• October 24, 2010

    Topic

    Site News

    The basketball season is going to start soon (finally). To make the season more interesting, I’m starting a FlowingData fantasy basketball pool, and you’re invited. It’s a combination of data and basketball. Pure awesomeness.

    It’s a $20 chip-in, and winner takes all. Want to join in on the fun? Just email me with “I’m in” in the subject header, and I’ll send over the info. We need at least 10 teams, and the maximum is 20, so the earlier you reply, the better. Let the games begin!

  • October 24, 2010

    Topic

    Quicklinks

    Designer Frank Chimero describes how to have an idea with back-of-the-napkin sketches. “Creative people romanticize mistakes and process. But there is no process if you don’t start. No one crumples a blank sheet of paper.”

  • October 22, 2010

    A few people have asked me this question just this past week. I usually point them to this thread in the forums. Any other suggestions?

  • October 21, 2010

    Booking flights became so much easier when it all shifted online, but it hasn’t changed in years. You put in your preferred dates and times and you get a long list of options. Oftentimes those listings can be a pain as you browse through all of your options. Oh the burden of choice. Hipmunk tries to make flight search easier with a visual interface.

    As usual, you enter your origin and destination but instead of plain HTML tables, you get something like the above, and you can sort the options from least to greatest amount of agony. Rectangle lengths represent flight times and are color-coded by airline. Flights with the same take off and arrival times, but priced higher are hidden to help you narrow down quicker.

    Hipmunk is still in the early stages, but a quick search shows a lot of promise.

    [Hipmunk via Matt]

  • October 21, 2010

    I don’t know about you, but I tend to associate Congress with an older generation. Just how hold are the folks who make up the Senate and House of Representatives? Alex Lowe, Kurt Wilberding, and Ana Rivas report for The Wall Street Journal with this interactive timeline and histograms.
    Read More

  • October 20, 2010

    It’s been a while since I ran one of these, so you must be dying to do some visualizing. For those new around here, Visualize This is a little fun practice we like to run around here to exercise our visualization skills. I post a small dataset, and then you can try visualizing it. Do you have what it takes?

    Deadline: October 27, 2010

    For this round, we’ll take a look at results from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior conducted by Indiana University. They asked over 5,000 participants if they’ve engaged in certain behaviors in the past year. They also asked age and gender.
    Read More

  • October 20, 2010

    Topic

    Maps

    I’ve never seen an episode, but if my Twitter stream has taught me anything, it’s that many of you will enjoy this floor plan of the Mad Men office by @CerpinTaxt. Accurate?

    [Kratkocasnik via Vulture]

  • October 19, 2010

    Topic

    Infographics

    Millions of people leave their work computer on every day, thus wasting lots and lots of energy through the night when no one is there. In this animated infographic, Nigel Upchurch describes what it means when you leave your computer on. As with most of these types of things, the numbers are a bit simplistic. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to watch and well-designed. And well, it kind of makes me want to make sure I turn off my computer at night.
    Read More

  • October 19, 2010

    Topic

    News

    Robert Kosara asked former Swivel co-founders Brian Mulloy and Dmitry Dimov about their thoughts on why Swivel shut down recently. Only the blog remains. In case you’re unfamiliar, Swivel was a service that let people upload data and share basic charts and graphs.

    Mulloy and Dimov left Swivel a while back and are currently working on different startups, so it was actually news to them too. But in the end it seems it came down to context for the data.
    Read More

  • October 18, 2010

    Topic

    Maps

    Online maps that we use for directions use the Mercator projection, and this tends to dictate how we perceive the size of countries and continents. If you look at the world map on Google, for example, Africa doesn’t look that much bigger compared to China or the United States. In reality though, it’s a lot bigger. Kai Krause scales countries by their area in square kilometers and then fits them into a Africa’s borders for some perspective.

    This one’s for you, cartographers. What do you think?

    [True Size of Africa via Good | Thanks, Cay]

  • October 17, 2010

    Topic

    Forums

    In case you’re on the market for a data sciencey type job, there were a number of them posted to the forums this past week, along with some other schtuff.

    SEM infographics freelance — Working is picking up and I need help covering all my client requests for SEM infographics…

    Designer needed for animated cartogram — I am a financial publisher in need of a designer to create a cartogram of world GDP growth by nation…

    Data Visualization and Charting Business Manager — Bloomberg is looking for a passionate, experienced individual to join the Charts, Technical Analysis and Graphics Business…

    Data Visualization Genius — Young, fast-growing digital media startup seeks data visualization or UI expert…

    Interaction Designer — Do you believe, in a freshman-year kind of way, that design just might save the world?

    P.S. I changed the “Finding a Job” forum to “Job Board” since that’s basically what it’s used for. Are you an employer looking for a qualified data person? Post it to the board. It’s free.

  • October 17, 2010

    Topic

    Quicklinks  /  , ,

    In their continuation of what online marketers know about you, the Wall Street Journal reports on groups scraping pages and services to reveal identities and link pseudonyms to real names. “Social networks are becoming the new public records.” My rule of thumb: if I put anything on the Web, I’m assuming it’s public.

  • October 15, 2010

    I’m not sure who made the static version above, but here is an equivalently amusing animated version below. The Dark Knight likes to keep things fresh. [CollegeHumor]
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  • October 14, 2010

    President Obama will be answering questions live at a youth town hall today at 4pm EST, with livestreaming on MTV, BET, and CMT. He’ll be taking questions from the audience and possibly from Twitter. If you want to keep track of the conversation, the folks at Stamen have got your back with their visual Twitter tracker:

    The visualization is online here, and builds on work that was previously battle-tested at the 2010 Video Music Awards. The idea is that you post messages to twitter with the #ask hashtag, followed by the issue you’re interested in asking the President about. If it’s a good one, he may answer it on the air.

    Like the VMA visualization, topics are tracked and ordered by popularity. But instead of showing celebrities, this one shows issues that people on Twitter care about. A bar chart on the bottom left shows trends over time.
    Read More

  • October 14, 2010

    Topic

    Infographics

    Neil Irwin and Alicia Parlapiano of The Washington Post report with this interactive graphic on why it doesn’t feel like we’re in a recovery:

    The nation’s economic woes boil down to this. Compared with a healthy economy, about 7 million working-age people and 5 percent of the nation’s industrial capacity are sitting idle, not producing what they could. The economy is growing again, but at a rate — less than 2 percent in recent months — that’s too slow to keep up with a population that keeps increasing and workers who keep getting more efficient.

    A step-by-step guide explains the output gap, the difference between potential and actual output.

    [The Washington Post via @hfairfield]

  • October 14, 2010

    Topic

    Statistics

    In reference to the wall between reporting data and understanding it, Martin Theus proposes a different one:

    Once you start to explore the data, the whole thing stops to be linear but gets to be very iterative, jumping over the wall every now and then. I.e., you may find out that the data cleaning is insufficient, or the model you have in mind needs some other transformation of the data, or you might want to collect additional or other data altogether.

    The wall does exist, but I think it is more separating two kinds of people / thinking.

    Theus finishes:

    One thing is for sure: we won’t succeed if analysts continue to build useful but technically insufficient tools and computer scientists still build fancy tools that merely help the analysts.

    Or even better: analyst and tool builder become the same person. That’ll take much longer though, so communication is a good place to start.

    [Theusrus]

  • October 13, 2010

    Topic

    Apps, Maps

    In collaboration with NBC News and The Gates Foundation, Ben Fry-headed Fathom Design shows you how K-12 schools measure up in your area. If you’re a parent or soon-to-be parent considering a move, this will be especially interesting to you. The Education Nation Scorecard lets you search for your location or a specific school to see how they perform and how they compare to the rest of the country.
    Read More

  • October 13, 2010

    Thousands of people flee their country every year, and the travel patterns are by no means easy to understand. Christian Behrens, in a revamp of a class project, visualizes these refugee movements with three views. The first is a circular network diagram (above), where each slice represents a region or country. Lines represent flight and expulsions.
    Read More

  • October 12, 2010

    Online dating site OkCupid dives into their data for 3.2 million users again, this time to explore gay and straight stereotypes. Many are false. Some are true. Among the findings: who’s gay curious in the United States and who thinks the earth is bigger than the sun.