Mar 14, 2011

Perspective in measurement and in life

In measuring time series data, one realizes that significant outliers or spikes will take on significance only over a certain duration and a certain time scale of granularity. A daily spike in website visits may seem signficant within last month's daily visitor plot. However, it may seem less so with a weekly plot. Or it may lose significance further compared to other larger spikes on a duration plot of an entire year.

This spring weekend has brought a new meaning to judging the relative importance of events, and in juding magnitudes of scale of importance. This humble overworked professional has tried to keep up with assignments over the weekend. He's also watched his Amazon rankings of his book on a daily basis, and wished they would nudge higher. These issues pale in comparison to the pleasure of riding bikes and playing baseball with kids as spring draws near. On the negative side, both hassles and joys are tempered by stuggles friends have with flooding nearby.

Furthermore, all of these are tiny in perspective when considering the natural disasters in Japan that happened within a day but whose duration of impact will be measured in years and tens of thousands of lives.