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]


Self surveillance

Last week I posted a few words on Nathan's self surveillance project, your.flowingdata and promised to post some results as soon as I had enough data to make it interesting. Well, this is not it - yet!
Although, Nathan published some words on the matter today citing a new project from Fitness First currently going on in the Netherlands. The health club has created an ad concept wiring up the seats with a scale which displays the user weight on a big LED. Not only it faces you and throws it your face, it's up there for any and everyone to see. I guess the concept is to shame you into getting fit.
My first reaction is that this is a great idea - everyone gets in shape, heart attack rates go down, health spreads, the whole shebang! Now let's look at this with some perspective. Suppose you don't really have the money, the will or even the patience to enroll yourself in a gym or health club. What are you probably going to do to get skinnier? Run your legs off, stop eating, etc... Not only that, how about people with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia or EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified)? Now these guys already have a problem that causes weakness, not they won't even be able to sit and wait for their bus to come.
I don't mean to raise any issues and whatnot. Personally, I think this would actually help me get to my weight goal a lot faster and I wish we had those here in Porto Alegre, but I really don't think this campaign was thoroughly thought through (man, that phrase seemed iffy) and I really don't think these scales will be out there for too long.
Let me know how you feel about it!

[via FlowingData]


Monday, March 16, 2009

"Who" goes around, comes around?

Recently, I've stumbled upon an extremely well constructed visualization for migration flows inside the United States: "COMINGS&GOINGS: Migration Flows in the U.S.". It's based on December 17th, 2008 research on how people move from state to state, which states people choose to move from and which they choose to move to. For instance, you can see in the first two pictures that California has been loosing residents way faster than they've been able to get new ones. In the last two images, we can also see how the Northeast region had a much larger outgoing flow than nowadays (the opposite goes for ingoing flow), specially from/to the West).
Since the actual meaning of the data - although very interesting and well portrait - is not really this blog's main topic, let's get to business!
Colors: very well chosen, the palette complements each choice very well. Only thing that I don't like all that much, even though it's not a real problem, is the orange and green for the population movements and here is why: it gives a sensation of positive and negative reinforcements - which, by the way, are taken inversely by most of the Asian community. In the west, we tend to relate green as good and red as bad, in the east, it's usually the opposite. Conclusion: not the best choice ever, but it's not a big deal. I'd have used either blue, yellow or play with the hues.
Format: ok, not much to say here. I mean, it's the map of the U.S. - not much opportunity for creativity here, nevertheless, very well drawn!
Animation: Well timed, well designed... Basically: Well done!!!
Interactivity: Extremely well thought, although not fully explored. The hovering is so refreshingly easy and intuitive to use, but we could have some clicking involved, allowing the user to compare multiple states or regions.

Conclusion: great work! The user does not need to read the entire article to get the gist of the data. So many different views and options to play with, this could entertain you for quite a while and you learn a lot in the process!
Cuddles to the creating team!

Ok! Time for you to let me know what you think!


Turing Award

This is just something you should know about:

What a brilliant woman:

Liskov, the first U.S. woman to earn a PhD in computer science, was recognized for helping make software more reliable, consistent and resistant to errors and hacking. She is only the second woman to receive the honor, which carries a $250,000 purse and is often described as the “Nobel Prize in computing.”

I’m embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t more familiar with her work prior to reading about it in Tuesday’s Globe, but wow:

The latter day Ada herselfLiskov’s early innovations in software design have been the basis of every important programming language since 1975, including Ada, C++, Java and C#.

Liskov’s most significant impact stems from her influential contributions to the use of data abstraction, a valuable method for organizing complex programs. She was a leader in demonstrating how data abstraction could be used to make software easier to construct, modify and maintain…

In another contribution, Liskov designed CLU, an object-oriented programming language incorporating clusters to provide coherent, systematic handling of abstract data types. She and her colleagues at MIT subsequently developed efficient CLU compiler implementations on several different machines, an important step in demonstrating the practicality of her ideas. Data abstraction is now a generally accepted fundamental method of software engineering that focuses on data rather than processes.

This has nothing to do with gender, of course, but I find it exciting apropos of this earlier post regarding women in computer science.

Original post by Ben Fry


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Watch over me

Recently I've taken a big blow in my personal life, but since this blog has absolutely nothing to do with personal lives, I'll live to this: MOTIVATION!
Nothing better for regrouping yourself than filling your day-to-day with structure, and when it comes to structure, the strictest, the better.
This brings us to Nathan's brand new mashup project: your.flowingdata. Far from being a unique idea, this project has a unique approach to it. Take Twitter, an already widely promoted, widely know and widely over-used web tool (I mean, even cell phones have been made so that it makes it easier to Twitter - it's changed the verb's meaning for crying out loud, you can't get any more know than that!) and mash it up with this very fresh project and you got yourself your very own watchman.
They way it works is you send private messages to a specific Twitter user with the correct keywords for the action your willing to report and it gets parsed into your very own activities log. Currently, actions being watched for are eating habits, entertainment, feelings, weight, sleeping habits, smoking and even bowel movements.
I've started watching over me today and as soon as it gets interestingly filled up, I'll be posting some statistics here - at least the not so personal ones!
The engine is still freezing a couple times since Twitters Whitelisting is not working as expected, but the results are in deed extremely refreshing.
I certainly hope this helps me get back on track...

Let me know what you think!


Monday, March 9, 2009

Good chart x Bad Chart

Often I've criticized bad graphs, showing flaws, bad choices and mistakes along the way. Well, if creating a bad graph is easy, criticizing one is even easier, therefore, this post will show you a good graph, with the correct choices made in most places versus a bad one.
The good guy:

This graph was posted by the New York Times. Great choice of colors, nice labels and standard metrics. Very easy to understand. Not much to say really. The author didn't take that many chances, but the result was very straight-forward, which is good for the reader.

The bad guy:

Ok, now this guy has definitely taken a lot more chances than our hero. For absolutely no reason other then aesthetics, our villain decided not only to use a 3D presentation, but a curved presentation of the pillars. This decision, though very interesting and eye-catching, makes it rather difficult to compare correspondent values, creating a visual problem to understand the data. Plus, the curvature at the top of the image doesn't match the one at the bottom, which makes it even harder to read. The triple factor: the bar tops are not flat, but they have a curvature as well. Does that mean changes during that respective year's months? I think not. So what should we consider, top or bottom parts of the cut?

So you see what I mean, aesthetics is a very important part of making your graph successful and getting the information across, but it should never come at the expense of the objective, which is always to get the information as fast AND as correct as possible to the reader.

Let me know what you think!


Friday, March 6, 2009

... aaand we're back - yet again!

After 4 days not being able to post on my own blog, I'm back!
And since I've lost all my drafts, here's a little humor for you:

Seen on Flowing Data


Monday, March 2, 2009

... aaand we're back!

After nine grueling days of sunny beaches and great surfing conditions, I'm back at the office. Fresh and motivated, I've prepared a few posts in advance and I'll be publishing them in the next days so that I don't flood this blog with posts and make it so that most of them are missed.
Hang tight!


Friday, February 20, 2009

Bouble B IT is taking a break

After a long year of projects, postponing posts due to lack of time and a lo-ot of allnighters, yours truly is finally taking taking a little vacation. It's been 5 years since my last one, so I'll make this one count!
Fear not, I should be back on Monday, March 2nd with new posts. I'm preparing one as a response to Blogless' "Is Wordle good?", plus, lots of new stuff on visualization and C# programming (which I've been neglecting lately).
See you soon...


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More on bad graphs

Ok, following on my very acid mood this week and after I read Nathan's from Flowing Data latest post on JP Morgan's Market Cap, which I had already seen and criticized back in January (only not on this blog), I decided to bring that little demon back and speak my mind once again.

First, let's take a glance at the graph:

The basics: Blue circles mean the market value pre-crisis and green circles mean the market value as of late January '09, both in the realm of billions of dollars.
The goal: show how hard everyone took it and given the scenario, how well JP Morgan managed not to lose as much value.
The error: trying to map 1-D values in 2-D objects without much attention to it.

So what's the big deal? The big deal is that when you use circles to map numbers, you HAVE TO remember that they are 2-D objects and as such, they have areas, which the cerebral cortex cars much more that ratio or diameter. What this means is that your brain cares much more about that area than about how tall that ellipse might be.

So how should the circles look like? Well, Rena Corda showed the world a revised version of it, here it is:

Can you see the difference? Ok, ok, maybe you don't find it that huge, but it is noticeable and as such, should be taken into account. We all know that statistics can be shown in many forms to make viewers/users agree more or less with the presenter's point of view and I personally think that this is a good thing, but there is a limit as to how much that can be used and JP Morgan's graph borders unethical information usage.
Let me know what you think...


Thursday, February 12, 2009


This week, I stumbled upon a new text visualization: Text2Image, by Ted Davis. The concept is not at all new, basically put, it takes an array of characters and after processing, creates a sequence of colored blocks. Very poetic, very colorful, but also very mysterious. Although it seems to generate consistent results, there is no clue whatsoever as to how they are constructed, why different colors are chosen and why some letters generate longer strings of blocks.
Very interesting to play with, though!


Monday, February 9, 2009

Why visualization is to be taken carefully

Visualization is a form of art (ok, maybe for those of us who can't really draw, but it's still a form of art!) and as such, there might be some discordance concerning choice of colors, movement, proportions and so many other aspects. As any other form of art, designers can too take critics personally. I hope that either that's not the case for the responsible for the design I'll be talking about here or he/she doesn't read this blog.
Anyway, lets get it started.
Last year, Business Week published a very interesting article on Solar Energy Panels and how the supply and demand theory had and would affect their prices. Along with the article, BW published the following graph:

First of all, this is not a very simple graph to fully understand since the buckets are not well specified. This is sort of covered in the main article, but the graph itself doesn't bring much to the table. Second of all, we can only see the most recent years of concrete data ('07 and '08), which is less than the projection of future prices ('09 to '12). Second of all, not everyone is accustomed to the unit of measure: Dollars per Kg per year. Last, but most significantly, the most important part of the graph - the forecast part - has absolutely no information aggregated to even give us a hint to why that is or to how much the prices will be in '12. We know the price will range from more then $0.00 and less then $100.00 and I can guess that they might range from $25.00 to $50.00, but there is absolutely no reason for the viewer to have to guess that value.
In summary, it's clear that this graph has not been completely thought through. There are a number of ways to depict the information and if you're quite sure how, I personally don't think you should try to get fancy, just use the most common graphs with attractive colors and whatnot. And even if you are used to building graphs and visualizations, it's a good idea to have hallway tests - if you don't know what hallway testing is, you should really read this article by Joel On Software.
I hope I wasn't too hard on my critics, let me know what you think.

Graph seen on Junk Charts


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"I Lego NY"

Last week, January 30th, Hans Beck, creator of Playmobil left this world after a long serious illness. Even though Lego and Playmobil are competitors, the idea is basically the same. After I read the news about Beck's tragic death (sadly, I was out for the holiday so I did not read about it until this morning), I couldn't help but recollect Christoph Niemann's I Lego N.Y., published last Monday, Feb. 2nd, on NY Times' Abstract City. It's simple, it's direct, it's delightful! Gotta love meaningful minimalism.

All images from original post

Check the rest of the photos here.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The new inconvenient truth

The present music running the American Economy... Sad, but true!
Using Microsoft Songsmith to analyze the numbers of the crisis, this visualization shows how bad the situation got over time... It's amazing how depressing the songs get when they come close to today's scenario.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Call for participation

My fellow reader,
This is just a friendly reminder to encourage you to give me feedback, insights, opinions and suggestions of topics, projects and subjects!
Fell free to speak you mind!

Original photo by Cayusa


Ruben's Tube - Visualization is on fire!

In the era of, and even metacafetube, here is one you never thought could get there... A classic physics experience, Ruben's tube consists of a mix of simple materials, all of which you can find at home (though I don't think you should attempt any of this, specially if you're not a certified fireman). Take a PVC pipe, cover it in foil so that it doesn't melt from the fire, drill as many holes as you can (as long as they're at least .5 cm apart) on top of it. Seal both ends and attach one of them to a speaker and the other to any flammable gas you might have access to. There it is, now you can visualize Beethoven's 9th! Take a look at both videos. In the 1st one you can really see some experimenting with different sounds and even Jazz and Rock! The second one, definitely mithbustery, is more informative and though they don't really experiment with any unsteady waves, the explanations of the phenomena are very rich, simple and direct.

Keep children away from this!

For more, be sure to check out Infernoptix, these guys really take the tube to a whole new level!

Seen on Infosthetics


Tuesday, January 27, 2009


In my morning readings, I've stumbled across a couple of visualization sketches from Grid/Plane in collaboration Instrum3nt for Google.
No big news there, except for a keen sense of design. I specially love the Map (title) and the columns (below). The map not only shows data beautifully, it also matches the data with a label on the bottom. I imagine panning, zooming, clicking, searching and intricate tooltips are a given in this sketch and if not, I'd like to think it wouldn't take long before they notice the need for it for better understanding the information and further gatherings.

As for these wonderful columns, I can almost see them moving and the animated tooltip formed labels dancing around. I do notice the lack of axis (and therefore the information you'd expect from them such as data type, name, origin and unit), but think about the selection opportunities if those boxes in each columns actually map a more detail level of information. By double clicking them, they could fall apart, forming new columns for the more detailed level while a zooming effect shows the user a close up the the selected data (Many Eyes' Block Chart example - play with the combo to get the idea).
These are only drawing, sketches, ideas... They don't actually map Google searches, but imagine when they do! For me, this will bring the word "googling" a whole new meaning.
By the way, when was the last time that a neologism widely accepted globally had it's meaning changed or even got a new meaning to it? this comes to prove once again that creativity is keen to success!


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Very interesting post by Ben Fry

OSM 2008: A Year of Edits from ItoWorld on Vimeo.
This is a copy of Ben Fry's post today on OpenStreetMap.

A video depicting all the edits for the OpenStreetMap project for 2008.

OpenStreetMap is a wiki-style map of the world and this animation displays a white flash each time a way is entered or updated. Some edits are a result of a physical local survey by a contributor with a GPS unit and taking notes, other edits are done remotely using aerial photography or out-of-copyright maps, and some are bulk imports of official data.

Simple idea but really elegant execution. Created by ITO.

Mapping over time - Ben Fry

This very interesting video has been widely covered over the last few days, but this simple take on it by Ben Fry was, I thought, the most objective one. That's why I choose not to post something of my own, instead, I preferred to borrow his words. Please, do check the original post as well.


Addition to yesterday post

Yesterday, CNN posted a series of photos from the inauguration moment using Microsoft's Photosynth, "born of a collaboration between Microsoft and the University of Washington, based on the groundbreaking research of Noah Snavely (UW), Steve Seitz (UW),and Richard Szeliski (Microsoft Research)"1. The idea is that you can use a good number of 2D photographs to create a 3D environment of the moment. CNN posted 761 photographs in 3 separate groups allowing the user to navigate through various positions and points of view of the president taking his oath.
This way, you can see the moment from the first row or even right behind the president. You can navigate easily and intuitively through the photographs and have a close feeling of what that moment was like or, if you prefer, watch a slide show.
Definitely, a great display of the tools power and versatility.
Check out this other examples of what could be done with Photosynth.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009


By now, virtually every single blog in the world wide web has an analysis on president Obama's inaugural address posted on their cover. I wish I could be different, but it's kind of a hard thing to do when such an important event comes to pass. There are very few things republicans and democrats agree 100% on, but that the next few years are crucial to the United States continuation as the number 1 political power on the world is a given. Well, along with the rest of the so called "Americans" and despite their supreme self-centered way of thinking, here is one Brazilian who is hoping the next 4 years are remarkably successful for president Obama. Having that said, I thought I'd take this opportunity to post all the most interesting things I've seen on the various blogs, newspaper websites and whatnot in one big post. Brace yourselves, this is a whole lot of reading ahead... I hope you enjoy it as much as me.

The projects will not be posted in any particular order, not chronological, not preferential, neither any other category that might suggest any connection among them, so please, do read 'em all so that you don't miss anything.

I'll start up with one of the records of posting, Obama's portrait as a tag cloud.

This project by Jeff Clark @ Neoformix, was inspired by an image by Gui Borchet. As a result, Jeff tweaked a few of his previews codes for Word Hearts and Clustered Words (which was Jeff's first attempt to build something similar to Jonathan Feinberg's widely praised and in my opinion, the very best interpretation of the well known tag cloud ever made, Wordle - also available on Many Eyes), making his code able to color and size words to fit a pre-existing image. There is virtually very little information data analysis or information the user is able to retrieve from it, but it is on heck of an image. This is visualization art in it's purest form. Cuddles for Jeff!
Here is president Obama's inaugural address' generated image:

Click here for original B&W portrait and here for original Inaugural Address image.

Here is Dopplr's visualization on 2008 Personal annual report for Barack Obama

As you can see, the man almost made it to the moon in 2008 (92% of the distance was covered) and spent almost twice as much time on the road then at home. Certainly showing commitment to his campaign. You can also see that Joe was with him most of the time and that John McCain was also present (even more than his wife Michelle - which reminds me of Chris Rocks' jokes on "Kill the messenger", very funny!) but McCain's VP Sarah, well, just not that much...
As a counterpoint, for someone who praises Gore's environmental issues that much, his carbon footprint was equal to more than 4 Hummers. OK, for that much traveling, and keeping in mind that airplanes do pollute a lot more than any other thing in this world, I guess it was not that much in perspective to the benefits his election might bring to our world in that subject. By the way, just for kicks, here is what Lauren Kurtz has to say to Mr. President Barack: you gotta go to "The Publican. Amazing beer list and melt in your mouth food". I guess now he is elect, a couple cold ones wouldn't be that bad!
You can download Dopplr's original PDF here.

I continue with one of the most interesting data correlation for the past year election, which I saw on Flowing Data.

This post election analysis shows the correlation between cotton picking and voting. The relation is amazingly synchronized. As Strange Maps does point out, this doesn't mean that by increasing the cotton plantations on other parts of the country would increase the number of democrats, but it does show that due to heavy migration of African Americans to those regions caused by the cotton industry, those counties had a significant majority of voters for Obama (91% of the African Americans population voted for Obama). This is a great correlation - not causation - example and a very interesting read.

This next piece, by OPEN N.Y., shows the correlation between height and weight in the presidency history dating back to 1896.

In this graph, it's clear that the seemingly more robust body has had an edge on presidential elections since the 25th president. Makes sense, since the people would rather have a leader they find fit. Yes, I know, fat is not fit! But remember that not that many years back, this fitness race of our time was not present and fatness did actually mean wealthier and healthier - which are strong qualities for someone we expect to run our country for the next years. Barack's win only confirmed this pattern, beating McCain's short and curved, Ephialtes-like figure.

You can find the original article here.

Next is Washington Post's post on tax proposals for both candidates.

As you can easily see, the main difference is that Obama's proposal was to increase the taxes by 5% of all those filthy rich multi-millionaire people we all love to hate and to wish were us while decreasing taxes for the bottom end of the financial pyramid while McCain's proposal was to lower taxes for everybody! Borrowing Phoebe's half brother Frank line on Friends: "No no no, this is a new plan! Three kids and no money!!!". Not quite getting what I meant? look at the bottom line: Obama's proposal equals virtually no change on the final tax amount while better organizing tax expense for the population. McCain's proposal equals more than a thousand dollars average in tax income while continuing to favor those in the big chairs! Not a mystery why Obama won the election. The least favored group by McCain's proposal meant 60% of votes, I mean, at least check your numbers Mr. McCain!

And for the Pièce de résistance, among so many others, here is Many Eyes' tag cloud of the inaugural address:

If you can't see this visualization, click here to see the original)
As you can see in this two-word tag cloud, this is indeed a new age, designed to be filled with the care for health, economy and hard work, with the lack of war and fights (hopefully!). It could not have come too soon! Let the new times begin!
Good luck Mr. President. Know that our hearts and minds are with you and we are more ready work hard and be lead back to the right side of things!

Let the good times roll!


Friday, January 16, 2009

Backwards visualization (as an art form)

Wikipedia defines visualization as "any technique for creating images, diagrams, or animations to communicate a message". Usually, it's main goal is to make information clearer in a broad view. Though, Chris Jordan - known photographer - uses the concept backwards to prove a point, as a form of art.
Chris' work depicts the usual America (meaning U.S.) mentality, which seems to grieve for some disasters (Chris mentioned 9/11th as an example in his talk on TED back in June), but misses actual daily massive disasters (he also mentioned the 1100 deaths due to nicotine usage daily as an example).
He takes random expressive statistics about common habits simulates the usual view of the population on it by showing massive numbers of objects mashed together to form an image. When the viewer drills down to the picture detail, the actual object, subject of the piece, shows itself.
His main pieces can be found on his website (Chris Jordan Photographic Arts). The most impressive to me are the Oil Barrels, which shows 28.000 42-gallon barrels, the amount of oiled consumed in the U.S. every minute, Plastic Cups, portraying 1 million plastic cups - the amount of cups used on airline flights in 6 hours everyday in the U.S. (none of which are reused or recycled in any way) -, and the Cell Phones, which consists of 426.000 cell phones - the number of cell phones retired in the U.S. everyday.

You can enjoy Chris' talk on TED.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Chart Chooser

Recently, I read a post on Flowing Data about this Char Chooser "flow chart", which helps the user choosing the appropriate chart to represent their data. As a visualization enthusiast, I find the chart extremely limited and not much of a flow chart, but more of a category definition for charts according to data type or intention.
It serves it's purpose, nothing more, nothing less.

Then again, if you're not a visualization enthusiast or a visualization developer, this might help you get to the most appropriate chart to convey your ideas. No harm in taking a look there...

PS: Maps are lacking, and they've been more and more important as charts throughout history...


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ford turns to visualization for new dashboard

In these crisis times currently scaring the market and with all the automakers craving the bailout for survival, Ford turns to visualization to boost sales with their new heavy info dashboard.
The new dashboards are projected to fit perfectly with greener cars. The goal is to change the way people drive. Using a "leafy" theme, the driver can visualize the impact their driving is making on the environment. For instance, when the driver aggressively accelerates or breaks, the vine withers and leaves disappear. Don't worry, as the driver gets back to driving economically, the withers and leaves grow back. The new dashboard should be standard in all Fusion Hybrids (starting at $27k).
The company hopes to make a strong statement with green-driven consumers, creating a state of loyalty with those concerned with the environment. Although Ford has been making strong attempts to tackle this market, they're still to post the sells on hybrid vehicles that can compete with the green-market emperor Toyota (over 1 million Priuses sold).
The dashboard was developed in collaboration with Smart Design, also responsible for the new Johnson & Johnson operating gowns and "reach wondergrip", MS Windows Packaging, HPs photoprinters, DashExpress GPS and Starbucks Hear Music Media Bar.

Seen on Flowing Data. Tracked back to Business Week.