What comes to mind when you hear the words “Experience Economy”?

You might imagine the latest social-media oligarch proselytizing his latest idea to get teenagers to look at cats or babies doing amazing things.

But “Experience Economy” extends far beyond instant gratification and influences. Economics is fundamentally the Economics of Experience, and there is no economy outside the experience economy.

“But wait!” you might say. “I’m an ascetic. I don’t care about experiences. I only eat to sustain my body. I gain neither pleasure nor pain from it.”

At some level, eating is about objective, real-world things; about sustaining the…


The world has two parts: a subjective world that we experience; and an objective world full of information. We cannot say, with certainty, that the latter exist, as we can only experience it through the former. But let’s leave that for later.

What is relevant is experience, and how we communicate experience. Communication consists one sharing an experience with another. There is no guarantee that the experience communicated is identical, but there might be some validation that it is at least similar. When I tell you, “there is a cat on the mat”, you might look at the mat and…


A Tutorial with Python, MatPlotLib and GeoPandas

Consider the following map of Sri Lanka, presenting the results of the 2019 Sri Lankan Presidential Election.

In my previous article, The “Map”, I wrote about two problems with this representation.

  1. It assumes everyone in a polling division voted for one party. For example, 42.45% of valid votes in the Ratmalana Polling Division were for the NDF. However, on the map it is colored maroon.
  2. It gives more sparsely populated polling divisions disproportionately more visual space. For example, some of the most densely populated polling divisions in the Colombo District are barely visible.

I described “progressive coloring” as a solution…


A Solutionist’s Playbook

“Data” has, for some time now, been quite a buzzword. Governments talk about how they want to be “Data-Centric”. Corporates talk about being “Data-Driven”. In both public and private organizations, “Chief Data Officer” or equivalent designations are, at the very least, loudly discussed.

Sadly, while “Data” has featured in much talk, for most people, it has underdelivered. We have all this data, but the problems data promised to solve haven’t gone away; and in many cases, the problems have multiplied.

Hence, it’s not unreasonable to throw one’s arms in the air, be honest, declare that data doesn’t work, and walk…


And how to rescue science

Lies

We all know what lies are. For example, if I toss a coin, and it falls heads, but I tell you,

“the coin landed tails”,

then that is a lie.

Statistics

Many of us also know what statistics are. If I told you,

“There is a 50% chance of the coin landing heads”,

then that is a statistic.

Damn Lies

I couldn’t find a credible definition of “Damn Lies”, so I thought of inventing one myself.

We usually use the word damn “to emphasize or express anger or frustration with someone or something” [2]. More severely, in Christianity, it means “be condemned by…


From pixels to consistent structured information

Humans use computers to solve real-word problems. For example, I (a human) might use my laptop (a computer), to build a model that predicts the number of COVID19 cases in Sri Lanka in the next few weeks (a problem to solve).

In such situations, humans need to supply computers with data that might help find solutions. For example, statistics about COVID19 cases during the past few months (data) might result in a better prediction model (the solution).

By “Processability”, I mean how easily a computer can process the data. The better the processability, the more efficient the processing, and the…


In under 10 minutes

In this tutorial, we will build some graphs that will give a data-driven description of Sri Lanka’s COVID19 situation. End-to-end, it should take you less than 10 minutes.

The data is from two sources:

  1. The COVID-19 Data Repository by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University, which we can access at https://github.com/CSSEGISandData/COVID-19 and in aggregate at https://pomber.github.io/covid19/timeseries.json.
  2. The Health Promotion Bureau of Sri Lanka, which we can access at https://www.hpb.health.gov.lk/api/get-current-statistical.

Part 1: Getting the data

You can either pull the above data yourself. Or we can use my python library, covid19-nuuuwan, which enables convenient data access. To install run,

pip…

A Simple Tutorial

Disclaimer: This article describes a work-in-progress. Please comment on how we might improve the underlying libraries, especially what additional features you would like.

Geo-Spatial Data

The only real barrier to plotting maps of Sri Lanka with Python libraries GeoPandas and MatPlotLib is the difficulty of accessing geographical data for Sri Lanka. I’ve attempted to solve this problem by scraping geographical data from various sources, sharing it on GitHub, and providing a simple python library geo-nuuuwan for conveniently accessing this data.

Begin by installing geo-nuuuwan

pip install geo-nuuuwan

Example 1: Basic Maps

Module geodata in geo (geo-nuuuwan) implements method get_region_geodata, which returns geographical data (as a GeoPandas.GeoDataFrame)…


Redesigning a venerable institution

For most Sri Lankans (and an increasing number of non-Sri Lankans), nothing beats a good Bath (බත්, rice) to quench hunger. And ubiquitous Bath (බත්) Packet (or BP for short), available everywhere, from a humble way-side hawker to the poshest five-start hotel, is a fairly convenient and efficient way to imbibe a Bath into your system.

Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/515380751084218954/

The Problem

However, the venerable BP in particular, and the way we consume rice in general, has a serious downside. When you open a BP, you will notice the mountain of rice. Perhaps 80% or more of its calorific content is from rice, which itself is…


A Notification System

Over a million Sri Lankans have got at least one dose of some CoViD-19 Vaccine. And plans are afoot to vaccinate many more people.

However, the vaccination drive so far, has been marred by complaints and process inefficiencies. Many people, some of them old and infirm, have had to queue in the sun or rain for hours. Many have been turned away after the ordeal, because the centre ran out of shots. Others have missed the opportunity for vaccination because of miscommunication or confusion.

I have a list of PHI and MOH phone numbers, and I have got into the…

Nuwan I. Senaratna

I am a Computer Scientist and Musician by training. A writer with interests in Philosophy, Economics, Technology, Politics, Business, the Arts and Fiction.

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