Information Is Soil
February 10, 2011 2:56 AM   Subscribe

Jer Thorp is the New York Times' current Data Artist in Residence. He creates information-rich animations, most recently of the latest Kepler candidate extrasolar planets [previously]; also a global render of people's uses of Twitter.

Lee Byron is a designer, artist, and biker: his work includes visualisations of Facebook breakups over the course of a year and Hollywood box office revenues, 1986 - 2008.

David McCandless is an "information journalist"; his blog,, has been linked to plenty of times on the blue, but you might enjoy this overview of his work and others at TED. Similarly, Hans Rosling, also mentioned previously.

A lot of the content is extremely Flash-heavy; full-screen mode is recommended for the videos. Most of the visualizations were built using the Processing language, but if you wish to play around with simple data visualisation with no programming, you might want to try GapMinder.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (6 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Hans Rosling is an astounding human being, and now you can be JUST LIKE HIM and make your own motion charts.
posted by The White Hat at 5:13 AM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

These are great visualizations. Thanks for the post!
posted by blucevalo at 6:06 AM on February 10, 2011

I'm not the first to point this out but, 'This graph measures the frequency of the words "breakup" or "broken up" out of all Facebook status updates on each day.'

And there are spikes in this phrase before school holidays.

And his conclusion from that is "Perhaps some combination of seasonal affect disorder and a case of the Mondays has warped the idea of you meeting their family over the holidays into something horrid."

posted by caek at 7:51 AM on February 10, 2011

I have such a nerd crush on Hans Rosling.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 9:21 AM on February 10, 2011

Someone please tell me that's David "Macca" McCandless of seminal early 90's computer mag Zero.
posted by anagrama at 12:47 PM on February 10, 2011

I guess it's not really fully public yet, but Jer Thorp actually demoed a new NYT-internal dataviz tool at Strata ("Big Data" conference just last week.) It seems to be an evolution of his previous work on Twitter trends - a tool called Cascade which they use internally to track who tweets a link to NYT stories and how many people retweet that link. It serves to very neatly follow big movers in terms of information spread. There's a short writeup about it here along with some more stuff from the conference, and there's a shaky youtube, but neither captures the way it populates the graph or the sheer elegance of it.

Regardless, if this subject interests you, I highly recommend you dig into some content from Strata. A ton of people smarter than I presented all the new hotness happening with every kind of data.
posted by pahalial at 9:30 PM on February 10, 2011

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