• Music listening preferences by gender

    Last.fm intern Joachim Van Herwegen has a quick look at listening habits by age and gender:

    The sizes of the artists' names indicate how popular they are, while their position shows the gender mix and average age of their listeners. Based on the positions of the larger names, it’s already obvious which age category is most common amongst Last.fm users.

    With age on the horizontal and gender breakdown on the vertical, artists on the bottom left are those popular among young girls. Top right are artists popular among older men. Red Hot Chili Peppers and Radiohead appear to hit the universal sweet spot.

    I wonder how the graphs would vary across services. For example, I've been using Rdio for the past month, and nerd hipster music seems to be the hot theme around those parts. Hit up YouTube though, and everything is Bieberriffic. [Last.fm via Waxy]

  • Poll results: What do you use to analyze and/or visualize data?

    September 28 2010  |  Polls  |  Tags:

    A couple of weeks ago I asked what you all use to analyze and visualize data. Here are the results.

    As of writing this, there were 1,112 responses. Thanks for participating, everyone!
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  • Journalism in the Age of Data

    In the words of Terrell Owens, get your popcorn ready, because this video (below) is awesome. During his Knight Journalism fellowship at Stanford, Geoff McGhee interviewed visualization trendsetters on how they deal and what they do with data in Journalism in the Age of Data:

    Journalists are coping with the rising information flood by borrowing data visualization techniques from computer scientists, researchers and artists. Some newsrooms are already beginning to retool their staffs and systems to prepare for a future in which data becomes a medium. But how do we communicate with data, how can traditional narratives be fused with sophisticated, interactive information displays?

    Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Viègas kick things off with some of the work they did with IBM. Then it's Ben Fry from Fathom, then Jeffrey Heer from Stanford, and then Steve Duenes, Matt Ericson, and Amanda Cox of The New York Times. Later on, there's some Nicholas Felton on his Feltron Report and Eric Rodenbeck of Stamen, with several others.
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  • Why I blog

    I answered a few questions for Amstat News not too long ago, and the questions were centered around why I, as a stat grad student, take the time to write for FlowingData and why others should give blogging a try. The questions were more from a career standpoint, but it really all comes down to this. It's fun.
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  • Who gets what if tax cuts are extended

    There are some major tax decisions to be made soon, and they'll affect you differently, depending on what bracket you're in. Bill Marsh of The New York Times takes a stab at showing the differences. The American population is put into context with a hypothetical population of 1,000. For example, if America was a population of 1,000 people, 125 of them would make less than $10,000. Piles of Benjamins shows average size of the 2011 tax cuts.

    We saw the same tax topic explored by The Washington Post, except their's was interactive and showed costs with Obama's proposed plan. Which one works better? My vote is for NYT. It takes up a lot more space, but it's much more straightforward and to the point.

    [New York Times via Cool Infographics]

  • Augmented reality atlas

    The mockup examples are more cool factor than useful in this augmented reality book by Mark Lukas, but I'm sure an extra dimension could be of use somehow. I'm just not quite sure how yet. Watch the demo below.
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  • your.flowingdata Users: Help Wanted. Five minutes of your time

    As many of you know, your.flowingdata, an application to help you collect data about yourself via Twitter, has been running for a while now. Some of you have been using it regularly; while others have stopped by every now and then. Whether you are frequent or infrequent user, we would like your help in understanding which visualization tools work best and to analyze your usage to help us improve the system.

    Your participation in the study will only take about 5 minutes of your time. It will involve taking a brief survey to answer 8 questions.

    If you are interested in participating, please click on the link below to log in to your.flowingdata and then click on the study invite link at top of the page to get started. Thank you for your interest!

    If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at [email protected]

    Log in to your.flowingdata

  • Expense visualizer

    In an effort to make Canadian government expense data more accessible, FFunction designed the Expense Visualizer. A slider on top lets you filter by time, and small graphs show spending by different departments. Rearrange panels as you wish, and select among several scaling options as absolute values or relative. Bookmark your custom views or send them to others.

    It took two years to make, but I'm pretty sure most of that time was waiting for all the groups to publish their data since the implementation itself is fairly straightforward.

    A vertical axis probably would've been useful to see the values more easily. Or even better, a display of values as you rollover the graphs (like this).

    [Thanks, Sébastien]

  • Europe geographically stereotyped

    We tend to see the world in different ways, depending on what part of the world we live in. If you've never been to California, you probably associate it with Hollywood and surfers. If you've never been to the midwest, you think corn and potatoes. Of course, these regions have much more going for them and are a far more varied. Still, the stereotypes are amusing. I couldn't help but chuckle when an old roommate came from Washington to Los Angeles and thought he was going to see movie stars on every block. Boy, was he surprised. It was only every other block.

    Graphic designer Yanko Tsvetkov takes such notions of Europe in his series of stereotype maps, which themselves are stereotypes of stereotypes. The above is how the US sees Europe.
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  • History of the Blitz bombings

    In September 1940, Nazi Germany began bombing London for 76 consecutive nights in what is now known as The Blitz. There was tons of destruction obviously, but you'd never know it looking at the streets in current day. Historypin, which launched a few months back, places this important history in their most recent collection. Old pictures are pinned on top of a Google Maps street view so that you can see the destruction of the past and what the street looks like now.
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  • Tune in live to Data Visualization and Infographics meetup

    The NY Data Visualization and Infographics meetup is about to start, and you can tune in to the livecast below. It's 4:20pm PST right now, so they'll probably be starting soon. They've got a good speaking lineup, so it should be interesting.
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  • Bore hole for Chilean miners

    As most of you know, there are 33 Chilean miners trapped 2,230 feet underground. That's about two Eifel Towers, and it's going to be a few months before they're rescued. In the meantime, the necessities of life are being sent down to the miners through a 3-inch bore hole. This simple graphic/cutout from Newsweek provide some perspective. [Newsweek]

  • Race and ethnicity mapped by block

    Instead of breaking up demographics by defined boundaries, Bill Rankin uses dots to show the more subtle changes across neighborhoods in a map of Chicago using block-specific data US Census.

    Any city-dweller knows that most neighborhoods don't have stark boundaries. Yet on maps, neighborhoods are almost always drawn as perfectly bounded areas, miniature territorial states of ethnicity or class. This is especially true for Chicago, where the delimitation of Chicago's official “community areas” in the 1920s was one of the hallmarks of the famous Chicago School of urban sociology.

    Each dot represents 25 people of the map color's corresponding ethnicity.

    Eric Fischer, who has made a map or two, takes the next step and applies the same method to forty major cities. Here are the maps for Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York, respectively. Same color-coding applies. You definitely see the separation, but zoom and you much more subtle transitions.
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  • Venn: Your grandfather

    Yeah, you know what day it is. What category do you fall under? [fixedgear via macdiva]

  • FlowingData book in the works

    You read that right. There's going to be a FlowingData book, published by the fine folks at Wiley. With all the books out there about design methods and best type of graph to do this and that, I thought it was time for a guide on how to actually put all that into practice.

    When I first started getting into data graphics, I read all the books I could about good design with data. But when it came time to actually make something, I was lost. I had no clue how to use the software that was available to me. So all that other stuff I read was pretty worthless, just sitting there in my brain. This book will help you with that part.

    Think lots of tutorials that take you from start to finish and teach you not just the what, but also the how.

    More updates to come.

  • Electronic Medical Records by the numbers

    In 2009, legislation mandated that doctors make use of electronic medical records by 2013 to help make the healthcare process run smoother and more efficiently. This information video (below) produced by HonestPancake explains the basics of the why and how. It's also sort of an advertisement for GE Healthcare's Centricity Advance.
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  • History of the Iraq War through Wikipedia edits

    Through high school and sometimes beyond we're taught history as absolute fact. It's in the books so it happened. A lot of it is true, but there are often disagreements, as history can look different depending on your point of view. In The Iraq War: A Historiography of Wikipedia Changelogs, James Bridle places 12,000 changes and almost 7,000 pages for the corresponding Wikipedia entry in book form. Sometimes history isn't so straightforward. [booktwo]

  • The state of mapping APIs

    O'Reilly Radar surveys the state of mapping APIs from old sources (like Google) and new ones (like CloudMade). Spoiler alert: there's a lot of opportunity out there.

    Maps took over the web in mid-2005, shortly after the first Where 2.0 conference. They quickly moved from fancy feature to necessary element of any site that contained even a trace of geographic content. Today we're amidst another location and mapping revolution, with mobile making its impact on the web. And with it, we're seeing even more geo services provided by both the old guard and innovative new mapping platforms.

    [O'Reilly Radar]

  • Evolving path of the Mississippi River

    We often think of rivers as following a given path for the course of its life, but really, the path changes over time as the flow cuts into the earth. The water flows through old and new and back again. In 1944, cartographer Harold Fisk mapped the current Mississippi River. It's the white trail. Then Fisk used old geological maps to display old paths. They're the old colored paths. And what you get is this long run of windy, snake-like things. [Twisted History | Thanks, Michael]

  • Where your neighbors commute to and from

    September 14 2010  |  Mapping  |  Tags:

    Some people live in areas where a one-hour commute both ways is common, while others practically live across the street from their workplaces. Engineer slash designer Harry Kao has an interactive look at commuting by zip code:

    In Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), the author states that commute times throughout history have remained steady at roughly a half hour in each direction. Advances in transportation technology (our feet, horses, bicycles, trains, automobiles, flying cars, etc.) allow us to live farther from where we work. This got me thinking about my own commute from Berkeley to San Francisco, how it compares to those of my neighbors, and how commutes vary across the country.

    Using commute data from Census Transportation Planning Package and travel times from the Google Maps API, an interactive map lets you see where people in your area commute to or from. Enter your zip code and explore.
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