I was reading this month’s Wired article about Baseball stats nerd Bill James, and how he decided to use his love and knowledge of statistics to help find crime patterns and debunk crime myths, namely murders.

I’ve always had an urge to learn more about statistics, as numbers both make sense to me and help me explain my view of the world. I’ve spoken many times with Ryan about the fact that I should do something about this desire, but the Wired article helped me move to a place where I could see the implications of me learning (or getting a better grasp of) analytical statistics.

Some ideas for projects I could do:

  • Analyze environmentally-sound consumer choices
  • Analyze patterns of at-risk youth who are able to create success
  • Analyze monetary and time contributions to local communities and their results
  • Analyze unemployment (or fill in the blank with other issues: homelessness, mental health care, women’s shelter) outreach program outcomes

Each of these would be projects I would be willing to put time into and they would and could actually help the world, even if on a very small scale (i.e. only applicable to the data set that I have, and therefore only usable in whatever community data I’m able to get access to). However, even this small goal has set me on my way to contacting UCLA’s statistics department about non-degree enrollment in their graduate classes.

Baby steps. :)