- March 30, 2012
- March 28, 2012
Eli Pariser, author of “The Filter Bubble” delivers a compelling TEDTalk on the dangerous unintended consequences of web companies tailoring news and search results to our personal tastes. He argues that this personalization is the internet showing us what it “thinks” we should see, as opposed to what we should or need to see.
Arguably, we already live with a filter bubble with the media we choose to ingest and to ignore. Consider the viewers of FOX News versus the Daily Show and the rare folks that cross over or seek out a broader array of opinions. Most folks take in media that reaffirms their existing views, rather than challenging their perspectives. We do this in our personal lives, with the friends we choose and in our business lives, with the narrow view we take on our own data. We encourage all of our readers to consider making uncomfortable decisions – seek out opinions that oppose yours, get into lively debates with your friends and put your data in the context of the broader world. You can read more about the idea of data in context in Flip Kromer’s posts on Big Data Predictions for 2012 and On Being Wrong in Paris.
- March 16, 2012
Last week, we posted a TedxVancouver talk from Jer Thorp about the humanity in data. Today, we bring you the story of Aaron Parecki, who grew from a geo-data obsessed youth (the above are the detailed logs he kept of his commutes with his parents from 1995-1997) to a digital cartography expert. Co-founder of Geoloqi, Aaron has been tracking and visualizing his location every six seconds for the past three years. Projects like this have existed in the past, but Aaron’s dedication to self-surveillance throughout his life is impressive.
What comes out of this data is a beautiful visual story of a person’s life – where he spends his time and how this has changed over time depending on where he’s lived. It’s about as personal of a city map as one can get. To read more about this project and Aaron, check out the Co.Design article and Aaron’s website.
- March 14, 2012
I’ve been reading Superfreakonomics and just finished up the chapter on how the best fixes are often the simplest and cheapest. This talk from Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame reminds us of how simple ideas have lead to some of the most revolutionary scientific discoveries. Both are great reminders for your professional and personal lives.
- March 12, 2012
We’ve been deep in the chaos of SXSW Interactive since late last week and it’s amazing to see how much the conference has changed even in the few years that we have existed as a company. Even more amazing is how far the conference has come since it’s inception in 1994 (18 years ago!) and how it’s changed from a music festival with a “film and multimedia conference” tacked on to the launchpad for tech that it is today. In 2010, the number of attendees for Interactive surpassed Music for the first time and by all accounts it seems like this trend will only continue.
- March 7, 2012
Jer Thorp is the data artist in residence at The New York Times. His projects, including Cascade and the September 11th Memorial, focus on using data to uncover and showcase the underlying humanity in human-generated data. Check out his talk in the video above and head over to his G+ page where you can check out a surprising conversation that sprung up around capitalism and data.
- February 1, 2012
Ben Fry of Fathom Information Design put together this elegant interactive visualization of publicly available Wikipedia data around the Fortune 500, America’s largest corporation. His intent was to show how 84,000 data points could be easily viewed and navigated in one interactive piece. We think he did an amazing job using the clean, simple display to tell rich stories of company histories and the rise and fall of our country’s top corporations.
One company that stands out in our minds is Eastman Kodak, who enjoyed growing revenues and steady profitability for decades. Then, in 1990, Logitech came out with the Dycam Model 1 black-and-white digicam, the world’s first completely digital consumer camera and the following decades only saw the further proliferation and now dominance of this technology. Kodak never quite stayed with the trend and this lead to their falters and declaration of bankruptcy just a few weeks ago.
Fry’s interactive visualization is chock full of other amazing stories and insights. We highly recommend checking it out. Want to make something awesome with Wikipedia data? We’ve got an API for that.
- January 27, 2012
Depending on who you are, the sight of a gorgeously simple yet eclectic fixed gear bicycle may make your mouth water or may fill you with ire. Perhaps if you feel the former, you are the current owner of several pairs of skinny jeans, a pearl snap vintage shirt and ironic glasses. In other words, you are a hipster.
According to the folks on Quora, fixed gear bicycles (or fixies) are considered to be a strong indicator of hipsterness. The folks at Priceonomics blog, as part of their effort to build a comprehensive bicycle pricing guide, have measured what kinds of used bicycles people sell and the quantity sold in cities across the US. To find where the hipsters live, they mined their database of 1.3 million bicycle listings to determine where the various markets for used fixed gear bicycles existed and which were the strongest (most sales) and therefore likely had the highest number of hipsters.
Surprisingly, places commonly thought of to be high in hipster density, including San Francisco and Portland do not top the list. Commonly thought of hipster mecca, Brooklyn (NYC) doesn’t even make the top 25. (You can see the full list here.) We’re pleasantly surprised that our hometown of Austin, TX ranks below Boise in hipsterness (at least as indicated by used fixed gear bicycle sales).
Now, this is a bit of a silly parallel to draw and certainly does not take into account the bike-ability of a city, let alone the individual reasoning various folks have for riding fixed gear bicycles, but it’s nevertheless a fun analysis of a massive corpus of bicycle pricing data.
- January 26, 2012
- January 25, 2012
Earlier this week, YouTube revealed that users are uploading one hour of video every second to the site. It’s quite the amazing milestone, not only speaking to YouTube’s massive success, but also the mind-boggling rate at which we are producing data. Furthermore, it was revealed that the average YouTube visitor spends an average of 15 minutes a day on the site, accounting for a total of 4 billion video views per day.
It can be overwhelming for most to understand the sheer size of these numbers, so to help put things into perspective, YouTube has created One Hour Per Second. You’ll see some interesting comparisons, such as the one above, which shows that 3 minutes and 36 seconds of uploads to YouTube is equal to 9 days or the time it takes for a decapitated cockroach to die. Yikes.