• December 8, 2010

    You might think this is a joke, but this is serious business. From Laura Noren, a PhD candidate in sociology, the axes of public peeing:

    This was something I used to help me think through the two main axes that determine peeing behavior – biological and social control. Urination is a biological function that has been subjected to a great degree of social control. Unfortunately, urban design has not kept pace with the demand for clean, easily accessible public restrooms for humans. And there has been no attempt to create any kind of system to deal with canine urine. In most cities it is illegal for humans to pee in public but both legal and widely accepted for dogs to pee where ever they like (in New York, they cannot pee on the grass in parks).

    It seems the only solution is to let people go wherever they want, as the dogs do.

    [Graphic Sociology]

  • December 7, 2010

    Certain fields of study tend to cover many of the same topics. Many times, the two fields go hand-in-hand. Electrical engineering, for example, ties tightly with computer science. Same thing between education and sociology. Daniel Ramage and Jason Chuang of Stanford University explore these similarities through the language used in their school’s dissertations.
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  • December 6, 2010

    Topic

    Maps  /  , ,

    Very Small Array has some fun with Google’s autocomplete. Utah… Jazz. Kentucky… Fried Chicken. New York… Times.

    [Very Small Array via @mericson]

  • December 3, 2010

    Topic

    Infographics

    I don’t get soap operas. People get married, divorced, evil twins show up, babies are born, people are shot, and every now and then someone becomes the hostage of an ex-lover. It’s too complex for my simple mind. Luckily, here’s a video that explains all of the relationships in the Bold and the Beautiful, from 1987 up to present.
    Read More

  • December 3, 2010

    Topic

    Sponsors

    My many thanks to the FlowingData sponsors. They keep the lights on and help make this little blog of mine possible. Check ’em out. They help you understand your data.

    Tableau Software — Combines data exploration and visual analytics in an easy-to-use data analysis tool you can quickly master. It makes data analysis easy and fun. Customers are working 5 to 20 times faster using Tableau.

    InstantAtlas — Enables information analysts and researchers to create highly-interactive online reporting solutions that combine statistics and map data to improve data visualization, enhance communication, and engage people in more informed decision making.

    Want to sponsor FlowingData? Contact me at [email protected] for more details.

  • December 2, 2010

    You’ve probably already heard and read about Wikileaks’ Cablegate. If not, Andy Baio has a fine roundup with significant coverage and events to get you caught up quick. Alternatively, you can watch Jon Stewart and The Daily Show explain in the clip below (slightly NSFW, because it mentions a body part).
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  • December 2, 2010

    Topic

    Apps  /  , ,

    Programming can be tough in the beginning, which can make advanced visualization beyond the Excel spreadsheet hard to come by. Bestiario tries to make it easier with their most recent creation Impure:

    Impure is a visual programming language aimed to gather, process and visualize information. With impure is possible to obtain information from very different sources; from user owned data to diverse feeds in internet, including social media data, real time or historical financial information, images, news, search queries and many more.

    It’s not a plug-and-play application, but it’s not scripting in a text editor either. Think of it as somewhere in between that (hence the visual programming language). They’ve taken the logic behind code, and encapsulated them into modules or structures, and you can piece them together like a puzzle. The interface kind of reminds me of Yahoo Pipes.
    Read More

  • December 2, 2010

    At New Media Days 2010, New York Times graphics editor Amanda Cox talks data graphics, finding a balance between storytelling and straight facts, and working at the graphics desk. Listen and learn in the video below (or you might want to bookmark since it’s about an hour long).
    Read More

  • December 1, 2010

    Topic

    Projects

    This past month, the World Economic Forum convened in Dubai to discuss issues on the global agenda. There are about 700 members who belong to 72 Global Agenda Councils. Before the forum, these members were asked to rank the top five other councils that his or her’s own council would benefit the most from interacting with. This data was made available for the WEF data visualization challenge.

    I made a weekend project out of it and got an honorable mention (darn). This is my entry.
    Read More

  • December 1, 2010

    Topic

    Maps

    Between February 17, 2009 to September 30, 2010, 88,791 awards have been funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This animated map shows where these awards have been distributed across the country month-to-month. Each “light” represents an award.
    Read More

  • November 30, 2010

    The Joy of Stats, a one-hour documentary, hosted by none other than the charismatic Hans Rosling, explores the growing importance of statistics:

    [W]ithout statistics we are cast adrift on an ocean of confusion, but armed with stats we can take control of our lives, hold our rulers to account and see the world as it really is. What’s more, Hans concludes, we can now collect and analyse such huge quantities of data and at such speeds that scientific method itself seems to be changing.

    From the description, it sounds like they’ll touch on Crimespotting by Stamen, Google Translation, among other data-driven projects. Whatever they cover, it’s bound to be interesting with Rosling at the front.
    Read More

  • November 30, 2010

    Mozilla Labs just released a bunch of anonymized browsing data for their open data visualization competition:

    This competition is based on Mozilla’s own open data program, Test Pilot. Test Pilot is a user research platform that collects structured user data through Firefox. All data is gathered through pre-defined Test Pilot studies, which aim to explore how people use their web browser and the Internet.

    There are two datasets in various formats. The first is browsing behavior from 27,000 users, including on/off private browsing that we saw a few months ago. The second dataset is from 160,000 users and is on how they actually use the Firefox interface.

    Additionally, both sets have survey answers to questions like “How long have you used Firefox?” which could make for some fun and interesting breakdowns.

    The deadline is December 17.

    [Mozilla Labs]

  • November 29, 2010

    How did you get to where you are now in your work life? What about Barack Obama? Ashton Kutcher? Jon Stewart? In a collaboration between Newsweek and Bocoup, the Career Tree displays your LinkedIn profile (or a handful of celebrities) as a budding network.
    Read More

  • November 29, 2010

    Topic

    Statistics

    Professor of Mathematics at Temple University, John Allen Paulos describes the differences between statistics and stories:

    [T]here is a tension between stories and statistics, and one under-appreciated contrast between them is simply the mindset with which we approach them. In listening to stories we tend to suspend disbelief in order to be entertained, whereas in evaluating statistics we generally have an opposite inclination to suspend belief in order not to be beguiled.

    And he concludes:

    The focus of stories is on individual people rather than averages, on motives rather than movements, on point of view rather than the view from nowhere, context rather than raw data. Moreover, stories are open-ended and metaphorical rather than determinate and literal.

    Which way do we go when we start telling stories with data?

    [New York Times via @joandimicco]

  • Happy Turkey Day

    Happy Thanksgiving! Eat lots and lots and lots. Rest. Then eat more.…

  • November 24, 2010

    Something for you leading into the Thanksgiving weekend. Enjoy this short video (below) by Amy Thornley, which she made for smile for london. It was animated frame-by-frame in Excel. I look forward to when someone makes this an actual game. That way you could play it at the office, and it would look like you’re working when you pause it.
    Read More

  • How to Make Bubble Charts

    Ever since Hans Rosling presented a motion chart to tell his story of the wealth and health of nations, there has been an affinity for proportional bubbles on an x-y axis. This tutorial is for the static version of the motion chart: the bubble chart.

  • November 23, 2010

    In case you missed it, Girl Talk recently released his fifth album All Day, which samples from 372 songs. Essentially, it’s an album of mashups, so together, samples from multiple songs combine to make a single song. @brahn shows what samples are playing at any given time as you listen to the album. Press play, and the current samples highlight.

  • November 22, 2010

    In a follow-up to their puzzle to balance the budget, The New York Times shows the top selections that about seven thousand Twitter users made. It’s not a scientific sample, as it’s only Twitter users, but interesting to look at nevertheless with a number of useful breakdowns.

  • November 22, 2010

    Topic

    Maps

    Political science PhD candidate David Sparks has look at the evolution of the two-party vote:

    Using county-level data, I spatially and temporally interpolated presidential vote returns for the two major party candidates in each election from 1920-2008. The result illuminates the sometimes gradual, sometimes rapid change in the geographic basis of presidential partisanship.

    Read More