show and tell for hackers in DC.

Round 25: Percival's Pernicious Parsnips

13 Oct 2015

Here are the Hackpad presentation notes from Round 25: Percival’s Pernicious Parsnips.

Jonathan Robinson, @jon_m_rob

Trump! Are you Trolling Me?

Jonathan dared to ask the question, when are we are real selves? It turns out that the answer depends on who is asking the question. Jonathan took data from the Pew Research Center – an organization that calls people to get context for various opinions. He found that there were significant mode effects on America’s new GOP sweetheart, Mr. Trump.

He used the HuffPollster API to show that Trump is liked in non-interviews but not as much when there is a real person on the line. This doesn’t show up for Carson or Fiorina. Why are people afraid to admit they like Trump? Super interesting!

Presentation link

HuffPostPollster API

HuffPostPollster Elections Dashboard

Matt Ficke, @mattficke

Instagram searching!

Matt’s a new guy with a new diploma from from General Assembly – turns out his class project was particularly amazing! Matt wrote a simple rails app that takes a location on the map, and get images from the location via the Instagram API. You can now subscribe to a location!

Live Demo on Heroku


Travis Cline, @traviscline

FEC Gooooooooooooooooo

FEC publishes data on campaign, so Travis C. wrote a Go client package API to access the data from Simple and useful! He showed how easy it was to pull a list of all the POTUS candidates.

Side notes for those interested in Go: Go was released in ‘05 by Google. Designed by former Bell Labs researchers. Writes almost expressively as python but doesn’t turn into mush at the end! Free test framework and coverage (and {cpu,block,heap} profiling).

Project page


David Reed, @xDavidReed

Guerrilla government


What is Guerrilla government? He’s glad you asked! It is action of a government agent outside of supervisors wishes but it must be related to job function. Is it looked at as a problem? Should we fire them or promote them? David thinks this is how real shit gets done.

How to be a better guerrilla?

How to incorporate it? Facts on the ground. JUST DO IT, and show it’s easier.

Travis Hoppe, @metasemantic

The sassy spelling bot, the orthographic pedant

Travis H. wanted to spell check the internet…or maybe just Github. To do so he wrote a bot, lovingly nicked named Lars. Lars is an orthographic pedant and has sent thousands of pull requests. Almost 3000 in fact, merging into many huge companies like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Uber, Netflix, AWS, Cloud Foundry, Flipboard, heroku, eBay, and Elastic Search to name a few.


@orthographic-Pedant on github

Unfortunately, Lars died earlier this afternoon when Github shut him down. Long live Lars.

Jouella Fabe, @jmfabe

How are we doing as a nation for registering as an organ donor?

Jouella took the data from a hack she did at a recent Columbia data science event. Do more DMV locations seem to help… nope… it looks like there is no real correlation? Turns out the big changes come from groups that engages the public and public service announcements. Jouella says, “this really needs to be a study… but some organizations don’t have a Facebook account and there aren’t reliable metrics.”

Project page


Kate Rabinowitz, @DataLensDC

DC expenditures

Kate loves data and loves the district. She looked at how DC spends vs other cities. Bureau of Labor and Stats has a crazy level of detail describing everything we spend – including cereal. Why cereal? Who knows, but somebody thinks it’s important!

She plotted eating in vs average expenditure. DC is on the bottom – we don’t like to spend money eating out, dress, or fashion, but we like books and cars. Given the self-centered nature of DC, it seems plausible that all those books are history books about DC itself.

Blog Home

Thanks to everyone who presented, everyone who attended, @metasemantic for the writeup, @tolchocker for the pictures, and of course thanks to our favorite WeWork for hosting!

Round 26: The Curious Camaraderie of Code is already scheduled, so RSVP and sign up to present!