In the August issue of Wired are the New Rules for Highly Evolved Humans. On the cover is a picture of Brad Pitt wearing a bluetooth headset. Rule number 52 reads: "Ditch the headset. He can barely pull it off â€“ and you're not him." Clearly these are confusing times, but you're in luck, because Wired has mapped out how you should properly deal with this new way of living. Stick to the new rules and the media diet above (by Jason Lee) and you're good as gold.
Mentorn Media and Cimex Media, on behalf of BBC, explore crime patterns in Oxford over time. In a map, that I am happy to see is not a Google mashup, select different kinds of crime (e.g. violent crime, burglary & theft), or if you live in the area, compare different neighborhoods by postcode. The interactive also provides three animations for a week in crime - street violence, street robbery, and rowdy behavior - complemented by narration and explanation.
One thing I'm not so sure about is the color scale. I think I would have gone with a yellow to red progression and left out the green since green usually means something positive. I'm also not sure what 'high' and 'low' levels of crime actually means in numbers. What do you think?
Remember those choose your own adventure books that you used to read as a kid? As you read through the book, you come to these points where you have to make a decision for the main character, and depending on what you chose, a tailored adventure would divulge itself. It always seemed like death was a common ending no matter what path you chose though.
That somehow seems wrong, no? I liken it to something like... even in your own fantasy, you die or end with an unfavorable outcome. Such is life, I suppose.
View the full-size version here [PDF].
From Shan Carter, Amanda Cox, Kevin Quealy, and Amy Schoenfeld of The New York Times is this new interactive stacked time series on how different groups in America spend their day. The data itself comes from the American Time Use Survey. The interactive has a similar feel to Martin Wattenberg's Baby Name Voyager, but it has the NYT pizazz that we've all come to know and love.
We all know this already, but it's nice to get some backing from The New York Times every now and then. In this NYT article, that I'm sure has spread to every statistician's email inbox by now, Steve Lohr describes the dead sexy that is statistics:
The rising stature of statisticians, who can earn $125,000 at top companies in their first year after getting a doctorate, is a byproduct of the recent explosion of digital data. In field after field, computing and the Web are creating new realms of data to explore sensor signals, surveillance tapes, social network chatter, public records and more. And the digital data surge only promises to accelerate, rising fivefold by 2012, according to a projection by IDC, a research firm.
I've got about one more year (hopefully) until I finish graduate school. Hmm, things are looking up, yeah? Of course, it's never been about the money. The profession of statistician didn't nearly seem so hot when I started school. The best news here is that us data folk are going to get paid for doing what we enjoy, and as time goes on there's only going to be more data to play with, and we're going to be in high demand:
Yet data is merely the raw material of knowledge. "We're rapidly entering a world where everything can be monitored and measured," said Erik Brynjolfsson, an economist and director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Digital Business. "But the big problem is going to be the ability of humans to use, analyze and make sense of the data."
Wait, but it's not just statisticians who can interpret data:
Though at the fore, statisticians are only a small part of an army of experts using modern statistical techniques for data analysis. Computing and numerical skills, experts say, matter far more than degrees. So the new data sleuths come from backgrounds like economics, computer science and mathematics.
Like a... data scientist? Excellent.
It's been about three weeks since I announced the new version of your.flowingdata (YFD), and I'm pleased with how things have progressed. We've seen over 21,000 data points tweeted by all of you. Very cool.
People are tracking lots of different aspects of their lives including diet, bodily functions, and bad habits. Someone is tracking their child's new words while another is recording who he meets up with. Some have written scripts to automate their data logging. It's beautiful, really. Tear.
This is of course still the beginning though. There are a lot of things in the works and many features planned. I've got a long to-do list.
In this first set of updates we've got:
- Public and Private Custom Data Pages
- Detailed help section
Share Your Data with Custom Pages
Your data is still private, but now you can share some of it with others with custom pages. The way it works is you have access to modules that you can organize the way you want on your page. Make the page public and then share the URL.
I've created a health page (above) for myself. Other users have made pages for caloric consumption, reading, t-shirt colors, glucose levels, morale and productivity, and drug intake among plenty of other stuff.
Another benefit of custom pages, other than sharing, is that they let you create custom views into your data that you can check in on with a single click. You can make your pages private too.
I think reminders might be the most requested feature from new YFD users. Well, here you go. Data logging takes a little bit of getting used to in the beginning, so you can set reminders for yourself. Set the number of days you're allowed to go without tweeting any data. If you pass the threshold, YFD will send (DM) you a friendly reminder.
Finally, I've put together more help on how to use your.flowingdata, namely a searchable FAQ. I based a lot of the new help docs on questions and feedback you guys asked and left in the forums. Hopefully, it makes things much more clear.
Get Started Now
If you're interested in recording your life in data, it's easy to get started with YFD:
- Follow @yfd on Twitter
- Sign in to your.flowingdata with Twitter
- Start recording data following the directions in the quick start guide.
(Hopefully Twitter has recovered from the denial-of-service attack by the time this post goes up.)
As usual, all comments and questions are welcome below or in the your.flowingdata forum.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) keeps an archive of what British citizens have consumed over the years. The Times Online, in collaboration with designer Marcin Ignac, visualizes this data in their recent interactive. Consumption is by grams with a percentage breakdown up top with the donut chart, and a weekly average (for each year) on the bottom. The donut chart updates when you scroll over a bar in the time series chart. Very nice work I think. What do you think?
The Sartorialist is a unique fashion blog that highlights people's hot styles on the street. I'm pretty sure there's very little overlap with its readers and FlowingData's, but maybe I'm wrong. The above infographic shows how you can get shot by the Sartorialist. I'm all over it.
Similar to other visualizations showing location (e.g. Cabspotting, Britain From Above), this one from Australia-based data visualization group, Flink Labs, shows the ebb and flow of Melbourne trains over the course of a single weekday using the Melbourne train schedule as the data.
There's a lot of talking in congressional meetings, but what are your state senators and representatives talking about? Design group Periscopic explores what congress men and women said from 2007 to 2008 in this tongue-in-cheek comparison tool with talking heads. The best part about the tool is that behind the humor is actually something useful.
Compare word distributions of senators, of states, of a senator to a state, or representatives, so on and so forth. We get breakdowns by gender, number of words spoken, and by state. All data come from public records.
Beautiful Data from O'Reilly is now available! The book is a collection of articles from 39 data practitioners including Michal Migurski, Aaron Koblin, Jeff Heer, and plenty others, sharing their experiences with data, their methods, their thoughts, and most importantly, how beautiful data really is.
I was fortunate enough to write one of the chapters: Seeing Your Life in Data. I describe my experiences developing for the Personal Environmental Impact Report and the beginnings of your.flowingdata. I'm looking forward to reading all of the other contributions.
Two Free Copies to Give Away
Lucky for you I have two free e-book copies to give away. Want to win one of them? Leave a comment below by the end of today - July 31, 11:59 EST. Let's go with your favorite food this week. One entry per person please. Good luck.
P.S. If you're not one of the two winners, don't fret. Use the following discount code on the O'Reilly site for a 30% discount: ABF09.
This graphic from SF Gate is a good four years old, well before I knew what an infographic was, but just because it's old doesn't mean it's not interesting. Here we see San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and the "sad tally" of 1,218 known suicides by location. Each black square represents a person who has taken his or her life and 128 light poles are used as reference points.
The east side of the bridge, where most of the suicides occurred, has a pedestrian walkway. The first suicide was just 10 weeks after the bridge opened in 1937.
From Gabriel Dance, Tom Jackson, and Aaron Pilhofer of the New York Times is this game to gauge your distraction while you're texting on the road. Yes. It's fun AND educational. Here's how it works.
You're in a car with a driver's point of view. You're driving on a freeway or road with a ridiculous number of gates. There are six of them, and as you approach the gates, one will open, and you have select that open gate by pressing the right number. After a few seconds of practice, you'll receive a text message on the screen that asks a question. You have to reply while still selecting the correct gates as they pass.
It's Friday! I don't know about you, but I'm ready for the weekend, and what better way to start with some free stuff? I have five free e-book copies of Beginning Python Visualization to give away.
I reviewed this book last month, and I thought it was really useful. In fact, I still have it in arm's reach on my desk.
How to Win a Copy
As usual, I'll make this really easy. All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me why I should give you a copy. Make up a reason if you like. I could use a good laugh. Do this by 11:59pm EST today (Friday, July 24), and I'll select five random winners. Good luck!
Thanks to Jessica Hagy and her Indexed project, we've seen lots of graphs and venn diagrams to communicate ideas outside of data. Some are bad and others are good. Here's one of the good ones. Bud Caddell shows what it takes to make the perfect business, or more generally, just about everyone's dream - to get paid for what you're good at and love to do. Get the poster version of the graphic here.
Taking another step towards data transparency, the US government provides the IT dashboard via USAspending.gov:
The IT Dashboard provides the public with an online window into the details of Federal information technology investments and provides users with the ability to track the progress of investments over time. The IT Dashboard displays data received from agency reports to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), including general information on over 7,000 Federal IT investments and detailed data for nearly 800 of those investments that agencies classify as "major." The performance data used to track the 800 major IT investments is based on milestone information displayed in agency reports to OMB called "Exhibit 300s." Agency CIOs are responsible for evaluating and updating select data on a monthly basis, which is accomplished through interfaces provided on the website.