• Wi-Fi strength revealed in physical space

    August 6, 2014  |  Data Art

    Personal hotspot

    Digital Ethereal is a project that explores wireless, making what's typically invisible visible and tangible. In the piece above, a handheld sensor is used to detect the strength of Wi-Fi signal from a personal hotspot. A person waves the sensor around the area, and long-exposure photography captures the patterns.

    Reminds me of the Immaterials project from a while back, which used a light stick to represent signal strength rather than a signal light.

  • Google Doodle Venn diagram

    August 4, 2014  |  Visualization

    Google Doodle Venn

    In celebration of John Venn's 180th birthday, today's Google Doodle produces a Venn diagram with the two O's in Google's name. Click the play button for a little bit of entertainment.

    For more Venn fun, see also Muppet name etymology, the Venn pie-agram, and what makes a platypus playing a keytar.

  • Cultural history via where notable people died

    August 4, 2014  |  Mapping

    A group of researchers used where "notable individuals" were born and place of death, based on data from Freebase, as a lens into culture history. The video explainer below shows some results:

    From Nature:

    The team used those data to create a movie that starts in 600 bc and ends in 2012. Each person's birth place appears on a map of the world as a blue dot and their death as a red dot. The result is a way to visualize cultural history — as a city becomes more important, more notable people die there.

    Before you jump to too many conclusions, keep in mind where the data comes from. Freebase is kind of like Wikipedia for data, so you get cultural bias towards the United States and Europe. There are fewer data points just about everywhere else.

    Therefore, avoid the inclination to think that such and such city or country looks unimportant, focus on the data that's there and compare to what else is in the vicinity. From this angle, this is interesting stuff. [Science via Nature | Thanks, Mauro]

  • Network visualization game to understand how a disease spreads

    July 31, 2014  |  Network Visualization

    Vax game

    Vax, a game by Ellsworth Campbell and Isaac Bromley, explores how a disease spreads through a network, starting with just one infected person. It's a simple concept that works well.

    When you start the game, you have a network of uninfected people. The more connected a person is, the more chances that person can infect others upon his or her own infection. Your goal is to strategically administer a limited supply of vaccinations and to quarantine people to prevent as many infections as you can.

    Fun and educational. Woo.

  • Explorations of People Movements

    July 30, 2014  |  Mapping

    Running

    In 2010, I surveyed visual explorations of traffic, and it was all about how cars, planes, trains, and ships moved about their respective landscapes. It was implied that the moving things had people in them, but the focus was mostly on the things themselves. Location data was a byproduct of the need of vehicles to get from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible.

    Airplanes floated across the sky. Cabs left ghostly trails in the city. The visualization projects were, and still are, impressive.

    However, around the same time, it was growing more common for people to carry phones with GPS capability and these days, it's commonplace in areas where most people use smartphones. This new data source gave rise to similar but different visualization projects that were more granular.

    We see people. Movements.
    Continue Reading

  • Civilian casualties in Gaza

    July 29, 2014  |  Infographics

    Deaths in Gaza

    Lazaro Gamio and Richard Johnson for the Washington Post cover civilian deaths in the recent Gaza conflict, namely child civilians. Red icons represent children.

    Similar to a previous piece on the death penalty in the United States, the icons provide more focus on individuals while maintaining a zoomed out view of the situation. However, this piece brings an interactive component that shows deaths over time and more information in tooltips on the mouseover.

  • A decade of Yelp review trends

    July 25, 2014  |  Statistical Visualization

    Yelp trends

    Yelp released an amusing tool that lets you see how the use of word in reviews has changed over the site's decade of existence.

    From food trends to popular slang to short-lived beauty fads (Brazilian blowout anyone?), Yelp Trends searches through words used in Yelp reviews to show you what's hot and reveals the trend-setting cities that kicked it all off. Our massive wealth of data and the high quality reviews contributed by the Yelp community are what allow us to surface consumer trends and behavior based on ten years of experiences shared by locals around the world.

    Just type in keywords, select your city, business category, and click the search button to see the changes. For the less used words, the data looks mostly like noise, but there are also some clear trends like in craft beer and chicken and waffles.

  • Senator John Walsh plagiarism, color-coded

    July 25, 2014  |  Infographics

    John Walsh plagiarism

    John Walsh, the U.S. Senator from Montana, is in the news lately for plagiarizing a large portion of his final paper towards his master's degree. The New York Times highlighted the portions that Walsh copied without attribution (red) and the portions he copied with improper attribution (yellow). About a third of the paper was just straight up lifted from others' works, including the final recommendations and conclusion, which is basically the grand finale.

    See also: Visualizing Plagiarism by Gregor Aisch, which shows the plagiarized PhD thesis of Germany's former Minister of Defense.

  • Editing photos as if they were audio files

    July 23, 2014  |  Data Art

    paris-echo

    Masuma Ahuja and Denise Lu for the Washington Post applied a technique called databending to a bunch of photos. The idea is that computer files — even though they represent different things like documents, images, and audio — encode data in one form or another. It's just that sound files encode beats, notes, and rhythms, whereas image files encode hue, saturation, and brightness. So when you treat image files as if they were audio, you get some interesting results.

    See Jamie Boulton's post from a couple of years ago for a detailed description on how to do this yourself with Audacity Effects.

  • Voter approval rates as butt plugs

    July 23, 2014  |  Data Art

    From a couple of years ago, but still relevant, I think. Matthew Epler took candidate approval ratings (again, this is from a little while ago), tossed them in a 3-D program, made the molds to match, and poured in some silicon. Boom. Butt plugs that represent data. It's called Grand Old Party.

    Epler describes his project best:

    Grand Old Party demonstrates that as a people united, our opinion has real volume. When we approve of a candidate, they swell with power. When we deem them unworthy, they are diminished and left hanging in the wind. We guard the gate! It opens and closes at our will. How wide is up to us.

    So true.

  • Misery index based on perceived temperature

    July 22, 2014  |  Mapping

    Misery index

    Late last year, Cameron Beccario made a wind map for earth, inspired by an earlier work by Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg. Beccario has been slowly adding overlays to the piece to show more dimensions of weather data around the world. The most recent overlay is what he calls a Misery Index, which is based on perceived air temperature.

    If you've seen the interactive globe already, it's worth revisiting. Click on the earth label on the bottom left to see the new stuff.

  • Flights around Ukraine

    July 18, 2014  |  Mapping

    Avoiding Ukraine

    The New York Times is covering Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 with a series of maps. The ones above show a sample of recent flights in the area. Some airlines, such as British Airways and Air France show a clear path around Ukraine, whereas others take a more direct route.

  • Geologic map of Mars

    July 18, 2014  |  Mapping

    The USGS released a more detailed geologic map of Mars, not just renderings based on rough models.

    The USGS-led mapping effort reveals that the Martian surface is generally older than previously thought. Three times as much surface area dates to the first major geologic time period - the Early Noachian Epoch - than was previously mapped. This timeframe is the earliest part of the Noachian Period, which ranges from about 4.1 to about 3.7 billion years ago, and was characterized by high rates of meteorite impacts, widespread erosion of the Martian surface and the likely presence of abundant surface water.

    Nice.

  • Spiky betting odds during LeBron James decision

    July 17, 2014  |  Statistical Visualization

    Cleveland betting odds

    LeBron James decided to head back to Cleveland, so naturally the odds that they win the championship went up. Todd Schneider charted the betting odds as the announcement happened to see how much they went up.

    Of course that 10% already had built in some likelihood that James would choose to play for the Cavaliers next season. Before Cleveland was considered a threat to land LeBron, their championship odds were around 2%, so the 10% Cleveland odds immediately before LeBron’s decision perhaps reflected market expectations that LeBron had a 50% chance of choosing Cleveland: 0.5 * 0.18 + 0.5 * 0.02 = 0.1

    Houston, who was expected to pick up Chris Bosh if James went to Cleveland, also saw a spike during the announcement, but the odds quickly came back down once Bosh decided to re-sign with Miami.

  • How much underwear to bring on a trip

    July 16, 2014  |  Statistical Visualization

    Underwear to bring on a trip

    Packing underwear for a short trip is easy. You just pack a pair for each day you're away. However, longer trips require extra planning. Pack a pair for every day, and you get a bag that's too heavy. Pack too few and you have to launder your dirties more often.

    Reed Kennedy and Carrie Smith gave this problem some extra thought, in search for the ideal underwear count, given the number of days you leave. The result is the chart above.

    Simply select your trip length on the top, and then move down to find your ideal underwear count. The numbers inside the grid cells indicate how many times you have to launder. Gold numbers indicate a perfect remainder of zero pairs of clean underwear by the time you get home.

    Note: This chart assumes you do not turn your underwear inside out for another wearing. Not that'd I've ever done that.

    See the full post for further dirty underwear details.

  • Changing World Cup fans

    July 13, 2014  |  Infographics

    World Cup fans

    Shan Carter and Kevin Quealy for the Upshot have a look at sports fandom once again using Facebook usage as a proxy. This time they examined shifting fan support during the World Cup.

    A new analysis by Facebook's data science team analyzed migrations of fan support from one country to another throughout the tournament, stage by stage. It's based partly on the contents of people's posts, which means it is largely a reflection of the views of people who follow the World Cup at least to some degree. In the chart above showing global opinion, Brazil, the U.S. and Mexico have a strong influence on the results, because of their size, Facebook population and high interest in the World Cup.

    Keep in mind World Cup posts for a specific country aren't counted once that team dropped from the tournament. So it's not so much shifting fandom as it is who people rooted for during each round.

    Be sure to check out the whole article to see how fandom shifted by country. (Congrats, Germany.)

  • Mosquitos: The deadliest animal

    July 11, 2014  |  Infographics

    Biggest Killers

    This graphic from the Gates Foundation is from a few months ago, but it was just National Mosquito Control Awareness Week. The small illustrations in this case make the graphic. Although I'm interested in seeing those "wide error margins."

  • FoamTree: Visualize hierarchical data with a lot of groups

    July 10, 2014  |  Statistical Visualization

    For small-ish amounts of hierarchical data, most JavaScript libraries can handle the load. However, it gets tricky when you get into hundreds and thousands of levels and groups. FoamTree is a library that helps you with this problem.

    FoamTree

    It's a Voronoi Treemap, which sure, looks kind of neat, but the nice part is how well it handles large amounts of groups. It's puts off computation and rendering until it's needed, so it cuts down on load and run times. Just check out the Tree of Life demo and select "Homo sapiens" in the ride sidebar to see how it works.

    The library is free to download, but you have to pay a license fee to get rid of the branding.

  • xkcd: Dominant players in chess and basketball

    July 9, 2014  |  Statistical Visualization

    Dominant players by xkcd

    I'm pretty sure xkcd is the only one who gets away with showing player ratings for both basketball and chess players in the same frame, without the y-axis labels. And somehow it seems logical.

  • Birth year and political leanings

    July 8, 2014  |  Statistical Visualization

    How Birth Year Influences Political Views

    A statistical model, from Yair Ghitza of Catalist and Andrew Gelman of Columbia University, estimates when people form their political preferences. The analysis uses presidential approval ratings from Gallup to approximate political events "that estimates when people form their political preferences."

    Amanda Cox for the Upshot demonstrates the model in an interactive. Simply drag the slider to see how the political leanings of you and your birth cohort changed over time. The takeaway: Events between the ages of 18 to 24 are far more influential than those that occur at an older age.

    It seems like the model might apply to a lot of things in life.

Copyright © 2007-2014 FlowingData. All rights reserved. Hosted by Linode.
7ads6x98y