Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Doers - the Ad

Ok, so this might not be the best infographics commercial ever, but since it's a keen problem in our world nowadays, I'm using the opportunity to raise consciousness. Not that I'm a particular fan of Honda, that I've ever owned one or that I believe they are doing this solely to help with the environment, but maybe some of us might, after seeing this.
Being somewhat of green driver myself, I hope by watching this, some of you, fellow readers, might get to be a "doer" in the process. I know I have!
Once again, sorry for this "spam", being that this post is not particularly about this blog's main subjects, but it's for a greater cause.

[via Cool Infographics]


How do college students spend their income - assuming they have one...

Well, I certainly worked longer hours for less money, so this probably does not apply for Brazil, but this is how Westwood College students use their money. A few tweaks might be useful here depending where you come from, but this is how they do it!

Ahhh being in college. Good times! Good times!
[via Cool Infographics]


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Piece for peace

Very interesting project by Graflex Directions, Piece Together For Peace is anti-war awareness Japanese project based on the twelve animal signs from the Japanese zodiac.
Here is a quote from the project designer himself:
[...] Our theme, PIECE TOGETHER FOR PEACE means that PEACE can be created by putting together PIECE like a puzzle [...]

I had a whole paragraph written here, explaining the nuances of the design, but after I read a few dozens of times, it didn't seem to quite capture the idea well enough, so... Here is a far more eloquent way of getting through:

[This video belongs Graflex Directions]


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

So what DOES it all mean?

[Saw on Infosthetics]


This just in...

Quite the recurring subject, new stats on the war over your inbox. Seems that Yahoo is ahead of the game, followed by Windows Live virtually tied with AOL. Published by GOOD Magazine.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Yet another baby!

Many Eyes has just released a brand new baby for us to delight ourselves with. We're all very familiar with the Word Tree and the Tag Cloud and Wordle features and I for one couldn't help to wonder what would happen if the clouds met the trees. Well, always one step ahead, folks at VCL have answered that question! Let's have a look...

When to use a Phrase Net

A phrase net diagrams the relationships between different words used in a text. It uses a simple form of pattern matching to provide multiple views of the concepts contained a book, speech, or poem. [...] The program [draws] a network of words, where two words are connected if they appear together in a phrase of the form "X and Y"

How Phrase Net works

Phrase net analyzes a text by looking for pairs of words that fit particular patterns. You can specify this pattern by using asterisks as wildcard characters. For instance, the pattern "* and *" will match phrases like "play and sing" or "vexation and regret." Punctuation matters, so it will not match "left, and then". You can choose from some useful defaults or you can type your own patterns in the field below the list.

Once you've specified a pattern, the program will create a network diagram of the words it found as matches. Two words will be connected if they occurred in the same phrase. The size of a word is proportional to the number of times it occurred in a match; the thickness of an arrow between words tells you how many times those two words occurred in the same phrase. The color of a word indicates whether it was more likely to be found in the first of second slot of a pattern. The darker the word, the more often it appeared in the first position.

I personally this is one of the most customizable visualizations in Many Eyes, making it extremely easy to think outside of the box, find new patterns in data, analyze texts, words and books and, well, just plain have some fun! Users can tweak the filters, zoom in and out, pan, highlight, see occurrences of the words and/or pair of words, hide or show common words and even choose the universe of words shown in the visualization. Phrase Net can process up to a million words from a single free text input.
For more [better written, more complete and thorough] information, visit Phrase Net's page on Many Eyes.
Check out the live thing below this image. (You need Java enabled to run any visualization on Many Eyes)


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Data is the pollution of the information age."

"Welcome to the future, where everything about you is saved."

Bruce Schneier, chief security technology ad BT, security guru and author of Applied Cryptography, Secrets and Lies and, more recently, Schneier on security, wrote an essay for tackling the issues related to the current data gathering that is growing out of control in the world nowadays.
Although I personally think that most of it is better suited for Sci-Fi novels, he did convince me that this is not a subject to be taken lightly. Starting with his analogy: "Data is the pollution of the information age." - quite an affirmation. He continues to explain that what he means is that, like 100 years ago when people were so focused on rushing the growth of industry that they ignored the many problems of pollution, "we're ignoring data in our rush to build the Information Age."
Schneier gives plenty of examples to show the reader what happens nowadays when we do customary things, such as buying from Amazon, wiring train ticket expanses with our credit card or even RFID chips present in our cell phones and cars, can all be used to correlate our lifestyles with possible purchases. After, he goes on with a few possible outcomes that, to me, seem so very out there and not really possible. Nonetheless, I believe he is right on the money when stating that "[data]... is valuable when reused, but it must be done carefully. Otherwise its after-effects are toxic...". One of the things that allow society to work is the fact that conversations, whether live or on the phone or any other device, is ephemeral. People can't remember everything and every detail and they usually don't have to justify every single word they say (well, except to our wives - who are apparently also an exception to the rule of forgetting - and forgiving, to that matter). Well, this changes when we are presented with a scenario where space is so cheap that it makes sense to just store all that conversational information from MSN, SMS, telephone, mail and so on without a specific intent, but only so that it might be useful in the future.
Well, so far, most of those are stored only if the owner chooses to, but as Schneier states, when government starts to play a big part in making those choices, we loose our right to privacy. "Privacy isn't just about having something to hide; it's a basic right that has enormous value to democracy, liberty and our humanity" - meaning that just because I'm not breaking any rules, I shouldn't have to share personal information.
Back to the pollution analogy, in a few years from now, who knows what sorts of problems this lack of caution with how, when and, most importantly which data we store. A 100 years ago we couldn't care less about pollution and now it's the most discussed issue in the globe, who's to say data is not the next "pollution"?

Closing the post, here is something to take from this:
Future generations will look back at us - living in the early decades of the information age - and judge our solutions to the proliferation of data
- let's make the best of it while we still can!

[via writting | ben fry]