Data-ish physical gift things

Dec 9, 2014

Gift-buying season is in full swing, and it’s time to get stuff for your loved ones. But, it has to be tangible, because stuff that occupies space in the physical world is how you tell someone you love him or her by that amount. I know this, because the UPS truck that delivers to my neighborhood had an additional trailer rigged to the back full of it.

Here are some data-ish printed things to show your loved ones that you care. We’re approaching last-minute territory for packages that don’t arrive with an Amazon smiley on the side.

Oldies but goodies, or wellie, oldies from where I come from

First, the things I’ve mentioned in the past two gift guides, like geographic jewelry from Meshu or custom woodcut maps from Woodcut Maps, are still great ideas.

I’m still partial to the playful statistical goodies from Nausicca Distribution. Last year, my wife got our then infant son an “I love statistics” bib (but it was mostly for me).

Distribution pillows

Plus books. Books are always good. Especially this Data Fluency book written by some guys I know.

And you know about the FlowingData shop already, right? Use HOLIDAYS to save.

Vintage Visualizations

Get reprints of charts from the old statistical atlases by the Census Bureau, in poster form. Nothing says I love you like horizontally stacked bar charts from the 19th century.

Vintage visualization

See by Touch

Louise Ma has been charting what love looks like for a couple of years. She now has letterpressed and laser-cut versions of a handful of her pieces. Use the code 15sense to get $15 off your order.

What love looks like print

Motion Exposure

Stephen Orlando provides his long-exposure photographs in printed format.


Arduino Starter Kit

Personally, I’m still playing with my Arduino Starter Kit. Getting data off the computer screen is my new fascination, and this microcontroller has been a fun first step getting there.

Arduino starter kit


Where People Run in Major Cities

There are many exercise apps that allow you to keep …

Life expectancy changes

The data goes back to 1960 and up to the most current estimates for 2009. Each line represents a country.

Shifting Incomes for American Jobs

For various occupations, the difference between the person who makes the most and the one who makes the least can be significant.

Visualizing the Uncertainty in Data

Data is an abstraction, and it’s impossible to encapsulate everything it represents in real life. So there is uncertainty. Here are ways to visualize the uncertainty.