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When the Pope wears red shoes

The manufacturers of designer furniture have discovered a new market: children’s bedrooms. Classic pieces, such as the 1953 Eiermann table frame or the 1955 Arne Jacobsen Series 7 chair, are now available in junior-sized formats. Maison et Objet, the Parisian trade fair for interior decoration, has even dedicated an entire segment to design for children.

At the prestigious Milan Fashion Week leading designers showcased new trends in their collections. That wasn’t always the case in the past. Futuristic material mixes, such as fur with nylon and silk, are one of the season’s top trends.

Red shoes, in contrast, are not exactly a hot item in 2007. But the Pope wears them religiously – pun intended – as part of the liturgical rite. Priests wear different colored vestments – and the Pope even different colored shoes – at different times in the church year when celebrating the liturgy. Red goes with red. Green goes with green. Red has prevailed as the papal shoe color of choice over the years and the Pope continues to wear (dark) red shoes to this very day.

Observations like these are data analysis at its finest. Analysis is about counting, observing trends and identifying frequency or differences between populations (e.g. Pope vs. not Pope). It is usually based on intuitive, implied measurements. Even the Neanderthals were able to exchange information on the approximate size and volume of their prey and then agree on a common plan of action.

Remember this the next time someone complains that examining numbers in depth is boring.