Putting on the Interdisciplinary Party Hat

(To make a long story short, I've made a tool that let's you make graphs.)

Allow me to propose that there is some inherent value in collaboration between various fields of study. A computer scientist is nothing without someone who can give them a problem to solve. A historian writing for no one but other historians is failing to teach eveyone about the importance of the past. A Doctor who ignores their peers in other fields by refusing to tell them they're drinking dangerous amounts of caffiene may lose their right to practice medicine. All of these people are refusing to wear the interdisciplinary party hat.

The intersection between the various discplines of academia is where the real fun lies and where we really help each other out the most. In this specific case, I have decided to provide a resource to help people better visualize what is happening to America in the Gilded Age. While it is cool to read about something like the US's increasing capacity to produce steel throughout the age, it is hard to grasp the full magnitude of the situation without being able to see it. Unfortunately, excel spreadsheets suck and provide a barrier to making the visual medium of graphs readily availble.

So I went into this thinking I would use my knowledge of programming to make the process of generating graphs like the one on the left easier. As it turns out, I did not having nearly enough knowledge about graphics to do this but after enough hair pulling I made something functional. Not only did I learn a lot, but allows someone with no knowledge of databases or excel to make an image that will allow them to make a more effective historical arguement. It's a win-win in my opinion. So, the next two pages show how to setup and use the Grapher program. After that I'll take it for a spin and show off something cool I found after playing around with the Grapher, something I honestly think I would never have found without it.

Putting on the Interdisciplinary Party Hat