• Chernoff Faces to Display Baseball Managers From 2007 MLB Season

    April 4, 2008  |  Statistical Visualization

    Check out this lovely use of Chernoff Faces by Steve Wang of Swarthmore College. This method of visualization was developed by none other than mathematician-statistician-physicist Herman Chernoff in 1973. These faces were designed on the premise that people could easily understand facial expressions. With that in mind, Chernoff used facial characteristics to represent multivariate data.

    If you like, you can make your own Chernoff faces with this R library.

  • 21 (Eco)Visualizations for Energy Consumption Awareness

    April 3, 2008  |  Visualization

    Energy consumption grows more and more concern, and with the popularity of Mr. Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, just about everyone is at the very least, semi-aware of energy consumption. These 21 visualizations and designs were created to increase that awareness, so that maybe, a few more people will turn off the light when they leave a room. I think Peter Crabb said it best (which I borrowed from Tiffany Holmes' ecoviz paper):

    [P]eople do not use energy; they use devices and products. How devices and products are designed determines how we use them, which in turn determines rates of energy depletion.

    Here they are - 21 dashboards, ambient devices, games, and calculators. Continue Reading

  • Your Notes, Snapshots, and Memories Accessible From Everywhere – Evernote

    April 2, 2008  |  Online Applications

    I just signed up for an EverNote account, which lets you store all of your notes online from all of your devices - tablet, paper, mobile phone, laptop, PDA.
    Continue Reading

  • World Internet City-to-City Connections and Density Maps

    April 1, 2008  |  Data Sources, Mapping

    Chris Harrison put together a series of Internet maps that show how cities are interconnected by router configuration. Similar to Aaron Koblin's Flight Patterns, Chris chose to map only the data, which makes an image that looks a lot like strands of silk stretched from city to city. With these maps, viewers gain a sense of connectivity in the world - and as expected the U.S. and Europe are a lot brighter than the rest.
    Continue Reading

  • Greatest Data Visualization of All Time

    April 1, 2008  |  Miscellaneous

    Let me introduce you to the greatest data visualization of all time. FlowingData readers, greatest data visualization of all time. Greatest data visualization of all time, FlowingData readers. It will blow your mind and affect you to your very core. I haven't felt this way since 1987 when I first started to walk.

    ...and OF COURSE the YouTube embed isn't working, so I guess the link will have to suffice. Ladies and gentleman, be prepared to get up and dance. Here is the greatest visualization that you will ever see. You can thank me in the comments.

  • Winner of the Edward Tufte Book is…

    March 31, 2008  |  Contests

    Congratulations, Cody, the winner of a brand new copy of The Visual Display of Quantitative Information!

    Thank You Everyone

    Thank you to everyone who left comments and participated in this celebratory contest over the past ten days and for all of the congratulatory wishes. I read every single comment and it only confirms my belief that FlowingData readers are awesome. My favorite discussions were those around the Google API and the redesign of Dolores Labs color cloud. I was also amused by the introduction of the term statcore by Dibyo.

    I had a lot of fun running this contest, and really felt like there was this excitement revolving around data. That makes me happy. I hope that now, even though there's no prize up for grabs, that all of you will continue to leave comments and add to the conversation. Interacting with all of you is one of my favorite parts about FlowingData.

    Also, thanks a lot to Andrew, Kaiser, and Tony for helping me promote the contest.

    More Contests Ahead

    On that note, seeing how this contest was so successful, you should look forward to more contests ahead. I'm thinking end of April. Maybe Tufte's second book? Or maybe a movie. I don't know, what do you guys think should be the prize for the next FlowingData contest?

    Thanks again, everyone. Here's to the start of a good week.

    P.S. Don't forget to tell your friends! We're still working towards 5,000.

  • What Interests Do Your Facebook Friends Have in Common?

    March 31, 2008  |  Network Visualization

    Nexus, by Ivan Kozik, lets you explore your Facebook social network and find out what your friends have in common. Nexus kind of caught me off guard, because it actually does a decent job of showing you commonalities. I was expecting something like Friend Wheel or Friends Density, which are Facebook bling more than anything else.
    Continue Reading

  • Upgraded to WordPress 2.5 – Hopefully All Went Well

    March 31, 2008  |  Announcements

    I just upgraded to WordPress 2.5. I've been due for an upgrade for quite some time now, but I kept putting it off due to fear. The upgrade took about 10 minutes and everything seems to have gone smoothly (other than losing the functionality of my popular post plugin). If you see any weirdness or catch any bugs, please let me know. Thanks!

  • Warning: Nerdy Waters Ahead – Baby Got Stats and Too Logit

    March 29, 2008  |  Miscellaneous

    John Hopkins BiostatThis just might be nerdy statistics overload even for me. A group from the John Hopkins biostatistics department has created parodies of Sir Mix-A-Lot's Baby Got Back and MC Hammer's Too Legit To Quit. For your listening pleasure - Baby Got Stats and Too Logit.

    The songs are in MP3 format, so you can put them on your iPod and play them over and over and over again. One play-through was enough for me, but clearly, it's only a matter of time before this biostat group hits main stream.

    [via Freakonomics]

    Update: Here's the video version for your viewing pleasure.

  • Translating Data Into Information that Changes Us

    March 28, 2008  |  Statistics

    Wondering what statistics is for? This is what.

    Data are a whole lot of meaningful patterns. We can generate data indefinitely, we can exchange data forever... we can store data, retrieve data and file them away. All this is great fun and maybe useful, maybe lucrative, but we have to ask why. The purpose is regulation and that means translating data into information. Information is what changes us. My purpose is to effect change - to impart information.

    Platform for Change by Stafford Beer

  • Last Chance to Win Tufte’s Visual Display of Quantitative Information

    March 27, 2008  |  Announcements

    A quick reminder - there's just three more days to put in your contest entry to win Edward Tufte's Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Leave a comment on any FlowingData post after March 19 to this Sunday March 30. I'll announce the winner on March 31. Good luck!

    Here's the original contest announcement for those who missed it.

  • A Little Bit of Design Goes a Long Way With Infographics

    March 27, 2008  |  Data Art, Design

    If I've learned anything about designing information graphics, it's that attention to detail and small changes make a mediocre graphic into a really useful and usually more attractive one. It's what sets New York Times graphics apart from those in other publications and especially those in academic papers. Something like a short annotation can add context or a line shifted slightly to the left can make data look less cluttered.
    Continue Reading

  • Position Available for Professor of Statistics at UCLA

    March 26, 2008  |  News

    While we're on the topic of what you plan to do with your PhD in statistics - UCLA department of statistics recently announced that it is looking for a new professor.

    Applications and nominations are invited for the position of Professor of Statistics, any level (tenure-track Assistant Professor, tenured Associate Professor or tenured Full Professor), in the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Los Angeles.

    The position targets candidates with high quality research, a strong teaching record, and with expertise preferably in one or more of the following areas: Environmental Statistics, Social Statistics, and Spatial Statistics. Qualified candidates must have a Ph.D. in Statistics or Biostatistics. The position is effective July 1, 2009.

    UCLA department of statistics is one of the best stat programs in the country with a talented faculty and really cool students. Albeit, I might be a little biased, but still. If you're interested, go for it; or if you know anyone who might be qualified, do them a solid and forward them the information.

  • What Are You Going to Do With Your PhD in Statistics?

    March 26, 2008  |  Statistics

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

    Statistics graduate students at Columbia University are hosting a symposium on careers for PhDs in statistics.

    Current confirmed speakers include industry statisticians at Google, AT&T Labs-Research, National Institutes of Health, and Pfizer, Inc and academic statisticians from statistics, marketing, and biostatistics departments at Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers University.

    The Symposium will be held at Columbia University in New York on April 4, 2008 from 1-5pm. A wine and hors d'oeuvre reception will follow so that there will be ample time to chat informally with our guests, and a student mixer after that is also in the works.

    The conference is free and they're offering a $40 travel reimbursement for students who would like to attend. Consider going if you're in the area. It should be interesting. Here's the online registration.

    If anyone actually does end up going, let me know. I'd love for you to share your experience here. For the current and future stat PhDs or masters students, what are you doing or planning to do with your degree? Other than framing it, I'm still searching for my answer.

    [via Statistical Modeling]

  • Facebook Security Upgrade Rendered Useless – Private Photos Leaked

    March 25, 2008  |  Online Applications

    Leaky Faucet

    Just when you thought it was safe to upload those photos from that wild Friday night to Facebook, this happens:

    A security lapse made it possible for unwelcome strangers to peruse personal photos posted on Facebook Inc.'s popular online hangout, circumventing a recent upgrade to the Web site's privacy controls.

    The dumbest part is how easy it has been all this time to find private photos. All it took was a modified URL with a photo ID to "hack" into Paris Hilton, Mark Zuckerberg, or anyone else's private albums. I don't know the whole story, but given Facebook's excellent reputation, you'd think that they would know better. The security hole has been plugged for now, and I am sure the Facebook group is working hard to make sure there are no other leaky areas.

    This leak probably couldn't have been more poorly timed for Facebook with the release of their new security measures as well as MySpace's not so distant and a bit too familiar photo breach.

    This really makes you wonder - what's next?

    Photo by Meredith Farmer

    [via ReadWriteWeb]

  • Data is Going to Change How and Where You Drive – Dash GPS Navigation

    March 24, 2008  |  Statistics

    map

    Dash, an Internet-connected GPS device, is going to change the way you drive by making use of traffic data. Where does the data come from? Well, that's the best part.
    Continue Reading

  • Save the Space Time Continuum – Do Not Exceed 88 Miles Per Hour

    March 22, 2008  |  Miscellaneous

    energy

    Billions of watts are wasted every year including 1955, 1985, and 2015. Be kind to the environment and keep your speed under 88 miles per hour. The space-time continuum appreciates it.

    Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads.

  • Is the New Google Visualization API Going to Limit Our Data Imagination?

    March 21, 2008  |  Statistical Visualization

    Google recently released a visualization API that allows you to share embeddable visualization on your website, create Google Gadgets that can be shared and reused, and create extensions for existing Google products. Andrew asks, "Will this shape the future of data visualization online?"

    On one side, this is exciting for the visualization field, because when Google talks, everyone listens. On the opposing side, could this be another Google Maps type of thing? Google Maps was cool at first, but now, mashup after mashup has left me bored and disillusioned. Ultimately though, I like to think that this API is going to benefit all of us.

    What the API Offers

    There's a slew of charts, graphs, gidgets, and gadgets available that you'll see in the gallery.

    Time Series

    I'm sure this Google Finance-looking graph will make a lot of people happy.

    Time Series

    Gauges

    These are, um, interesting.

    Guages

    Maps

    We've seen this before, but the difference here is that it's now in widget form, which means a hook into Google Docs and other apps.

    Maps

    How We Will Benefit

    If Google visualization becomes popular, visualization, in general, grows in popularity. People who weren't exposed will now know more, and if all goes according to plan, data awareness has a chance to develop.

    As an example, Google Maps made online mapping what it is now - commonplace. Remember when online mapping was only limited to the big boys? Now everyone can mashup to their heart's content. People know how to use it and similar mapping applications and because of that, more "idea people" ask for mapping. As a result there is more opportunity.

    Similarly, with the data viz API, we'll see data mashups outside of the map. Data visualization will no longer just be for the big boys, but at the same time, we'll still be able to make our own designs with a wider audience ready to experiment and play.

    Good or Bad?

    What do you think? Is the Google visualization API going to limit our imagination where we get stuck in a Google-ish funk; or is data and visualization awareness ready to rise to a point where we all benefit?

  • First Annual Applied Statistics Center Art Contest

    March 20, 2008  |  Contests

    Speaking of contests, the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University is holding their first annual art contest.
    Continue Reading

  • Win a Copy of The Visual Display of Quantitative Information By Edward Tufte

    March 20, 2008  |  Contests

    FlowingData reached a long awaited milestone yesterday - 1,000+ subscribers. Thank you to everyone who has subscribed, commented on, and linked to FlowingData. To extend my thanks, I'm running a (very easy) contest to win Edward Tufte's milestone book - The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.

    Reaching 1,000 Subscribers

    I started FlowingData ten months ago not really knowing what to do with it. My new hosting plan came with a free domain, so I thought, hey, FlowingData. One month in, I started this blog to convince people that statistics was more than their least favorite class in college.

    Since then, it has been my goal to reach 1,000 subscribers. It has been my goal to find 1,000 people interested in data or get them interested in it. This happened yesterday. FlowingData now has 1,025 subscribers - thanks to all of you!

    How to Win Visual Display

    So now I'm going to make it really easy for you to win a copy of Edward Tufte's Visual Display. All you have to do is leave a comment on any new post (this one included) during the next 10 days. On March 31, I'll randomly select a winner. The more comments you leave, the higher the chances are of winning.

    The comment should add to the conversation, and trackbacks and pingbacks don't count. That's it. If you have a valid mailing address that Amazon can deliver to, you can win. Oh, and make sure you leave a valid email address so that I can contact you when you win. Good luck and again, thank you, everyone.

    Next Step: 5,000 Subscribers

    Let's get more people talking about data and visualization and find those who already are. I know that there are hundreds of thousands of people we haven't reached yet. If you could take a few seconds to email one friend about FlowingData, I will super appreciate it.

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