An introduction

This is a semi-public place to dump text too flimsy to even become a blog post. I wouldn't recommend reading it unless you have a lot of time to waste. You'd be better off at my livejournal. I also have another blog, and write most of the French journal summaries at the Eurozine Review.

Why do I clutter up the internet with this stuff at all? Mainly because I'm trying to get into the habit of displaying as much as possible of what I'm doing in public. Also, Blogger is a decent interface for a notebook

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Temperature and clothing: a little project I'll never find time for

I hate hot weather passionately. Or more accurately, lethargically: when the temperature goes above 25, I find myself unable to concentrate on anything.

But now I find myself wondering: what makes people dress down in the heat? Do they choose their clothing based on today's weather, yesterday's weather, or some combination of the two?

Fortunately, we have the data and technology to answer this. I'm not going to implement it (see: lethargy). But here's what I would do, if I had the time/energy -- and perhaps I will when autumn comes and I start to wake up.

Skin-detection algorithms already exist. This is the only freely-available code I could find for the purpose; I haven't tested it.

You'd also need a source of images, tagged by date and location. Flickr will probably give you that, if you choose the right tags to narrow it down to full-body portraits of people. You can get weather information from The US National Weather Service, although it's not clear what historical data is available. Failing that, you could limit photos to a particular group of dates/locations, for which you manually look up the historical weather. Then just assemble the data, and run some regressions.

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