Monthly Archives October 2011

Become a Chimp… We’re Hiring!

office monkey set Become a Chimp... Were Hiring!

Do you love accessing cool data but hate scraping, cleaning and parsing it all day long? Apparently so do a lot of people! Come work for us and be a hero to developers everywhere who just want an easy place to access the data the want.  Check out our current open positions: Architect, Data Engineer, Data Scientist, Head of Marketing.

Here are just a few of the great things about working at Infochimps:

  • A world class team of friendly people eager to tackle hard problems
  • Ask around, we have one of the finest data science and scalable backend teams in the world
  • Convenient location in downtown Austin, a city ranked Kiplinger’s #1 city for the next decade and Forbes #1 best bargain city
  • Delish lunches brought in everyday, free for employees
  • All the bananas you can eat
  • Competitive salary and options
  • Health insurance benefits, fully paid for employees
  • If you want to be part of our team, please send a resume and details about why you would be excited to work at Infochimps to

Look forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to let us know if you have any questions!

Meet Jim the Monkey + Other Website Updates

monkey jim Meet Jim the Monkey + Other Website UpdatesMeet Jim the Monkey, the friendly greeter on our newly redesigned sign up page. Coincidentally, he shares a name with our new Director of User Experience, Jim England who has busily been improving key areas of  As you may recall, Jim (the human), formerly of Keepstream, joined just a few months ago and had already made some huge headway in making our site more user friendly, easier to navigate and just a wee bit cuter with the addition of Jim (the monkey).

Whether you’re a new visitor or a long-time fan of Infochimps, we’d love to know what you think of the changes we have underway!

Leave us a comment, send us a tweet, or send us an email with your thoughts!

New Header

header notloggedin Meet Jim the Monkey + Other Website Updates
header loggedin Meet Jim the Monkey + Other Website Updates
Our new header compresses the best elements of our old one into a sleeker, easier to navigate design.  The upper part in lighter grey now holds our search bar as well as our key navigational elements.  The lower part in darker grey helps users navigate to our most popular API offerings, as well as access their account.  Bonus – when you’re logged in, the dark grey bar becomes our account navigator with quick links to your profile, API dashboard (complete with usage charts) and account settings.


Four Maps of Occupy Wall Street’s Global Impact

timesqm Four Maps of Occupy Wall Streets Global Impact

One month and one day after the first group of protesters gathered in Zuccotti Park, Occupy Wall Street has become an international phenomenon.  How much of an international phenomenon?  There’s many ways to measure it and some intrepid data journalists have put together maps showcasing worldwide news articles, tweets, YouTube videos, Flickr photos, and Facebook pages dedicated to the cause.

Worldwide Press

Created by the folks at Mother Jones, this map displays more than 215 locations (as of 10/15) of Occupy gatherings and arrests. Click on each dot to get detailed information from the original news articles about the events.


Fall Friday Night Hacks Winner & Recap

DL2 1144 Fall Friday Night Hacks Winner & Recap

Just another typical Friday night, drinking beer, hanging out with friends and hacking!  That’s right, folks – an intrepid group of Infochimps along with dozens of other local developers, designers and nerd-tastic folks gathered at CoSpace for the second edition of our favorite local regular hack event – Friday Night Hacks!

 Fall Friday Night Hacks Winner & RecapThis time around, we decided to offer a prize to our favorite hack and we’re pleased to announce the winner is Chris McGrath.  Using our new Geo API, Chris added a geo-location option to his QR Code Generator.  Using his app, you can turn almost any piece of information into a QR code that you can scan later to retrieve on your phone.  Rad!  For his efforts, he gets a sweet $100 ThinkGeek gift card and an even sweeter Infochimps belt buckle!

Thanks everyone for participating and we can’t wait til the next one!


Visualizing Life Expectancy

Life expectancy 625x452 Visualizing Life Expectancy

From the brilliant mind of Nathan Yau of Flowing Data comes this visualization on changing life expectancies around the world over time.  He used D3 and data from The World Bank to create this interactive visualization. The data goes back to 1960 and up to the most current estimates for 2009. Each line represents a country, and you can see more details by rolling over each one.

What Occupy Wall Street Protesters Are Upset About

classic occupy wall street protest signs 09 What Occupy Wall Street Protesters Are Upset AboutAfter nearly a full month, Occupy Wall Street has become a force to be reckon with, not only in Lower Manhattan, but around the globe with over 70 major cities participating.  As time has passed, the protesters’ motivations have become increasingly clear and the occupation has shed light on some serious issues in America, including gross social and economic inequality, corporate greed and the influence of corporate money on government.

And yes, there’s data to back it up.  Business Insider recently published a series of 30+ charts on unemployment, wages, corporate profits, income inequality, debt, taxes, and bailouts.  Particularly notable things include that massive spike in unemployment in 2010 coupled with a record high for corporate profits.  Also, that over the past 15 years, the average production workers’ income has only increased by 4.3% while the average CEO pay increased 298.2%… hmm…

image29 What Occupy Wall Street Protesters Are Upset About

Thanks, Chart Porn!

The Real Cost of Kids

kidcosts FINAL The Real Cost of Kids

Earlier today in the office, one of my fellow Chimps made the brash claim that he wanted to have six kids.  Which begged the question – how much would it cost to raise all these adorable bundles of colic and wet diapers?  Compiling data from a number of sources, including the USDA and Costhelper, Visual Economics pulled together a neat infographic showcasing the expenses associated with raising children.

Unsurprisingly, raising a kid today is considerably more expensive than raising a child in the 60s; however, it’s worth noting that almost all of this increase comes from the “Childcare and education” category receiving a significant bump.  (Note: these are pre-college costs for raising a child, so I wonder if that means more parents these days are putting their kids in private schools for better opportunities, hiring more babysitters to help manage their busy schedules or something else.)  I’d be curious to dive into this data more to uncover difference in expenditures based on income, number of children and age of parents.  I would certain suspect that an upper middle-class family with two children would spend more per child than a family living on the poverty line with the same number of children.

That all being said, one thing is for certain: having kids is a huge investment; it’s good to know what you’re getting into.

Patients Like Me: Get Your Data Out of the Silo

I stumbled upon this TED Talk yesterday and found it too compelling not to share.  The speaker, Jamie Haywood describes his brother’s fight with ALS and the ingenious website they built together, where people share and track data on their illnesses.  Their discovery? The enormous power of collective data to explain and predict disease progression.

An individual patient can know their own symptoms, what drugs and treatments they are using, etc, but to deeply understand what fellow folks afflicted with your ailment are going through and how those findings can help you on your path, is far more powerful knowledge.

Are You Smarter Than a Chimp?

The answer… probably not.  At least not in a memory test.  Researchers are Kyoto University used the ‘limited-hold memory task’ to show that their chimps can out-perform college students.  (As far as we’re aware, both college students and chimps alike were not under the influence of a Saturday night bender when taking the test.)

Why don’t you see for yourself if you’re smarter (or at least have a better memory) than a chimp?

Take the test here.

Meet the Tweetures – Twitter Users as Cute One-Eyed Creatures

tweetures Meet the Tweetures   Twitter Users as Cute One Eyed Creatures

Once upon a time, back in Twitter’s early days, a friend of mine equated the new social media network to a cocktail party. Folks gather around topics, disbursing themselves back into the social fabric once something more interesting comes along.  An individual user could just pop in and out or be the center of attention; the interactions more mimicked real world interactions.  They were organic, if you will.

adobe museum of digital media Meet the Tweetures   Twitter Users as Cute One Eyed Creatures

In a project for the Adobe Museum of Digital Design, Kunal Anand, Director of Technology at the BBC, pulled information from the social network via our Twitter Census: TrstRank API and created one-eyed Tweetures who are sized and colored, by influence and type of user, respectively.  These creatures move together around topics and float in space at differing speeds depending on tweet frequency.  What is fascinating about Anand’s project that sets it apart from other Twitter visualizations is the anthropomorphized quality of his representations of Twitter users.

As we work to organize and understand the massive amounts of data we are producing in the social space, I love that there are artists and technologists alike taking the effort to make our digital archive not only informative and useful, but also whimsical and delightful.

tweetures detailed Meet the Tweetures   Twitter Users as Cute One Eyed Creatures


(Thanks, FlowingData for the blog post about this today!)