• Emotional dynamics of literary classics

    September 1, 2014  |  Statistics

    Happiness meter for Huck Finn

    As a demonstration of efforts in estimating happiness from language, Hedonometer charts emotion over time for literary classics. The above is the collection of charts for Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.

    I wish I could say this meant something to me, but comparative literature in high school was never my strong suit. From a totally superficial point of view though, the chart in the top left shows happiness metrics — based on the research of Peter Dodds and Chris Danforth — through the entirety of the book. The chart on the right shows a comparison of book sections, which you can select in the first chart.

  • Louisiana is drowning

    August 29, 2014  |  Mapping

    Losing Ground by Propublica

    Louisiana is quickly losing much of its coast to the Gulf of Mexico. ProPublica and The Lens just launched an interactive project that shows you by how much and tells the story of those affected.

    In 50 years, most of southeastern Louisiana not protected by levees will be part of the Gulf of Mexico. The state is losing a football field of land every 48 minutes — 16 square miles a year — due to climate change, drilling and dredging for oil and gas, and levees on the Mississippi River. At risk: Nearly all of the nation's domestic energy supply, much of its seafood production, and millions of homes.

    There is a lot to look at and learn about, but the most telling is when you zoom in to specific regions indicated by squares on the map. Use the timeline that appears at the top of the map to see how the coastline, based on satellite imagery, has diminished since 1932. It's disconcerting.

  • How to make dot density maps

    How to Make Dot Density Maps in R

    Choropleth maps are useful to show values for areas on a map, but they can be limited. In contrast, dot density maps are sometimes better for showing distributions within regions.
  • Interactive tool shows impact of terrorism

    August 28, 2014  |  Infographics

    A World of Terror by Periscopic

    The Global Terrorism Database, maintained by the University of Maryland, is an open source database that catalogs terrorism events since 1970 through 2013. Data visualization firm Periscopic visualized the incident-level data in A World of Terror.

    There are over 3,065 organizations and groups listed in the GTD. To identify the top 25 organizations who used terrorist tactics, we determined the groups with the most killings, the most wounded, and the most incidents. We wanted to make sure we were inclusive of all actions, including those that neither wounded nor killed. We aggregated these 3 lists and took the top 25 organizations (most were in the top 30 for all 3 categories). These top 0.8% of groups account for over 26% of the 125,087 incidents.

    The midsection of each group shows number of incidents by month and year. The darker the brown, the more incidents on record. Then on the top and bottom shows number of people killed in red and wounded in orange, respectively. Finally, click on the map in the top left for more information about the organization.

    Spend some time with this one. Periscopic shows a lot without it ever feeling like too much.

  • Graph-based video game

    August 27, 2014  |  Data Art

    Last year, Metrico, an infographic-based puzzle game for the PlayStation Vita, was announced for future release. It's out now.

    I must've been in a pissy mood from too many spam-fographics in my suggestions inbox last year, because I brushed this game off for whateversville (and seemed upset about it). Metrico totally seems like a game I would like though. You essentially navigate a 3-D world of graphs, and the terrain changes based on your own actions and button pushes. Just don't use the game design as an idea bucket for your next slide deck. [via Wired]

  • Face tracking coupled with projection mapping

    August 26, 2014  |  Data Art

    Projection mapping — the use of projected images onto physical objects to turn them into something else — continues to grow more impressive. Nobumichi Asai and team combined it with face tracking to completely change a person's face to someone and something else.

    Slightly creepy. Super fascinating. [via Boing Boing]

  • Finding small villages in big cities

    August 25, 2014  |  Statistical Visualization

    Urban Village

    Daily life in cities tends to differ from daily life in small towns, especially by who we interact with. The MIT Senseable City Lab and the Santa Fe Institute studied this social aspect — individuals' contacts by city size — through anonymized mobile phone logs. As expected, those in cities with greater populations tended to have more contacts. However, when the researchers looked at who knew who, the results were more constant.

    Surprisingly, however, group clustering (the odds that your friends mutually know one another) does not change with city size. It seems that even in large cities we tend to build tightly knit communities, or 'villages,' around ourselves. There is an important difference, though: if in a real village our connections might simply be defined by proximity, in a large city we can elect a community based on any number of factors, from affinity to interest to sexual preference.

    Read the full paper for more details.

  • Introvert’s heart mapped

    August 22, 2014  |  Mapping

    Introvert's heart

    Cartoonist Gemma Correll mapped the introvert's heart, from recluse corner to the town of online ordering. Seems about right.

    It's also available in print, so that you can decorate your cave.

  • Mapping plastic in the ocean

    August 21, 2014  |  Mapping

    In research efforts to understand marine debris, Andres Cozar CabaƱas et al recently published findings on plastic debris in the open ocean. National Geographic and geographer Jamie Hawk mapped the data.

    Extent of ocean plastic

  • Track your sleep with Sense

    August 21, 2014  |  Self-surveillance

    Sense

    Entering the market of self-surveillance for sleep, via Kickstarter, Sense promises to be a smarter tracker that you don't have to wear.
    Continue Reading

  • Feltron Annual Report 2013

    August 21, 2014  |  Self-surveillance

    Feltron annual report

    In his ninth edition of the personal report, Nicholas Felton looks at communication through his phone, email, Facebook, and physical mail.

    Also, don't miss the short video from the New York Times. Felton is half-jokingly asked if he's obsessive compulsive which always amuses me.

    It reminds me of when I asked someone about her pedometer, and she gladly talked about how she logged her steps every day for nearly a decade. Days with a lot of steps reminded her of trips or long walks. So naturally, I brought up my dissertation work on personal data collection. I thought she would be totally into it, but she was skeptical. She wondered why anyone would want to collect data on their location, computer usage, or sleep habits. And again, this was right after she told me about her decade of step logs.

    There's a disconnect.

    Actively looking at your data seems to cross you over to the obsessive side. I haven't quite figured it out yet, but the separation between the active and passive seems to be getting fuzzier. Maybe one day there'll be a guy in an interview who doesn't collect data about himself, and everyone is curious why.

  • When the world sleeps

    August 20, 2014  |  Statistical Visualization

    Jawbone Sleep

    An additional hour of sleep can make a huge difference in how you feel the next day (especially when you have kids). It's the ability to concentrate for long periods of time versus the ability to stare at a clock until your next break. I got the Jawbone UP24 band to try to improve on that, and I still wear it every night to better understand my sleep habits.

    So, it only seems natural for Jawbone to look closer at how people sleep as a whole in a couple of interactive graphics. Select your city to see how people sleep in your neck of the woods.

    Every now and then we see a set of graphics that shows America's sleep habits, based on data from the American Time Use Survey. The Jawbone data is likely more accurate though, which makes it more interesting. The former depends on survey participants' memories and doesn't factor out things like reading in bed. The latter is actual sleep.

  • Everywhere Jonny Cash went, man

    August 20, 2014  |  Mapping

    Everywhere

    Johnny Cash says he went to a lot of places in his song, "I've Been Everywhere." Iain Mullan had some fun with the location list for Music Hack Day London and mapped each place as the song plays.

    Also related to songs and location: where Ludacris claimed to have hoes.

  • Unintentional Venn diagram suggests opposite meaning

    August 19, 2014  |  Mistaken Data

    Unintentional Venn Diagram

    Most people probably wouldn't think much about this poster that shows the values of Thomson Reuters. But when you think of the graphic as a Venn diagram, it's hard to see much else.

  • Not automatic

    August 19, 2014  |  Statistics

    It's an absolute myth that you can send an algorithm over raw data and have insights pop up.

    — Jeffrey Heer in For Big-Data Scientists, 'Janitor Work' Is Key Hurdle to Insights by Steve Lohr

  • Crisis Text Line releases trends and data

    August 19, 2014  |  Data Sources

    Crisis Trends

    Crisis Text Line is a service that troubled teens can use to find help with suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, and other issues via text messaging. The long-term hope was to anonymize and encode these text messages so that researchers and policy-makers could better understand something typically kept private to the individuals.

    Following through, the organization recently released a look into their data and a sample of encoded messages. (There's a link to download the data at the bottom of the page.)

    The visual part of the release shows when text messages typically come in, and you can subset by issue, state, and days. It could use some work, but it's a good start. Hopefully they keep working on it and release more data as the set grows. It could potentially do a lot of good.

  • Talking Ferguson on Twitter and localness

    August 18, 2014  |  Mapping

    Ferguson tweets

    For trending topics, Twitter likes to show an animated map of how a lot of people talked about something at once. They pushed one out for Ferguson tweets. Naturally, the map looks a lot like population density. So instead, Eric Huntley aggregated and normalized for a more useful view.

    Ultimately, despite the centrality of social media to the protests and our ability to come together and reflect on the social problems at the root of Michael Brown's shooting, these maps, and the kind of data used to create them, can't tell us much about the deep-seated issues that have led to the killing of yet another unarmed young black man in our country [5]. And they almost certainly won't change anyone's mind about racism in America. They can, instead, help us to better understand how these events have been reflected on social media, and how even purportedly global news stories are always connected to particular places in specific ways.

    You won't find answers to the more important questions on Twitter.

  • Map of military surplus distribution

    August 17, 2014  |  Mapping

    Spreadof military's surplus

    With the situation in Ferguson, the New York Times mapped the distribution of military surplus through Defense Department program. Equipment, especially assault rifles, have gone to most parts of the United States.

  • FuelBand Fibers visualizes daily activities beautifully

    August 15, 2014  |  Data Art

    Running fibers

    Leading up to a Nike women's 10k run, design studio Variable made FuelBand Fibers, an artistic interpretation of a week of activity from seven individuals.

    To celebrate effort of preparing for the run Nike has chosen 7 influential runners equipped with FuelBands. Up to the minute Nike Fuel data was then collected 24/7 and delivered to Variable to tranform into beautiful artworks. This is how Fibers were born. 7 digital fibers growing when the person is working out, one for each day of training, stylized uniquely for the given runner.

    So each fiber represents a day, each essentially a timeline from bottom to top. Thickness represents activity, and colors represent times when a person led in the FuelBand community. The results: organic.

    See more details on what the visuals show and how it was made on the project page.

    Reminds me of Universal Everything, which also focused on individuals' movements. [via Creative Applications]

  • How charity: water uses data to do more good

    August 15, 2014  |  Statistics

    Water map

    Scott Harrison, the founder and CEO of charity: water, describes how the organization uses data to improve what they do, both on the ground and internally.

    The first is program data, which is the information we collect on the water programs and projects we fund in 22 countries around the world. The second is data on our donors and supporters — for example, how much time or money they've given, which projects or aspects of our work they are most interested in and how they interact with our website. And finally, we collect internal data on our work in order to increase our effectiveness and efficiency as an organization.

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