• Make This Sitcom Map More Informative

    April 2, 2009  |  Mapping

    This map from Dan Meth displays popular sitcoms by where they took place. It's a comic and totally amusing, so there's no need to pick it apart, but let's imagine for a second that it's an infographic. What could we do to make this graphic more informative? How do we turn this comic into a more useful map? Discuss amongst yourselves.

    [Thanks, Eric]

  • Data.

    April 1, 2009  |  Miscellaneous

    Dear reader,

    After much thought and arguments with myself, I've decided to quit data. It's been almost two years writing for FlowingData and almost four years as a statistics graduate student, and data never stops. I think I know what postal employees feel like. Every day is just more and more data. Gimme more. Everyone wants more - but to what end? There's too much of it. Sometimes I just want to curl up in the fetal position in the corner of my office and cry.

    Why do we need data anyways? It just makes life more complicated, and educated decisions are overrated. Guesswork is underrated. So - and it pains me to say this - I've decided to quit FlowingData and graduate school. I will be joining a traveling entertainment troupe that eats paper. I just need one of those sticks with the back on the end of it. You know, like the ones that they show on TV... with the hobos. Forget it, I can't remember. I'll just get a garbage bag.

    I hope you all understand. Like I said, I've given this a lot of thought, and this is really the best thing to do at this point of my life. Visualization, design, statistics, or computer science will never be able to handle all the data that are to come, so it's best I part ways now before it's too late. Keep an eye out for my paper-eating entertainment troupe. We don't have a name yet... and it's really just me, not so much a group. I also don't have any paper, or actually, I do have a few post-it notes. No, that won't be enough. Maybe I can be the used-napkin-eating person guy thing. I dunno. Well - keep an eye out. It will be the show to watch. Thanks everyone for reading and all of your support. Please do sign the guest book to stay up to date on the paper-eating napkin-eating troupe.

    All the best,
    Nathan

    UPDATE: Just to be clear - happy april 1 :)

  • Phrase Net Shows the Secret Life of Words

    April 1, 2009  |  Network Visualization

    Many Eyes, the social data analysis site, released another visualization tool - Phrase Nets:

    When you read a book it can feel as if you’re encountering a series of hidden networks–characters who talk to each other, ideas that relate to each other. Our new visualization, the Phrase Net, is designed to bring some of these networks to light.

    Upload a body of text and choose connecting words like and or the and the Phrase Net provides a network of words that shows these connections.
    Continue Reading

  • New York Times Shines at International Infographics Awards

    March 31, 2009  |  Infographics

    The infographics and news design blogs have been buzzing the past few days with the announcement of this year's Malofiej awards, which is essentially the awards ceremony for graphics in the news. There were winners from many papers around the world, but as you might expect, The New York Times shined brightest. The Times took home the Peter Sullivan Award (best in show) for Ebb and Flow at the Box Office (above) as well as the Miguel Urabayen Award (best map) for the Electoral Explorer (below).
    Continue Reading

  • Facebook: On the Road to 200 million Users

    March 31, 2009  |  Infographics

    As we learned last week, Facebook has been growing worldwide ever since it began as a private network at Harvard in 2003. From 2004 to early 2006, the Facebook user base was all students, but ever since Facebook opened up to anyone with an email address the social networking site has been attracting an older crowd too. The fastest-growing group is now people over 35. This graphic from Lee Byron of the Facebook data team shows this worldwide growth along with interactions among an example user's network.

    [Thanks, Casey]

  • FlowingData Projects is Now Live, Plus New Growth Map

    March 30, 2009  |  Announcements

    I finally got around to putting all the FlowingData projects together. As many of you know, I like to post my own experiments once in a while (a few that I forgot that I had even done), but I never had them all together; now you can find them all in one place. I also moved some stuff around so that everything is more unified. Lastly, there's a new growth map up, alongside Target and Walmart, for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

  • Legal Drinking Age Around the World

    March 27, 2009  |  Mapping

    While we're on the topic of beer (it is Friday after all), let's take a look at legal drinking age around the world. Greenland - no age limit. Probably gotta drink to stay warm, eh? Have a nice weekend, everyone. Be kind to your liver.

    [Thanks, Jason]

  • Where Can You Find America’s Best Beer?

    March 27, 2009  |  Mapping

    beer-medal-map

    Mike Wirth maps medal winners from the Great American Beer Festival from 1987 to 2007. I'm not surprised that California has won so many medals, because, well it's a big state, but check out Colorado and Wisconsin. There must be some good beer there. Although, it's hard to make any real judgment based just on medals. Coors and Budweiser have each won seven medals. Really? To each his own, I guess.

    [Thanks, Mike]

  • Check In on the State of the Economy

    March 26, 2009  |  Infographics

    This interesting chart from Russel Investments shows the current state of the economy and what it typically is according to seven key indicators such as credit risk, corporate debt, and market volatility. The blue bars provide a "typical" range, and the orange pointers show the current values. Above each orange pointer is an arrow that indicates whether we're trending towards or away from the typical.

    So for example, corporate debt is much higher than usual and it's trending towards typical. Mortgage delinquencies, however, are trending away from the typical. Scary. The chart is updated once a month. Hopefully all those arrows are pointing towards blue soon.

    [Thanks, Max]

  • Explore Multiple Time Series in Third Dimension

    March 25, 2009  |  Statistical Visualization

    Roland Lößlein, a media student at University of Applied Sciences in Augsburg, presents meteorological time series data in 3-D in a class project called Synoptic. Rotate and zoom in and out on the different time lines, select different metrics, and compare against the corresponding time series on the bottom. After a few minutes of playing with it, I'm still trying to decide whether or not it's useful, but I think it's more of an experience than it is an analytical tool. It's almost like exploring a map, but instead of rolling hills, you get dips and peaks in a chart. Interaction is smooth and the visualization scores well in aesthetics.

    [Thanks, Roland]

  • Taking a Look at Facebook Statistics from All Facebook

    March 24, 2009  |  Data Sources

    facebook

    Facebook started as a spinoff of Hot or Not in 2003. Now Facebook is the world's biggest online social network. It's certainly come a long way with millions of users around the world, the opening of the Facebook Platform, and quite possibly a personal data gold mine. All Facebook, the unofficial Facebook resource, provides news, and more importantly, data on growth, demographics, pages, and applications. A lot of it is locked behind a not so pretty widget, but interesting nevertheless. The above graphic is a look at some of that data.

    [Thanks, @mobiletek]

  • Little Red Riding Hood, the Animated Infographic Story

    March 23, 2009  |  Infographics

    Tomas Nilsson, a graphic design student from Linköping University, tells the story of Little Red Riding Hood with animated infographics. The video (below) was inspired by Röyksopp's Remind Me and has that ever so familiar European electronica music moving things along. Covering topics from grandma's nutritional value to the aerodynamics of the traveling bus, the video is very tongue in cheek and totally worth the three minutes of your life.
    Continue Reading

  • AIG Bailout: Where $173 billion Went

    March 20, 2009  |  Infographics

    Nicolas Rapp and Damiko Morris of Associated Press delve into the AIG bailout. Six months ago, AIG received $173 billion from the government. They have about $50 billion left while the rest has gone to bonds, securities, credit default swap, and some other stuff. I wonder where the other $50 billion will go.

    [Thanks, Nicolas]

  • Data Visualization is Only Part of the Answer to Big Data

    March 20, 2009  |  Design, Exploratory Data Analysis

    How can we now cope with a large amount of data and still do a thorough job of analysis so that we don't miss the Nobel Prize?

    — Bill Cleveland, Getting Past the Pie Chart, SEED Magazine, 2.18.2009

    For the past year, I've been slowly drifting off my statistical roots - more interested in design and aesthetics than in whether or not a particular graphic works or the more numeric tools at my disposal. I've always had more fun experimenting on a bunch different things rather than really knuckling down on a particular problem. This works for a lot of things - like online musings - but you miss a lot of the important technical points in the process, so I've been (slowly) working my way back to the analytical side of the river.
    Continue Reading

  • Social Weather Mapping From Google Chrome Experiment

    March 19, 2009  |  Mapping, Software

    In the promotion of its speedy javascript, Google announces the Chrome Experiment. As part of the Experiment, design group Use All Five give us Small Talk, which is a social weather map that uses tweets that contain terms like rainy and sunny. Circles are sized by number of tweets, and tweets are colored by dominant weather tweet, so what you get right now is very blue on the east and sort of orange in the west. Oh how I long for the sun.

    The cool thing about this (and the other projects from Chrome Experiment) is that it's implemented in javascript.

    Pan and zoom...

    Click on the bubbles...

    Yes, javascript just keeps getting faster and more impressive. It's no longer just a way to show dynamic status messages and popups. It's much more than that. Javascript is becoming a viable visualization solution.

    [Thanks, Levi]

  • Bus Bench is an Infographic of Guilt

    March 18, 2009  |  Infographics

    Bench of Guilt

    I've given a few talks on my work with self-surveillance, and there is almost always someone who asks, "What if someone doesn't want to know about _____?" Fill in the blank with weight, health, pollution, or whatever. I usually respond with something like, "Then self-surveillance is probably not for them, and they can continue living in denial." Maybe instead we should just force everyone to bite the bullet and face the facts. That's what the above bus stop ad for FitnessFirst seems to be going for. When someone sits on the bus bench, the ad shows the the person's weight on a big LED. Not only is it looking straight at that person, but it's also up there for everyone else to see. I wish I could get a tape that showed people's reactions.

    [via directdaily via kottke]

  • FlowingData NCAA Tournament Bracket – Try and Beat Me

    March 17, 2009  |  Contests

    I just started the FlowingData NCAA tournament bracket. Join now. Try and beat me if you can.

    The great thing about the tournament is that that you're gonna hear tons and tons of statistics on what players have done, who's favored to win, and who is without a doubt going to lose. Throw a huge dose of raw, human emotion and competitive spirit, and without a doubt, a lot of the data will mean absolutely nothing. I love it.

    To make things interesting, to the winner goes a $20 Amazon gift certificate. If I win, nobody gets anything. Muauahahaha. Go on. I dare you. Join now and make your picks. Hurry though, because there's only a couple of days left.

  • One Song Sang By 2,088 Voices – Mechanical Turk Rendition

    March 17, 2009  |  Data Art

    Aaron Koblin and Daniel Massey team up to give us Bicycle Built for Two Thousand, an Amazon Mechanical Turk rendition of Bicycle Built for Two. They used custom software written in Processing to record 2,088 voices. Put together all those random voices, and you get this:

    For 6 cents, turkers were asked to imitate a sound bite and were not told why they were doing so. What they were actually singing was a note from "Daisy Bell," originally written by Harry Dacre in 1892, or otherwise known as the first song sung by a computer in 1962. The full song is interesting, but it's even more amusing listening to the individual (dorky) voices singing the separate notes. Ehhhhh... wahhhh... eeeeeee... haha.

    [via infosthetics]

  • Review: Data Flow, Visualizing Information in Graphic Design

    March 16, 2009  |  Data Art, Reviews

    Data Flow: Visualizing Information in Graphic Design isn't an Edward Tufte book. It's not an instruction manual nor is it a guide to analytical and statistical graphics. Rather, Data Flow is a showcase of visualization and infographics with a hard focus on aesthetics and form.
    Continue Reading

  • Do You Want to Learn How to Make Statistical Graphics?

    March 14, 2009  |  News

    If you're interested in learning how to use R for statistical graphics or tools like GGobi for exploratory data analysis, check out this workshop in Washington, DC during the end of July right before the annual Joint Statistical Meetings. The workshop's called Looking at Data.

    Graphics are a fundamental part of data analysis, used in initial data inspection and exploration, model building and checking and also communicating information. In this course we will teach the basics of static graphics and move on to the new developments in direct manipulation and dynamic graphics that facilitate exploratory data analysis. The methods taught are readily available in open source software, enabling all participants to reproduce, extend and use them with their own data after the workshop.

    This workshop will be focused on the analytical side of things (after all, three statisticians are running it) with static graphics on day 1 and dynamic graphics on day 2, so if you're interested in learning graphics for analysis, this should be fun.

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