• How Genetics Works

    Posted to Misc. Visualization  |  Tags:

    Simple yet effective. Any questions? [via 9gag | Thanks, Barry]

  • Think like a statistician – without the math

    Posted to Design, Statistics  |  Tags:

    I call myself a statistician, because, well, I'm a statistics graduate student. However, ask me specific questions about hypothesis tests or required sampling size, and my answer probably won't be very good.

    The other day I was trying to think of the last time I did an actual hypothesis test or formal analysis. I couldn't remember. I actually had to dig up old course listings to figure out when it was. It was four years ago during my first year of graduate school. I did well in those courses, and I'm confident I could do that stuff with a quick refresher, but it's a no go off the cuff. It's just not something I do regularly.

    Instead, the most important things I've learned are less formal, but have proven extremely useful when working/playing with data. Here they are in no particular order.
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  • Visualize your Last.fm listening patterns with LastHistory

    Frederik Seiffert provides this nifty tool, LastHistory, to visualize your Last.fm listening history. Mouse over songs and find repeated track sequences. The visualization itself isn't all that useful, but it gets interesting when you hook your calendar and photos in with music. LastHistory lets you replay songs synched with your photos, and your slideshow suddenly gains a new dimension.
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  • Where Bars Trump Grocery Stores

    Posted to Mapping  |  Tags:

    FloatingSheep, a fun geography blog, looks at the beer belly of America. One maps shows total number of bars, but the interesting map is the one above. Red dots represent locations where there are more bars than grocery stores, based on results from the Google Maps API. The Midwest takes their drinking seriously.

    Of course there are plenty of possible explanations for the distribution. Maybe people get all their food from superstores like Walmart in the red dot areas, so there are fewer gigantic stores than there are small local bars.

    Then again, the FloatingSheep guys did their homework and found, according to Census, that the number of drinking places in those red dots are really skewed compare to the average. So it's also possible that area of the country just likes to drink a lot.

    Anyone who lives in the area care to confirm? I expect your comment to be filled with typos and make very little sense. And maybe smell like garbage.

    [Thanks, Michael]

  • The State of the Internet

    Posted to Infographics

    From JESS3 is this video on the state of the internet. It's essentially a barrage of numbers, but it's fun nevertheless and it's got some interesting morsels in there.

  • Data Underload #11 – American Hockey

    Posted to Data Underload
  • Olympic musical – how fractions of second make all the difference

    Posted to Infographics  |  Tags:

    Like everyone, I've been watching the Olympics, and it continues to amaze me how hundredths of a second can make up the difference between a gold medal and nothing at all. Amanda Cox of The New York Times visualizes and audiolizes(?) these tiny differences. She got creative with this one.

    Each row is an event and going from left to right, the first dot is the gold medal winner. The amount of space between the first dot and the dots that follow is how many seconds athletes finished after the winner.

    Visually, this only sort of works, but click on play to hear how these differences sound, and it puts everything in perspective.

    See the rest of NYT interactive Olympic coverage here. You know, just in case NBC coverage doesn't cut it for you.

  • Weekend Fodder

    Posted to Quicklinks

    Snake oil? Scientific evidence for health supplements - Some work as advertised. Others are just a waste of money.

    Cell phones show human movement predictable 93% of the time - Is this really all that surprising? Work, school, home. Rinse and repeat.

    America's Wealthiest Religions - A Good Magazine transparency. Probably didn't need to be circular.

    Measuring Tweets - Twitter is now handling 50 million tweets per day i.e. 600 tweets per second.

  • News Topics as Social Network

    Posted to Network Visualization  |  Tags:

    All news is connected in some way or another. News Dots from Slate shows just that.

    News Dots scans all articles from major publications—about 500 stories a day—and submits them to Calais, a service from Thompson Reuters that automatically "tags" content with all the important keywords: people, places, companies, topics, and so forth. Slate's tool registers any tag that appears at least twice in a story.

    Bubbles are sized by how much the corresponding topic is written about, and connections are made when topics are mentioned in the same article. Click on a topic to see the matching articles in the sidebar.

    How everything is placed I'm not exactly sure. I'm guessing distance represents some abstract measurement of relatedness. You guys have any better guesses?

  • Evolution of Olympic Pictograms

    Posted to Infographics  |  Tags:

    Every Olympics since 1936 has had a series of pictograms (i.e. icons that look like restroom signs) that represents the events. Here are pictograms for the Vancouver games, and here they are for the Beijing Olympics. Some series are distinct while others clearly sucked it up. Designer Steven Heller discusses the evolution of these Olympic pictograms in this video for The New York Times. Which set do you like best?
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  • Challenge: make this graph easier to read

    The Economist discusses the return of big government and includes this graph showing total government spending as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product. We see a dip in 2000 and a big jump this past year.

    The trouble is that the country labels are cluttered. If you read them left to right, you get mixed up initially. Keep your eyes left and move top to bottom, and you might be okay.

    The Challenge

    Can you think of a way to make this graph easier to read? Is there a better way to represent the time series?

    One catch: you have to work within the size limitation of 290 pixels wide and 300 pixels tall. It's an easy fix with unlimited space. But what can you do when space is scarce? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

    P.S. I was looking for the data this graph uses but got tired of using the OECD stat browser, so we'll just have to use our imagination for this one.

    [Thanks, Justin]

    Update: Here's GDP (sans spending) by country from 1995 to 2008 if anyone would like to take a wack [thanks, Kim].

  • An Exploration of Biological Records

    Posted to Statistical Visualization  |  Tags:

    The Natural Science Museum of Barcelona has a growing database of 50,000 records of specimens collected over the past 150 years. Bestiario explores this data in their biodiversity treemap and geographical map.
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  • Spirit of graph and dance is alive

    Posted to Statistics

    A good portion of my time in high school was spent trying to get into college. The rest of the time I was trying to look cool while doing it. Now of course I know better and fully embrace the inner geek. I'll never know what life would've been like had I thrown caution to the wind back then, but I'm guessing it would've been something like this.
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  • Cleaning house.

    Posted to Site News

    I'm transitioning to a new server right now, and let me tell you. Moving three years' worth of files and content is no fun at all. Where's a sysadmin when you need one? I'm also realizing how out-dated some of my software is, so like any move - in the physical world or digital - I'm in the process of upgrading everything. Bear with me. It might be a bumpy ride.

    If you catch something that's a bit off, please do let me know in the comments. I'll really appreciate it. Thanks.

  • Man as Industrial Palace, Animated

    Posted to Misc. Visualization  |  Tags:

    In 1926, Fritz Kahn illustrated man as a working factory in his famous poster, Man as Industrial Palace. Tiny guys in each body system perform their own specific job. A camera man controls the eyes, groups of thinkers sit up top, and the guys at the bottom handle the dirty work.
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  • Sunlight Labs releases mapping framework, ClearMaps

    Posted to Mapping, Software

    Open data is great, but it's useless if you don't know what to do with it. Sunlight Labs, a group focused on using technology to support open government, recently released ClearMaps. It's an Actionscript framework for interactive cartographic visualization.

    In addition to giving designers and developers more control over presentation the project aims to address some of the common technical challenges faced when building interactive, data driven maps for the web. ClearMaps is designed as a lightweight, flexible set of tools for building complex data visualizations. It is a framework not a plug-and-play component (though it could be a starting point for those wishing to make reusable tools).

    It's still in the early stages, but developers will want to check this out I am sure.

    [Thanks, Kevin]

  • Data Underload #10 – Daily Crossword

    Posted to Data Underload
  • Thank you, FlowingData sponsors

    Posted to Sponsors

    A big thank you to FlowingData sponsors. They help keep the blog running and well, let me do what I do here. Check out what these fine groups have to offer. They help you put your data to use.

    Tableau Software – Data exploration and visual analytics in an easy-to-use analysis tool.

    InstantAtlas – Create and present compelling data reports on geographic maps.

    Xcelsius Engage – Create insightful and engaging dashboards from any data source with point-and-click ease.

    Business Intelligence – Visual data analysis made easy. Try 30 days for free.

    Xcelsius Present – Transform spreadsheets into professional, interactive presentations.

    Email me at nathan [at] flowingdata [dot] com for sponsorship details. All spots are currently filled, but you are welcome to put your group's name on the waiting list.

  • OpenStreetMap Edits Towards Haiti Relief

    Posted to Mapping  |  Tags:

    ITO world, who you might remember from a year of OpenStreetMap edits, come back to the map visualization to show the efforts of an impromptu community and Crisis Mappers to produce the most complete and accurate map of Haiti following the earthquake.
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  • How a Giant Shark Took Down an Airplane

    Posted to Infographics  |  Tags:

    This graphic from designer Stephen Taubman is entertaining in so many ways. It is based on the amazing story of Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, one of the greatest movies ever made. I've never seen it, but after you watch the clip below, you'll be running to find a copy.
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