good” versus “evil”; A day when the light of higher knowledge dispels ignorance. With this awakening comes compassion and joy.
The background story and practices vary region to region. Many people celebrate by lighting fireworks and sharing sweets and candies. Diwali is a holiday celebrated across a vast array of countries and religions. It is celebrated in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji, by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists.
This informative infographic is from 2012, but I like the information about Diwali it provides and thought of sharing.
Source: Metal Gaia, Happy Diwali!, November 13, 2012, http://metal-gaia.com/2012/11/13/happy-diwali/.
NPR has written a lot about how income has changed (or not) for the rich, middle class and poor in the U.S. In the past, however, they have written much less about what the rich, middle class and poor actually do for work.
To remedy that, NPR made this graph. It shows the 10 most popular jobs in each income bracket.
Data from 2012, adjusted for inflation.
If you click on each job, you can see where it appears in different income brackets.
The jobs here look shockingly familiar. It’s like a Richard Scarry model of the labor market, with people working jobs ripped right out of a storybook. This is the kind of work that needs to get done in every city in America. It shows that, at least nationally, the conventional idea of what people do for a living still holds.
Looking across incomes and rankings there are a couple of interesting things to note:
- It’s good to be the boss: Being a manager is the most common job from the 70th percentile up to the 99th.
- Doctors and lawyers are only found in the top two brackets. (There’s a reason our grandmothers wanted us to go to med school or law school.)
- Sales supervisors are well-represented across all groups. It’s a broad job title that applies to people making as little as $12,000 a year all the way up to six figures.
The data come from the American Community Survey using individual income from wages and salaries. We restricted the sample to adults ages 25 to 65 and who worked at least three months in the past year.
References: Quoctrung Bui, The Most Common Jobs For The Rich, Middle Class And Poor, NPR.com, October 16, 201412:50 PM ET, http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/10/16/356176018/the-most-popular-jobs-for-the-rich-middle-class-and-poor.
Ticketcity has created an infographic comparing the attendance, ticket prices, number of artists present, and locations for Coachella, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and South By Southwest – which one are you attending?
Source: Laura Baker-Finch, [INFOGRAPHIC] The Big 5 US Festivals, Cultvora.com, March 29, 2013, http://cultivora.com/coverage/view/infographic-the-big-5-us-festivals-coachella-bonnaroo-austin-city-limits-acl-lollapalooza-sxsw.
I’ve mentioned Bob Boze Bell (photo, right) and his A True West Moment column that appears in our Sunday The Arizona Republic before. As I said then, one of my favorite things to do in life is read the Sunday newspaper. I have been doing this since I was around 10 years old. I always read the comics first, but that has diminished as most of my favorite comic strips are long since retired. However, in The Arizona Republic, one of the first things I read every Sunday is A True West Moment by the legendary Bob Boze Bell.
In 1999, Boze took over the legendary True West Magazine. Launched in 1953 by the legendary Joe “Hosstail” Small in Austin, Texas, True West is a popular history publication with a loyal, core readership, and the oldest, continuously published Western Americana publication in the world. Thanks to the proliferation of TV Westerns in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the magazine enjoyed broad circulation (200,000+ newsstand sales). But, as the market and his health started to decline, Joe Small sold out in 1974 and over the next decade, the magazine bounced around the Midwest, finally settling in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Unfortunately, the Oklahoma owners did not have the capital to stay current with the changing times and the magazine began to lose significant market share, as newer, slicker titles such as Cowboys & Indians and American Cowboy came into the marketplace. By mid-1999, the publication, along with three other titles, was for sale, and the current owners came to the rescue. True West Publishing (including assets and trademarked names of True West, Old West, Frontier Times) moved to Cave Creek, Arizona, in October 1999. [SOURCE]
In 2003, the magazine celebrated its 50th anniversary. The year also marked the incorporation of True West Publishing and an increase in the magazine’s frequency to 10 issues. True West now also publishes an annual shopping guide called the Best of the West Source Book.
I received the following e-mail from the Kimball Group. Thought I would share.
Kimball Group Retiring on December 31, 2015
During the past three decades, we have worked with hundreds of clients, written thousands of pages, taught tens of thousands of students, and flown millions of miles. It’s been incredibly rewarding and challenging, but it will soon be time to move on. The members of the Kimball Group will retire at the end of December 2015.
We wanted to give you plenty of notice while there’s still time to engage us or enroll in our classes (or both).
- Kimball University Public Classes: Several Dimensional Modeling and DW/BI Lifecycle classes are scheduled for the remainder of this year. We’ll announce our 2015 “final tour” in mid-December.
- Kimball University Private Onsite Classes: Check out our onsite classes and contact Margy if you have questions.
- Kimball Group Consulting: Check out our consulting offerings and contact Bob if you have questions.
Stay tuned for more details during the next several months.
We have learned a tremendous amount from our clients, students and readers through the years and are extremely grateful for your business, intelligence, wit and kindness. We hope to see as many of you as we can during the coming year as we approach retirement.
Thanks and best regards,
Ralph, Julie, Margy, Bob, Joy and Nancy
Bryan Brandow (photo, right), a Data Engineering Manager for a large social media company, is one of my favorite bloggers out their in regards to thought leadership and digging deep into the technical aspects of Tableau and MicroStrategy. Bryan just blogged about triggering cubes and extracts on his blog. Here is a brief synopsis.
One of the functions that never seems to be included in BI tools is an easy way to kick off an application cache job once your ETL is finished. MicroStrategy’s Cubes and Tableau’s Extracts both rely on manual or time based refresh schedules, but this leaves you in a position where your data will land in the database and you’ll either have a large gap before the dashboard is updated or you’ll be refreshing constantly and wasting lots of system resources. They both come with command line tools for kicking off a refresh, but then it’s up to you to figure out how to link your ETL jobs to call these commands. What follows is a solution that works in my environment and will probably work for yours as well. There are of course a lot of ways for your ETL tool to tell your BI tool that it’s time to refresh a cache, but this is my take on it. You won’t find a download-and-install software package here since everyone’s environment is different, but you will find ample blueprints and examples for how to build your own for your platform and for whatever BI tool you use (from what I’ve observed, this setup is fairly common). Trigger was first demoed at the Tableau Conference 2014. You can jump to the Trigger demo here.
I recommend you click on the link above and give his blog post a full read. It is well worth it.