Decision MediaWorks

Jobs of Florida’s State Legislators

Many people outside of “the process” do not realize that Florida’s legislature is a part-time body. As most readers of this post will know, Florida’s lawmakers are “citizen legislators” who hold regular jobs outside of the Capitol.

What jobs are typical of legislators? Do professional differences exist between the parties? Does the House or Senate have more lawyers? We scraped data from the Clerk’s manual, categorized the jobs listed by industry, and found some interesting items.

- The top three overall fields represented in the legislature are legal, business and real estate.

- 1 in 4 legislators are lawyers and they account for 32% of Democrats and 23% of Republicans.

- Business people comprise 20% of the Republican Caucus but only 9% of the Democratic Caucus.

- Each party has six members who come from education related fields.

Explore the interactive chart below where you can hover over any area for more info and filter using the drop downs. To see full details (member name, occupation, etc) simply click “Show Data” icon in the mouse over box.

As always, if you like it, please share it.

8 Big Data Terms Every Policymaker Should Know

In the last few years, a long-brewing technology trend has begun to bubble up into the policy-making process at all levels of government. That trend is called “Big Data”, and industry experts expect policymakers will be dealing with the questions it raises over the next decade.

Big Data offers the potential to drastically increase our quality of life (self driving car) but is also raises questions about privacy and security (NSA snooping). The response of policymakers to the questions raised by Big Data technology will have an impact on every American business, from Google to Publix, and every American citizen, from high school students to cancer patients.

The six terms below are a primer on the lingo used in the Big Data discussion.

Data Science: An emerging field that combines statistics, computer science and business analysis to gain insight from data. Google’s chief economist has called data science the sexiest job of the next decade. Florida Poly will offer degrees in data science when it opens next year.

Big Data: A term that describes data sets of massive volume that change rapidly and come from a wide variety of sources. Big data sets are so big that they cannot be maintained on a traditional database and require new methods to process and search. Big data has applications ranging from the self-driving car to decoding the human genome.

Data Mining (Undirected Discovery)*: The methods used to explore big data sets for patterns, trends and relationships between data. A data mining project seeks to find the most compelling relationships in the data as a whole. Organizations use the insights extracted from these data mining activities to improve business functions, discover new trends, or explain the causes behind certain happenings in the business.

Analytics (Directed Discovery)*: Closely related to data mining, however the primary difference is that analytics tend to focus on improving a single business area or answering a specific question. Example: determining what key factors drive sales of a certain product.

Predictive Analytics: Using data to build a mathematical model that forecasts a future event. Example: an airline using data about certain parts to predict when they may be about to fail.

Business Intelligence (BI): A collection of key data sets of known significance to a business or organization. These key data sets are often formatted into charts, graphs and gauges on a “dashboard” for easy reference by decision makers.

Datatization: The increasing trend of everyday activities being digitized and recorded through sensors and WiFi internet connections. It is estimated that more data was created in the last two years than in all of preceding human history. The smart phone is the primary agent of datatization in everyday life.

*There is debate in the data science regarding the exact meanings of the terms “data mining” and “analytics.” Some even suggest ditching the term data mining completely because of its negative connotation. 

Click image to see a larger versionThe Real World of Big DataThe Real World of Big Data via Wikibon Infographics

You Are Not A Savvy College Football Fan Until You Know This

Quick Note: After posting we found a data set that included the 2012-13 season and draft stats. When we updated with these numbers, FSU made a leap to a .55 Pearson’s r. Essentially, FSU was an outlier until last season. 

During the initial round of college football games last weekend, all three of Florida’s major programs won their season openers. As I was in the midst of devouring a salsa-covered chip, a friend announced, in sage-like fashion, that the Gators will “clean up” when the next NFL draft comes around.

Around here we question assumptions with data, and that got me to thinking… I began to wonder…

1) Does a team’s success have an effect on the draft prospects of its players?

2) Are some teams better at converting talented players (draft picks) into wins?

So, I brewed some coffee and dove into the data. I entered the number of draft picks for the Gators, Seminoles and Hurricanes each year in the last ten years and the number of wins in the previous season. I then calculated the Pearson’s r over those years for each team. The Pearson’s r is a convenient little statistical tool that tells us the strength of a relationship between two variables (in this case the number of players drafted and the number of wins). The Pearson’s r may be either positive or negative but will always fall between 0 and 1. In short, the smaller the number, the weaker relationship and the larger the number, the stronger the relationship.

What I found was nothing short of bizarre.

Over the last ten years, the Gators had a moderately strong relationship between wins and draft recruits. The Florida Pearson’s r is .52. The Miami Hurricanes aren’t much different, with a Pearson’s r of .57. This means that when these two teams perform better on the field, their players benefit by having better luck in the NFL draft. But the shocker is Florida State. Their Pearson’s r is .06. This is extremely weak and more or less non-existent. You can see the Pearson’s r comparisons in the graph below.

This lack of a relationship is baffling and means that if the Seminoles perform well, their seniors and juniors are no more likely to be drafted than if the team collapses into a pile of sweat and loses.

For a moment, I suspected this could be explained by the Seminoles’ reputation, so I decided to perform the same calculation on two other historically well performing football teams, the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. This didn’t clear up anything. The Tide had a very strong relationship, with a Pearson’s r of .63. The Fighting Irish had a Pearson’s r of .41. So, the players benefit more from better seasons.

You can check all the data in the interactive table below. If you learned something interesting here today, please share it with your friends.

What Tailgate Town is Most Likely To Get You In A Fender Bender?

It is a pilgrimage for many in Florida. Fans heading back to their college towns for the opening game. The energy, the tailgating and of course, the traffic.

One of the most definitive rivalries in Florida is the one between UF and FSU. For those of you sporting “House Divided” décor we wanted to settle a score. What college town has the worst drivers?

We decided to look at the number of traffic accidents in Alachua and Leon counties and compare them to the state of Florida as a whole to find out if what I’m experiencing is something more than happenstance. The figures in the graph below are the ratio of accidents to population.

We found that in Alachua County, you are 25% more likely to be involved in a crash compared to the rest of Florida. But you are even more likely to be heading to the body shop after a visit to ‘Nole Country. In Leon county you are almost 35% more likely to be in an accident compared with the rest of Florida.

So, according to the data, both schools are excellent at producing terrible drivers, but FSU takes the top ranking.

This post was contributed by Alabama native @mrdanieldean…Roll Tide!