An average life as interpretive dance

Posted to Data Art  |  Tags: , ,  |  Nathan Yau

BuzzFeed used interpretive dance to describe the average age of the milestones in our lives, from birth, losing the first tooth, marriage, and death. The data points serve more as background, as a way to provide a timeline of events, and the dancing is the primary focus.

I found myself drawn to the comments on YouTube. Typically a cesspool of idiocy and more idiocy, the comment section in this case might be a good representation for how a (younger) general audience interprets averages. All of the top comments are basically, “I guess I’m not average” and “There’s no way that’s the average. [Insert comparison to self.]”

This of course is because averages are just that. They’re the sum of all individuals divided by the total population, and average values represent one aspect of a range or distribution of things.

So in the case of these average ages, most people either fall below or above instead of right in the middle.

But I digress.

Favorites

Reviving the Statistical Atlas of the United States with New Data

Due to budget cuts, there is no plan for an updated atlas. So I recreated the original 1870 Atlas using today’s publicly available data.

Famous Movie Quotes as Charts

In celebration of their 100-year anniversary, the American Film Institute selected the 100 most memorable quotes from American cinema, and …

The Best Data Visualization Projects of 2011

I almost didn’t make a best-of list this year, but as I clicked through the year’s post, it was hard …

The Changing American Diet

See what we ate on an average day, for the past several decades.