The Ukrainian Data Egg: To Be Revealed!

We have some excellent swag for the Utah Data Dive but perhaps the most interesting will be a custom, handmade, data-themed Ukrainian Easter Egg by Lehi artist Rynna Poulson (here she is on Etsy). We figure it will be a simple variation on all those other Ukrainian data eggs… oh, wait, it’s a category of one. This will be available as a raffle prize on Saturday afternoon – as it is still being created – but it should be wonderful. Photos will be posted upon arrival.

While we’re at it, the Utah Data Dive is getting a standard chicken egg, but Rynna has offered to create a Ukrainian Big Data Egg… on an ostrich egg, of course. Contact Rynna via her Etsy page, Ukrainian Eggs Etc. A must have for any serious data egg-head! (You knew that was coming.)

The Democratization of Distraction: The Utah Data Dive Collaborative Playlist

You too can contribute to people not quite being able to pay attention to the data at hand by contributing the The Utah Data Dive Collaborative Playlist on Spotify. Music that is more or less maybe related to something data-like is welcome, as well as anything that helps you get your data on.

Official Utah Data Dive Theme Song

In lieu of doing something truly useful for the upcoming Utah Data Dive – although I did get the tables, power, and wifi arranged this morning, which is good – I have chosen an official Theme Song for the event. I’m not actually going to tell you what it is but I will let you know that it’s in a one-song playlist on Spotify and you can get to it here. (I believe you have to have a Spotify account to hear it, but I really don’t know how these things work. And, to head off any complaints about Spotify exploiting artists, I will mention that I have FIVE paid accounts to Spotify, so I’ve paid my part. You should, too.)

By the way, I’m also in the process of creating a public playlist for data dive songs that other Spotify users can add to. Get your geek on!

Enjoy and I’ll see you this weekend!


The beat to the still-incognito Official Utah Data Dive Theme Song was liberally borrowed from its creators and made popular in the US by Afrika Bambaataa in his song “Planet Rock.” This poster by Rob Ricketts is a depiction of the programming for the Roland TR-808 drum machine that creates the beat. It’s also an excellent visualization of musical data.

Planet Rock - Afrika Bambaataa - 808 Pattern 1

More food, more swag

I felt very optimistic when I decided that maybe 50 people would come to the Utah Data Dive, so that’s what I wrote the grant for. But now we’re still over two weeks away and we have nearly 60 people registered, with perhaps another 40 who will show up without registering. As a result, we have had to do some financial gymnastics but we’re going to make sure to have food and t-shirts for 100 people! (And silly raffle prizes!) So don’t hesitate to come down!

From the Hill Pedagogy Lab

My wonderful colleague Jessi Hill and superstar undergraduate collaborator David Anderson have posted a great entry about the Utah Data Dive on her site Hill Pedagogy Lab. Here’s an excerpt:

What is a Data Dive?

Sadly, it has nothing to do with Star Trek or scuba diving. Rather, a data dive is a type of service project that helps local non-profit organizations understand and use their data. Data can be very helpful in making important decisions, but most people at these organizations don’t know how to work with data. The data that organizations have is so large that it requires special skills to work with, or the data might be in a strange format that isn’t conducive to the standard row and column spread sheet.

Many non-profits find that they fall in the latter of the two categories of this predicament. The data dive provides a solution to these problems. We simply put a whole bunch of nerds in a room with computers and food for 48 hours and they analyze, interpreter, and visualize the data. Now I know what you’re thinking “I don’t have any special skills to work with big data, and I hated my statistics course”. You still have a few different options on how to help out.

So take a look at the full article. Hopefully that will get you all fired up and we’ll see you at the end of March!

We’re scheduled and advertising!

After a few starts and stops due to room availability, the Utah Data Dive is now officially scheduled and invitations are going out. (It turned out that I was not able to get one room for two days anywhere on campus. Nor, for that matter, could I find one anywhere in Utah County that cost less than a $1000, when the budget for space was exactly $0.)

The important information, as shown on the front page, is this:

  • Location: Utah Valley University, 800 W. University Parkway, Orem UT 84058 [interactive map]
  • Friday, 27 March 2015: 9am – 7pm in room 206 of the Sorensen Student Center [complimentary breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and drinks]
  • Saturday, 28 March 2015: 9am – 4pm in room 101 of the Liberal Arts Building [complimentary breakfast, lunch, snacks, and drinks]

We’re still working on a number of other details but it’s all under way! And, given the difficulty in getting the space, we’ve already started looking at the schedules for fall of 2015 and spring of 2016 for the next iteration of this event, which may or may not be at Utah Valley University. If you’re interested in having it at your school, please let me know! Email Bart at

Taking It on the Road

Two of my fabulous UVU students – David Anderson and Tanner Nackos – who attended the A2 Data Dive with me back in November of 2013, have been giving presentations about the Utah Data Dive (as well as the UVU Data Lab) at several conferences.

  • Nackos, Tanner D., Anderson, David J., Nuesmeyer, Kristen C., & Poulson, Barton (2014, April). Data Dives as Engaged Research and Learning: A Retrospective and Prospective Report. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Rocky Mountain Psychology Association, Salt Lake City, UT.
  • Nackos, Tanner D., Anderson, David J., & Poulson, Barton (2014, March). The UVU Data Lab and the Utah Data Dive: Applied data science for the social sciences. Paper presented at the annual Scholarship of Teaching and Engagement (SoTE) Conference at Utah Valley University, Orem, UT.
  • Anderson, David J., Nackos, Tanner D., & Poulson, Barton (2014, February). Bringing data science to the social sciences: The UVU Data Lab. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research, Provo, UT.

(By the way, Kristen Nuesmeyer, who is listed on the top reference, is one of the academic advisors for our department and an enthusiastic supporter of the project, as well.)

Funding Received!

Woo hoo! I just found out that we received a grant to put together the spring 2015 edition of the Utah Data Dive! Many, many thanks to Office of Engaged Learning at Utah Valley University, which awarded Russell Warne and me a Grant for Engaged Learning for the project. Now we’ll have lots of free food and swag for anyone who shows up to help! (If you’re interested, you can see the text of the grant application here.)