Pop Data

Olympic Body Doubles and the Global Fat Check

bodytype Olympic Body Doubles and the Global Fat Checkfatindex Olympic Body Doubles and the Global Fat Check


In the past month, the BBC has released two interactive features around bodies that we found particularly interesting.  In one, you can find out which Olympic athlete has the same height and weight as you and in another, you can see where you rank on the global obesity index.  They are great examples of using publicly available data to create engaging and educational experiences.  Check ’em out and let us know what you think about this kind of data presentation.

You Don’t Have to Be Sixteen…

Actually, you do have to turn sixteen within the year of competition in order to be eligible to compete for the Olympics; however, the general perception of all Olympians being teenagers largely comes from the popular sport of women’s gymnastics, which in the past three Olympic Games has had no competitors over the age of 26.  However, the mid-twenties are a prime age group for Olympic competition.  In fact, most medalists (and gold medalists) are in their twenties.

Check out this cool interactive chart from the Washington Post and see which Olympic sports you may be most competitive in at your age.

averageage You Dont Have to Be Sixteen...

And here’s some notable Olympians who have hit their peak later in life:

Dara Torres, who  at 41,  is the oldest swimmer to ever earn a place on the US Olympic team (2008 Summer Olympics).  She’s a mom of one, who at 40 beat her own American record for the 50-meter freestyle (she originally set the record when she was 15).

John Dane III, owner of Trinity Yachts, the country’s largest mega-yacht builder earned a spot on the 2008 US Olympic sailing team at age 58.  He had been trying out for the Olympics since he was 18 and achieved his dream after 40 years!

I’ll Be There in 20 Minutes

austin trulia commute car Ill Be There in 20 Minutes  austin trulia commute public Ill Be There in 20 Minutes

Happy 4th of July!  On this glorious holiday day, you may find yourself running between barbecues and gatherings around town and you may hear yourself utter a phrase I am frequently guilty of.

Almost no matter where I am going and how long it will realistically take me to get there, I will almost inevitably say “I’ll be there in 20 minutes.”  Thankfully, if you are like me, Trulia has come up with a Commute Map that may actually help us make more accurate predictions.

In the map of Austin to the upper left, you can see the “twenty minute range” around the Infochimps office, which is located just west of downtown Austin.  Thanks to nearby Mopac (aka Highway 1), travelling north and south are a breeze.  Unsurprisingly, the lack of east-west highways and other major roadways makes traversing the city in those directions more time consuming than north and south.

Contrast this with the public transportation to the right and the results are astounding.  Basically, this boils down to a thing that most Austinites are acutely aware of – public transportation here sucks.  Want to get somewhere in twenty minutes on a bus?  Hopefully you’re not trying to leave the neighborhood you’re already in ’cause it ain’t happening.

nyc trulia commute car Ill Be There in 20 Minutes     nyc trulia commute public Ill Be There in 20 Minutes

Contrast this with New York City, whose public transportation system affords transit riders with a range comparable (and arguably, more desirable) than the one available to the driver.  From Chinatown, one can drive to various neighborhoods of Brooklyn and even New Jersey in a short span of time, but by subway, you can reach the neighborhoods just south of Central Park on Manhattan or the artsy DUMBO neighborhood in Brooklyn easily in twenty minutes.

All ranting aside, Trulia has built a pretty amazing little tool here and all from data accessible to anyone: OpenStreetMaps and General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) feeds.  We encourage you to explore the power of publicly available data and its ability to generate amazing insights in the right context.


When Will You Die?

image21 When Will You Die?

This ingenious little chart was put together with publicly available information from the CDC and Census Bureau, showcasing the really cool insights you can find with easy-to-get data.  Interesting, your life expectancy changes as you get older and the gap between life expectancy between men and women narrows with age.

Thanks, Chart Porn.

 When Will You Die?

The Shortest TED Talk Ever

… from one of our favorite data gurus, Hans Rosling. A quick examination of shifting wealth and growing population. Enjoy!

Texas Has Chest Congestion

whatswrongwithtexas Texas Has Chest Congestion

Here’s a great example of how one company takes Big Data and makes it fun.  Help is a drug company that strives to simplify the pharmaceutical choices for customers.  Their website now features a map highlighting sales data from Target and Walgreens called “What’s wrong U.S.?”.  A bar chart for each state shows how many people are buying products for particular ailments versus the national average; you can also click on the state and get region by region details.  For example, Central Texas, home to our home, Austin, TX has a higher than average number of blisters.  Maybe it’s all the running and biking we do!

(via Flowing Data)

Why Geeks Win

We found this great little chart on Chart Porn today and thought it was an excellent representation of the foundations of our company.  Yay, geeks!

image13 Why Geeks Win

52 Billion Chickens

As you enter your weekend, consider this, human beings are outnumbered by lots of creatures in this world, including ants, which Harvard biologist and ant expert, Edward O. Wilson claims outnumber us one million to one. I’d personally suspect we are also greatly outnumbered by numerous varieties of insects, arachnids, and in Austin, grackles.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, we are also outnumbered by chickens.  In 2009, we killed 52 billion chickens for food (to say nothing of the ones we kept alive).  Kind of makes you thankful they aren’t fighting back.

Happy Friday!

FoodforThought 4e09178d45006 w640 52 Billion Chickens

by NatGeo. Browse more data visualizations.


Finding Real Neighborhoods

eastvillage 1024x683 Finding Real Neighborhoods

The boundaries of a neighborhood can be a topic of hot contention. Look to a tourist guidebook, a real estate agent, and a local and you’ll get four about whether or not north of 14th Street still counts as “The Village” in NYC.  Livehoods, a project by the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University takes a social spin on answering these questions and uncovers some truly insightful data of neighborhood boundaries, relationships, activity levels, character, and more.


Livehoods offer a new way to conceptualize the dynamics, structure, and character of a city by analyzing the social media its residents generate. By looking at people’s checkin patterns at places across the city, we create a mapping of the different dynamic areas that comprise it. Each Livehood tells a different story of the people and places that shape it.

newjersey Finding Real Neighborhoods

One thing I found particular fascinating, though not wholly unexpected about the New York City map was the clustering of neighborhoods in New Jersey.  In NYC, with the relative proximity of… everything to everything, it’s not surprising to find that neighborhoods are small areas comprised of a tightly clustered businesses and homes.  In New Jersey, the “neighborhoods” span across a half dozen suburban towns in the same county.

Interested in experimenting with some Foursquare data yourself?  Check out our Foursquare Places API!

Drought Tracking and Texas’ Extreme Weather

Drought map Drought Tracking and Texas Extreme Weather

Living in Austin, TX, it was pretty obvious that last year with its record number of 100+ degree days without rain, thousands of square miles burned in wildfires, and billions lost on agriculture that we were in the middle of a serious drought. The impact across the state and throughout much of the South since October 2010 is staggeringly reviewed in this simple flipbook-style map from NPR.

The potential solutions to the problem are outlined in the Water Plan. It will be interesting to see how the continuation of this drought will affect job growth, home prices, population, and more throughout the state in the coming years.

Various plans for dealing with future droughts and growing demand for water in Texas exist, but most comprehensive — and accepted — is the state Water Plan. It offers a frank assessment of the current landscape, saying Texas “does not and will not have enough water to meet the needs of its people, its businesses, and its agricultural enterprises.” It predicts that “if a drought affected the entire state like it did in the 1950s,” Texas could lose around $116 billion, over a million jobs, and the growing state’s population could actually shrink by 1.4 million people.