• Network of shared flavors

    August 23, 2013  |  Network Visualization

    Flavor network

    Jan Willem Tulp, for this month's Scientific American food issue, recreated the flavor network described by Yong-Yeol Ahn, et al.

    Julia Child famously said that fat carries flavor, but perhaps instead we should give thanks to 4-methylpentanoic acid. Unique combinations of such chemical compounds give foods their characteristic flavors. Science-minded chefs have gone so far as to suggest that seemingly incongruous ingredients—chocolate and blue cheese, for example—will taste great together as long as they have enough flavor compounds in common. Scientists recently put this hypothesis to the test by creating a flavor map, a variant of which we have reproduced here.

    The original by Yong-Yeol Ahn et al was a more traditional network graph. Foods with more similar flavor compounds were closer together. In contrast, Tulp categorizes points in vertical columns by their food group and are placed based on number of shared compounds with other foods.

    It's spaghetti at first, but give it some mental time and filter with the interaction. Start from the top at roasted beef and work your way down.

  • Learn to make animated information graphics

    August 22, 2013  |  Infographics

    Graham Roberts, a graphics and multimedia editor at The New York Times, is teaching an online class on how to make animated information graphics and design storyboards. It's a chance to learn from one of the best. Plus, the first 30 people who use the code "YAUDATA" get 50 percent off, which is a steal.

  • Where non-English language is spoken in the US

    August 20, 2013  |  Mapping

    Common language

    Dan Keating and Darla Cameron for the Washington Post mapped commonly used languages in the US household.

    More than a quarter of counties in the United States have at least one in 10 households where English is not the language spoken at home. Spanish is, by far, the most common language other than English spoken in the home, especially on the West Coast, in the Southwest, the Eastern urban corridor and other big cities. Native American languages are also common in the West, as is French around New Orleans and in some counties in the Northeast. German is a common language in some Midwestern and Western areas.

    Be sure to pay attention to the legend in this one. I bet a lot of people read this map as the most commonly spoken languages by county and thought Spanish is about to become the national language.

  • Map shows illegal activity in San Francisco Chinatown, from 1885

    August 19, 2013  |  Mapping

    Chinatown

    From the David Rumsey map collection, the detailed map of San Francisco Chinatown shows areas of known illicit activity.

    In 1885, at the height of the anti-Chinese hysteria in California, the official Report of the Special Committee of the Board of Supervisors was issued, reporting on the "Condition of the Chinese Quarter and the Chinese in San Francisco." This inflammatory report included the rare folding color map of Chinatown, but in the usual "small-scale" version (approx. 8½x19½ inches). This map was also issued in the San Francisco Municipal Report of 1884-85, and in Farwell's The Chinese at Home and Abroad (see our 5807.000).

    The faded red color indicates gambling houses, green for Chinese prostitution, yellow for opium resorts, and blue for white prostitution. [via Mapping the Nation]

  • Extensive timelines of slang for genitalia

    August 16, 2013  |  Infographics

    Euphemisms

    The title says it all. Jonathon Green, a slang lexicographer, has two new timelines. The first is an interactive timeline that shows slang for male genitalia going all the way back to the 1300s up to present. Colors and shapes represent different parts.
    Continue Reading

  • Beach Boys vocals visualized

    August 14, 2013  |  Data Art

    Alexander Chen visualized "You Still Believe in Me" by the Beach Boys.

    This is a visualization of Beach Boys vocals inspired by the physics of church bells. Using a mathematical relationship between a the circumference of a circular surface and pitch, I wrote code that draws a circle for each note of the song.

  • Seeking a career in visualization

    August 13, 2013  |  Visualization

    Some readers asked about career choices in visualization recently, and I was about to write a response until I remembered I already did in 2008. A few group names changed and examples in some areas are easier to come by, but most of it is still valid.

    You still find a lot of jobs in journalism, business-related analytics, at design studios, research labs (academic and industry), and freelance. It seems like there are more opportunities now than there were then. There are also a lot more tech-related jobs now. In 2008, Twitter hadn't quite hit mainstream yet and most parents weren't on Facebook, whereas now, web companies sit on more data than they can interpret.

    There are visualization jobs pretty much wherever there is data. Which is practically everywhere.

    That said, there's also more competition for these jobs, and high school science fair Microsoft Excel experience probably won't be enough to get you the job you want.

    So one more important addition to the 2008 post: Learn statistics. It still surprises me how little statistics visualization people know (generally speaking of course). Look at job listings though, and most employers list it in the required skill set, so it's a big plus for you hiring-wise.

  • Listening to Zen-like Wikipedia edits

    August 12, 2013  |  Data Art

    Listen to Wikipedia

    It's easy to think of online activity as a whirlwind of chatter and battles for loudest voice, because, well, a lot of it is that. We saw it just recently with the burst of emojis and what happens in just one second online. But maybe that's because people tend to present the bits that way. Stephen LaPorte and Mahmoud Hashemi approached it differently in Listen to Wikipedia.

    The project is an abstract visualization and sonification of the Wikipedia feed for recent changes, which includes additions, deletions, and new users. Bells, strings, and a rich tone represent the activities, respectively. Unlike other projects that attempt to hit you with an overwhelmed feeling, Listen oddly provides a calm. I left the tab open in the background for half an hour.

    Listen is open source.

  • Racial dot map

    August 12, 2013  |  Mapping

    Racial dot map

    Dustin Cable, a demographer at the University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, added another dimension to Brandon Martin-Anderson population map. The racial dot map by Cable draws a dot for each person in the United States based on the 2010 census and colors by ethnicity.

    This map is an American snapshot; it provides an accessible visualization of geographic distribution, population density, and racial diversity of the American people in every neighborhood in the entire country. The map displays 308,745,538 dots, one for each person residing in the United States at the location they were counted during the 2010 Census. Each dot is color-coded by the individual's race and ethnicity. The map is presented in both black and white and full color versions. In the color version, each dot is color-coded by race.

    It's like a dottier version of the maps by The New York Times back in 2010. Or the originals by Bill Rankin who drew a dot for every 25 people.

    Keep in mind this is all based on freely available data from the National Historical Geographic Information System. They have data that goes back to 1790.

  • A second on the Internet

    August 9, 2013  |  Infographics

    Every second online

    In a straightforward view of online activity, Designly shows the approximate number of tweets, likes, votes, and so forth that happen in one second. There's a lot of stuff going on, as you might guess. The tickers for each activity are a nice touch.

  • Size comparison of everything

    August 8, 2013  |  Infographics

    Size comparison of everything

    If you're like me, you often wonder how big the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is relative to Godzilla or how Godzilla compares to King Kong. Wonder no more. Sixteen-year-old deviantART user Lexinator117 compared the size of everything. The giant graphic is a mix of fictional characters and objects with a handful of real-life, like the Statue of Liberty and the Mayflower.

  • Piemaster

    August 7, 2013  |  Ugly Charts

    Gratuitous piesI'm not entirely sure where this came from, but it's from someone who describes himself as "an innovation leader in delivering analytics." Yep. The 3-D. The layering. The piemaster. [via]

  • Pangea with political boundaries

    August 6, 2013  |  Mapping

    pangea_politik

    What would Pangea look like if today's political boundaries were drawn on it? Like this. [via]

  • BreweryMap plans your next beer road trip

    August 1, 2013  |  Mapping

    Brewery road trip

    BreweryMap, a Google Maps mashup and mobile app, provides two main functions. The first is that it tells you where the nearest brewery is so that you'll never go thirsty again. The second and far more important function is that you can punch in two addresses, and BreweryMap tells you all the breweries that are on the way from point A to point B.

    Let your fantasy become a reality. Just make sure to spread out your trips.

  • Breathing Earth

    August 1, 2013  |  Mapping

    BreathingEarthJohn Nelson of IDV Solutions strung together satellite imagery for dramatic animated GIFs.

    Having spent much of my life living near the center of that mitten-shaped peninsula in North America, I have had a consistent seasonal metronome through which I track the years of my life. When I stitch together what can be an impersonal snapshot of an entire planet, all of the sudden I see a thing with a heartbeat. I can track one location throughout a year to compare the annual push and pull of snow and plant life there, while in my periphery I see the oscillating wave of life advancing and retreating, advancing and retreating. And I'm reassured by it.

  • A study of quantified emotion

    July 31, 2013  |  Data Art

    Mike Pelletier experimented with quantified emotion in his piece Parametric Expression. This is what you get when you break facial expressions and mannerisms into bits: part human, part creepy.

    [via Boing Boing]

  • Internet critique as infographic music video

    July 31, 2013  |  Infographics

    I'm not entirely sure how to interpret this music video from Franz Ferdinand, but I'm taking it as a critique on internet culture, with less-than-meaningful charts playing a part. There are lots of colors, geometric shapes, and pictograms flying around the band, with no information attached. I guess that's about right. [Thanks, @augustjoki]

  • Tracking emoji usage on Twitter

    July 30, 2013  |  Visualization

    Emojitracker

    The people I follow on Twitter almost never use emojis, but every now and then I peek into trending topics or tweets near me, and it's a completely different experience. People use emojis. A lot. The emojitracker, a small project by the Rocket Workshop, does exactly what the name says. It keeps track of the emojis people use on Twitter in real-time.

    Warning: The view might cause a seizure.

  • Lessons learned from mapping millions of dots

    July 25, 2013  |  Mapping

    Mapping millions of dots

    Eric Fischer, known around these parts for his dot maps, describes the lessons he learned (along with practical tips) from mapping millions of tweets to be visible on many devices. The views above show what you get when you vary dot size when you zoom in to a dot-filled map.

    The first thing that becomes clear when you start drawing the same dots at different scales is that it doesn't look right if you just scale the dots proportionately as you scale the area. Each time you zoom in on a web map, only a quarter of the area that was visible before is still visible, but if you match that and draw the dots four times as big as you did at the previous zoom level, the image is very crowded and fuzzy by the time you get zoomed in all the way. The Gnip maps instead double the area of the dots for each level you zoom in. Here's what it looks like to zoom in on Times Square with dots that quadruple, double, or don't change size at all with each zoom level.

  • Physics of love

    July 24, 2013  |  Data Art

    Louise Ma, along with Chris Parker and Lola Kalman, started a six-part short video series on what love looks like. Above is the first one. This is part of an ongoing project that Ma started last year, and it's still going strong.

Unless otherwise noted, graphics and words by me are licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC. Contact original authors for everything else.