• Degrees of separation between athletes from different sports

    October 23, 2013  |  Statistics

    You've probably heard of the six degrees of Kevin Bacon. The idea is that you can name any actor and trace back to Kevin Bacon through actors who have worked together. Ben Blatt for Slate applied this idea to sports and put together an interactive that finds the number degrees between athletes. The fun part is that you can enter two athletes from different professional sports: basketball, football, and baseball.

    What's even more remarkable is that it's possible to connect players who didn't even play the same sport. Cross-sport athletes like Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson are exceedingly rare, and some combinations of sports are hardly seen at all. Of these 18 athletes, all but one—Bud Grant—played baseball as one of his two pro careers, proving either that the stars of the diamond are athletic enough to master other sports or that anyone athletic enough to play basketball or football can also handle baseball. Hockey is the opposite, as there has never been a pro hockey player who also played top-level basketball, football, or baseball. As a result, hockey is a closed system. But once you get off the ice, it's possible to link every pro baseball, basketball, and football star.

    I like how it only takes 18 players (well, actually probably fewer) to pull double-time to make this possible. To link Yao Ming (basketball) and Joe Montana (football), it only took six hops, with Mark Hendrickson as a link between basketball and baseball and Deion Sanders as the link between baseball and football.

    Surprising? Kind of, but then again, in 2011, almost all pairs of people on Facebook could be linked with just six hops, too. The barebones interactive is still a lot of fun to play with though if you follow sports.

  • Circular Network Layout

    How to Make an Interactive Network Visualization

    Interactive network visualizations make it easy to rearrange, filter, and explore your connected data. Learn how to make one using D3 and JavaScript.
  • Manuel Lima’s animated talk

    May 23, 2012  |  Network Visualization  |  Kim Rees

    lima

    Wow, Manuel Lima, Senior UX Designer at Bing, got through a world of information in this 11 minute RSA Animate video. He spoke about the topic for which we all know him - networks. Beginning with the tree as a symbol of relationships (e.g., Aristotle's Tree of Knowledge), Manuel then quickly sweeps through many concepts through the centuries to finally land on a modern day approach to relational information, the web or network. As trees are no longer capable of representing the complexities of the modern world, we have to find new ways to visualize these structures or perhaps even find a universal structure. His talk is loaded with beautiful examples of trees and networks.

    If this fast paced animation is above your processing capacity, you can view the more austere real world video of Manuel instead. It has the bonus of an interesting interview with him in the last 6 minutes.

  • Relational ornaments

    May 20, 2012  |  Data Art  |  Kim Rees

    textile visualizattion

    Gundega Strautmane, a Latvian textile artist and designer, visualizes social and physical networks in a show called Relational Ornaments. The networks are created using various sized pins to depict nodes and threads connecting them to show relationships. Bringing visualization into the tactile world lends it a weight not able to be achieved on a computer screen. It allows the viewer to pause, spend time with the information, feel it, sense it in a more holistic way. The placement of pins and threads is imprecise because they are placed by hand giving the work a very natural, organic feel rather than the rigidity of the exact calculations of programming.

    [via The Network Thinkers]

  • Racial divide mapped with spacial rifts

    October 21, 2011  |  Mapping

    Kansas city divided

    Jim Vallandingham maps racial divide in major cities using Mike Bostock's implementation of force-directed maps:

    Data is from the 2010 Census, at the tract level. The links are hidden, but each tract is connected to each of its neighbors. The lengths of these connections encode the disparity between racial make-up between neighboring tracts. So, if a ‘mostly white’ tract is connected to another ‘mostly white’ tract, then the connection is short. If a city had uniform proportions of races in each tract, the map would not move much. However, longer connections occur where there is a sharp change in the proportions of white and black populations between neighboring tracts. These longer connections create rifts in the map and force areas apart, in some ways mimicking the real-world effects of these racial lines.

    Compare Jim's maps with the catalyst — choropleth maps by Salon. Which do you think works better?

    [Visualizing the Racial Divide via @dwtkns]

  • Map of scientific collaboration between researchers

    January 27, 2011  |  Mapping

    Science research collaboration

    In the spirit of the well-circulated Facebook friendship map by Paul Butler, research analyst Olivier Beauchesne at Science-Metrix examines scientific collaboration around the world from 2005 to 2009:

    I was very impressed by the friendship map made by Facebook intern, Paul Buffer [sp] and I realized that I had access to a similar dataset. Instead of a database of friendship data, I had access to a database of scientific collaboration.

    From an extensive database of academic citations:

    I extracted and aggregated scientific collaboration between cities all over the world. For example, if a UCLA researcher published a paper with a colleague at the University of Tokyo, this would create an instance of collaboration between Los Angeles and Tokyo.

    After that, Beauchesne used a similar mapping scheme that Butler used, and behold the results above. The brighter the lines, the more collaborations between a pair of universities.
    Continue Reading

  • Filling in the black holes of the Facebook friendship map

    December 15, 2010  |  Mapping

    Facebook filled

    While it was fun looking at the worldwide connections on Facebook, I thought it was more interesting to look at the places where there were very few connections, where it looked pretty dark on Paul Butler's map. Some commented that was just a product of no people in those areas. Where there's no people, there's obviously no Facebook. This is true in many areas, but not all them.
    Continue Reading

  • Facebook worldwide friendships mapped

    December 13, 2010  |  Mapping

    United States Facebook connections

    As we all know, people all over the world use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family. You meet someone. You friend him or her on Facebook to keep in touch. These friendships began within universities, but today there are friendships that connect countries. Facebook engineering intern Paul Butler visualizes these connections:

    I defined weights for each pair of cities as a function of the Euclidean distance between them and the number of friends between them. Then I plotted lines between the pairs by weight, so that pairs of cities with the most friendships between them were drawn on top of the others. I used a color ramp from black to blue to white, with each line's color depending on its weight. I also transformed some of the lines to wrap around the image, rather than spanning more than halfway around the world.

    In other words, for each pair of countries with a friend in one country and a friend in the other, a line was drawn. The more friends and distance between two countries, the brighter the lines on a black-blue-white color scale. The "stronger" connections were drawn on top, so they are more visually prominent.

    It might remind you of Chris Harrison's maps that show interconnectedness via router configurations.
    Continue Reading

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