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31 Oct 14:05

You need to know something

by Mark Liberman

This is delightful!

I'm happy to see that Google Translate is still turning (many types of) meaningless character sequences into spoken-word poetry. Repetitions of single hiragana characters are an especially reliable source — here's "You need to know something":

And "I feel a strange feeling":

And "Stay free to leave":

Repeated combinations also often work — here's repetitions of "Ga mama" rendered as "Let it go / As it is":

These works also often reveal some interesting things about the letter-to-sound part of Google's current text-to-speech algorithms, e.g. the performance of that last one:

And as usual, if you ask for it again, you get a performance that sounds like the system has had a drink or five:

Here are the inputs in case you want to try them:








24 Oct 21:15

Finding yoga-poses constellations in the night with neural network

by /u/sataky


24 Oct 20:54

Cave Distribution in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia (KTAG) [OC]

by /u/chucksutherland

Very interesting blog, lots of other neat cave maps there too!

24 Oct 20:47

Analyzing the best cities for Amazon's HQ2

by /u/rantdurdenwu

Will it be one of their top 5?

24 Oct 20:46

Where Your Elements Came From - Great APOD today

by /u/box110a

Fantastic period table interpretation!

23 Oct 13:53

Steel Mesh Kraken Sunken Off British Virgin Islands to Create an Artificial Reef

by SA Rogers

This is beautiful!

[ By SA Rogers in Destinations & Sights & Travel. ]

Perched atop the Kodiak Queen, a former WW2-era Navy fuel barge, this 80-foot ‘Kraken’ now serves as the base of an artificial reef and marine research station on the ocean floor near the British Virgin Islands. The project, entitled BVI Art Reef, accomplishes a range of goals all at once: saving a decorated ship from destruction, transplanting coral to a new site in the hopes that it will flourish, creating an epic dive site and underwater art gallery, and providing a new habitat for marine life.

Photographer Owen Buggy documented the process, from the early stages of building the massive sea monster to sinking it in April 2017 to checking out the results a few months later. Sunken off the coast of the island Virgin Gorda with the help of tugboats and helicopters, the installation is already helping to rehabilitate heavily over-fished marine populations. Filmmaker Rob Sorrenti also got some great footage, presented as a documentary entitled ‘The Kodiak Queen,’ which is due for release in early 2018.

“This is the story of learning from past lessons and coming together to create something greater; rooted in joy and fueled by the power of play,” reads the BVI website. “This is the story of a group of friends from around the world who fell in love with the BVIs… and turned a weapon of war into a platform for unity – and a catalyst for new growth. This charitable kick-off in the British Virgin Islands combine art, ocean conservation, world history, marine science and economy… to solve a series of challenges in the BVIs by asking: how can we use play and collaboration to install permanent solutions that boost the local economy, secure the prosperity of these pristine islands for generations to come?”

“Our solution: a fantasy art eco-dive and ocean conservation site that puts the BVIs on the map as having one of the most unique and meaningful dive sites in the world… and one of the most forward-thinking approaches to creative problem solving that secures the education of its youth, and the health and prosperity of this island nation.”

Get updates on the project at the BVI Art Reef Facebook page.

Larger Than Life: 10 Monuments Honoring Nelson Mandela

Though Nelson Mandela's passing will spur the creation of memorials worldwide, a number of larger-than-life tributes are already extant or planned. Nelson Mandela Capture Monument (images ...

Valley of the Dolls: Missing People Replaced with Puppets

It sounds like the premise of a science fiction film, but deep in a rural valley of Japan there is a town where eerily lifelike dolls have been slowly replacing actual residents of Nagoro for ...

House of Eternal Return: Trippy Exhibit Owned by George RR Martin

Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin purchased a sprawling abandoned bowling alley in Santa Fe, New Mexico so an art collective called Meow Wolf could transform it into a bizarre and ...

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[ By SA Rogers in Destinations & Sights & Travel. ]

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09 Oct 18:46

What men and women think about their partners’ careers and help at home


I feel like this could be a good bit of data to re-visualize.

ACROSS the Western world, women greatly outnumber men in lower-level jobs, such as clerical and administrative positions, whereas managerial and senior jobs are mostly held by men.
09 Oct 18:46

The “bump stocks” used in the Las Vegas shooting may soon be banned

AMERICA is still in shock after its deadliest mass shooting in modern history. On October 1st Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada, broke a pair of windows in a 32nd-floor hotel room in Las Vegas and opened fire on the crowd at a nearby country-music concert.
09 Oct 18:45

Landslide for the "Did Not Vote" Candidate in the 2016 Election!

by Randy

1) Voter Suppression and 2) Candidates who do not represent the interests of the average citizen.

From BrilliantMaps, this is the Did Not Vote Election Map, showing the magnitude if all voting-eligible adults that did not actively vote in the 2016 Presidential election. A Presidential candidate needs 270 Electoral College votes to win. The "Did Not Vote" candidate would have have gathered 41% of the total votes from the voting eligible population, and 471 votes from the Electoral College! A Landslide!

The map above shows what the 2016 US Presidential Election results would have been if votes not cast for Hillary, Trump or one of the third party candidates had gone to fictional candidate “Did Not Vote.”

 As a percentage of eligible voters, Clinton received 28.43% (65,845,063) of all votes compared to Trump’s 27.20% (62,980,160) and Did Not Vote’s 44.37%(102,731,399).

Total voter turnout was estimated to be 55.3% of the voting age population and 59.0% of the voting eligible population.

Map created using 270 To Win, based on reddit user Taillesskangaru’s posts here and updated here.

Disclaimer: The map above was accurate as of January 17th, 2017. Totals below were true at the time of writing but may no longer currently be accurate as additional votes and recounts are conducted.

Thanks to Mike Wirth for sharing on Facebook!

09 Oct 15:29

Too much rain for a rainbow

by Kenneth Field

Excellent review of cartography in hurricane reporting. Whatever your views of the NYT are, their data visualization team is first rate.

National Weather Service today updated its rainbow colour scheme because of the unprecedented deluge caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

Bravo for NWS in modifying its cartographic approach given a change in the phenomena it's mapping. Except they didn't do a very good job.



The previous classification had 13 classes. the new one simply adds two more at the top end to deal with larger rain totals. In fact, all they've done is added detail to the 'greater than 15 inches' class and sub-divided it into three classes '15-20', '20-30' and 'greater than 30'. It'd be pedantic of me to note they still have overlapping classes (they do) but the bigger problem is they retained the same rainbow colour scheme and then added two more colours...a brighter indigo and then a pale pink.

Does that light pink area in the new map above look more to you? Or perhaps a haven of relative stillness and tranquility amongst the utter chaos of the disaster?  Yes, the colours are nested and so we can induce increases and decreases simply through the natural pattern - but the light pink could just as easily be seen as a nested low set of values than the more it is supposed to represent.

For a colour scheme that is trying to convey magnitude...more rain...more more more, you need a scheme that people perceive as more, more, more too. Different hues do not, perceptually, do that. Light pink does not suggest hideous amounts of rain compared to the dark purples it is supposed to extend.

We see light as less and dark as more. Going through a rainbow scheme where lightness changes throughout (the mid light yellow at '1.5-2.0' inches is a particular problem) isn't an effective method. Simply adding colours to the end of an already poor colour scheme and then making the class representing the largest magnitude the very lightest colour is weak symbology. But then , they've already used all the colours of the rainbow so they're out of options!

The very least they should have done is re-calibrated the classes to make the largest class encompass the new, out-of-all-known-range range. You can't simply add more classes when you're already maxed-out of options for effective symbolisation.

Better still, look around and learn how it should be done. The Washington Post has made a terrific map using a colour scheme that does have a subtle hue shift but whose main perceptual feature is the shift in lightness values. So we see more, more more as the colour scheme gets darker. It's simple. it really is.

The scientific community continues to use poor colour schemes and poor cartography to communicate to the general public. At least the mainstream media is doing a much better job.

[Update 29.8.2017 to include the New York Times piece]

New York Times today published one of the best maps I have seen in a long while. I mean 'best maps' of anything, not just the continuing deluge in Texas. Its simplicity belies its complexity and that's the trick with good cartography. Here's a pretty lo-res grab but go to the site and take a look.

They've got the colours spot on, A slight hue shift to emphasize light to dark but cleverly hooking into the way in which we 'see' deeper water as darker blue. Of course, it isn't really deeper blue but the way light is reflected, refracted and absorbed by water gives us that illusion. So, it acts as a visual anchor that we can relate to.

There's other symbology too - small gridded proportional circles that show the heaviest rainfall in each hour. The map is an animation so this gives a terrific sense of the pulsing nature of the movement of successive waves of rain (literally, waves!). The colours morph towards the higher end as the animation plays to build a cumulative total. This also has the effect of countering the natural change blindness we see when we're trying to recall the proportional symbols.

The two symbols work in harmony. And then, for those who want detail a hover gets you a graph showing the per hour total over the last few days.

These aren't the only maps in the NYT piece. The article is full of them. Each one carefully designed to explore a specific aspect of the disaster: the history of storms, reports, evacuations etc.

It's maps like those from The Washington Post and New York Times that prove that good cartography does exist and it matters. We really don't deserve the sort of maps that NWS pumps out. They're just really awful to look at, fail on a cognitive level and prove they haven't the first clue about how to effectively communicate their own science and data.

The irony is that the NYT map uses the NWS data of the rainfall data to make their own version and prove that it's perfectly possible to make terrific maps that communicate and which once again give us more reasons to #endtherainbow. Well played.


09 Oct 15:26

Share of Politico stories mentioning the word "Poll" over time [OC]

by /u/j_yazman

The comments section contains a link to the data itself:

06 Oct 14:04

I do these interactive data vis projects where people use push pins and string to add data to a board, and then I digitize them in Adobe Illustrator afterwards. [OC]

by /u/whiskeyfoxtrot_

This is great!

06 Oct 13:49

Excel is the graveyard of charts, no!

by junkcharts

A good note about excel charts, they're not entirely worthless.

It's true that Excel is responsible for large numbers of horrible charts. I just came across a typical example recently:


This figure comes from Edward Wolff's 2012 paper, "The Asset Price Meltdown and the Wealth of the Middle Class." It's got all the hallmarks of Excel defaults. It's not a pleasing object to look at.

However, it's also true that Excel can be used to make nice charts. Here is a remake:


This chart is made almost entirely in Excel - the only edit I made outside Excel is to decompose the legend box.

It takes five minutes to make the first chart; it takes probably 30 minutes to make the second chart. That is the difference between good and bad graphics. Excel users: let that be your inspiration!

04 Oct 17:56

Cost of living in america - broken up by sector as well

by /u/Tiffany_Aching

There is no reason for this to be a circle.

04 Oct 17:55

Tree of Life Explorer

by /u/omaraltaher

This is a fantastic resource!

02 Oct 19:00

Pleased to Meet You

by Greg Ross

Vito d’Incognito is a very cool name. :)

Unusual personal names collected by onomasticist Elsdon C. Smith for his Treasury of Name Lore, 1967:

  • Dr. Pacifico D. Quitiquit
  • Lala Legattee Wiggins
  • Stanley Toogood
  • Effie Bowleg
  • Polycarp Pridgen
  • Merriweather Trivelpiece
  • Aspidia Snitch
  • Tabaca Blacksheep
  • Iva Headache
  • Marietta Avenue Jeeter
  • Vaseline Malaria
  • Soda Water
  • Ten Million
  • St. Elmo Bug
  • Fice Mook
  • Trammer W. Splown
  • Gulley Cowsert
  • Buckshot Magonicle
  • Teemer Furr
  • Sepnoress Gorce
  • Heathcliff Heimerdinger
  • Honeysuckle Ginsberg
  • Ephraim Very Ott
  • Gladys Whysoglad
  • Park A. Carr
  • Creekmore Fath
  • May June July
  • Melody Tunes
  • Ann Ant
  • Fairy Duck
  • Vito d’Incognito
  • Napoleon N. Waterloo
  • Tressanela Noosepickle
  • Osbel Irizarry
  • Athelstan Spilhaus
  • Weikko Tinklepaugh
  • Twilladeen Hubkapiller

According to the Veterans Administration, Love’n Kisses Love is a deceased sailor formerly of Bremerton, Washington. Walt Disney employed an animator named T. Hee. Outerbridge Horsey VI was named ambassador to Czechoslovakia in 1963. (“I am the sixth Outerbridge Horsey and my unhappy son is the seventh. In fact, the only trouble with any new post is explaining the name to people.”) Gisella Werberzerck Piffl was a character actress in Australia in 1948. Two police officers who worked together in Long Beach, California, in 1953 were named Goforth and Ketchum. Jack Benny’s wife said that the firm Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn (now BBDO) “sounds like a trunk falling down stairs.”

And “When Mrs. Rum of Chicago divorced her husband she was allowed to resume her maiden name of Cork.”

See Local Color, Roll Call, Pink Labels, Roll Call, Roll Call, and Bent Handles.

02 Oct 16:21

30 Years of Income Tax in Canada [OC]

by /u/wrkyle

The animation at the top if SUPERB! It very clearly illustrates the concept of a progressive income tax.

02 Oct 16:18



Wow, this is a very trippy Autumn-themed gif!

29 Sep 13:41

In visualization, captions are as important as graphics themselves

by Alberto Cairo

An excellent reflection on the "cone of uncertainty".

(Updated on September 8 and 9. Go to the bottom of the post)

Data visualization isn't just about visualizing data, but also about writing headlines, intros, captions, explainers, and footnotes. I'm right now closely following the news about hurricane Irma —I live in Miami!— and feeling both amazed and terrified by the many great graphics news organizations and independent designers are publishing. As I've just tweeted, beauty is sometimes correlated with terror.

Anyway, I've just read a very good graphics-driven story in The Washington Post. This is its first map:

This is its caption:

I'm no expert in weather forecasting, but I believe that this is inaccurate. To learn why, go to minute 14:30 in my keynote at Microsoft's Data Insights summit. Here's some of what I said there:

Maps based on cones of uncertainty are quite problematic, as this article by Jen Christiansen, and this other by Robert Kosara explain. Among other reasons, some people don't see in that cone the possible range of paths the center of the hurricane can take, but the size of the hurricane itself.

This happens event to those who, like me, do know how to read this kind of map. I need to consciously struggle with my brain's inclination to see a physical object, and not a probability range. Why? I don't know for sure, but I'll make a conjecture: it's because the representation looks pictorial. The rounded shape of the tip of the cone roughly resembles the shape of a hurricane.

This map is made even more confusing if a black line is placed in the middle of the cone. Just read tweets like this. People may see that line not as a visual aid to emphasize the center of the cone (right), but as the most probable path (wrong).

Going back to the caption, the reason why it sounds wrong to me is related to something most of you probably aren't aware of: the cone of uncertainty doesn't represent the range of all possible paths the hurricane could follow, based on simulations. This excellent paper explains that the most common cone, the one by NHC, “accurately predicts the ultimate path of the tropical cyclone’s center about 2/3 of the time (J. Franklin 2005, personal communication). In other words, one out of three storm centers directly impact areas outside of the cone.” That's a 66%-33% chance.

Therefore, the caption could say something like this: “Based on predictive simulations of past hurricanes, there are 2 out of 3 chances that the path of the center of the hurricane could be anywhere within this cone, and a 1 out of 3 chance it will be outside of it.” This is longer and clunkier —I'm sure that any copy editor in the audience can improve it!— but truer to reality.

This other map shows the actual uncertainty of predictive simulations quite well; notice the faded lines, corresponding to less probable (but still possible) paths:

UPDATE: It seems that NOAA is listening. See the explanation that they have been tweeting. It ought to be published next to every single cone of uncertainty map out there:

UPDATE 2: The map below, by meteorologist Ryan Maue, is far better than any cone of uncertainty map if your goal is to inform the general public about the risks posed by wind. See it animated. The scale is predicted maximum wind speed in mph.

21 Sep 17:12

‘seinfeld’ scriptwritten by 10 people using predictive text...


This is magnificent. I would watch this show.

‘seinfeld’ script

written by 10 people using predictive text keyboards

source: transcripts of episodes from season 3 of seinfeld. source texts specific to character with separate source for stage directions. 18 word options at each step. finished script also includes one or two stage directions generated by a recurrent neural network.

writers: carl s, corey g, elle o, erin m, gabe m, jonah c, joseph p, kai c, rob d

editors me and rob d


What’s the the problem with the
minimalism? You know, if you enjoy
being around alcoholics, I’m gonna
go ahead and never return that
JERRY and ELAINE are carrying leaves in their hands. He tries
to grab a door and she imitates the door.
Well the elevator opens and wrong
side of the door… I thought
maybe the door’s not waiting, but
it said “going down” and Kramer
couldn’t help me move it.  I just
wanted to get out of it, just get
He slams his hand on the door. KRAMER enters dancing with
Hey hey hey, great idea for a big
sponge: Make it so large you think
it’s got a fat clock in the
(takes off his bones)
Kramer, do you have a fun
flashback to do?
George is wearing a $20 hat that says “Hello to Horse.”
I’m kinda like the captain of
Mind the fish, George! Elaine, say
something to George. Look for
anything wrong with him.
Right now I want to find someone
who doesn’t believe George is back
from the bathroom.
(takes the garbage and moves
Elaine isn’t exhausting but I’ll
bet three days of straight fear
I’m not bitter.
First dog to get George will be my
George walks at her seriously.
I’ll pay attention to George when
he talks louder. He never says
anything wrong but his intellect
is dying with him.
George walks back to George’s parents.
Kramer enters quickly, sliding around the floor on his knees.
Jerry is watching TV. Jerry notices something in the
refrigerator. Elaine smoking at the crowd.
Hey I’m thinking Jerry, I’m really
sweating Jerry. Jerry, I have a
woman comin and she does it mean,
you know?
(relaxously handily talking)
Well, the couch is not going to be
washed by me you know, I’ve got
Knick tickets this Wednesday and
George gets soup on the road.
Snacks are piled high in the guest room. Jerry spots them and
takes a photograph.
(cynical voice)
Jerry can you be a big salad and
give me a meal?
George enters acting very strange. He picks up the remote
control and tries to run with it.
Hey George, what’s wrong with you?
Oh Jerry, Jerry just sit there and
try to hear my machine. Jerry I
really have a hot dog in there and
I’m not going to lie to it.
What’s the difference? You became
a legend, I got a big picnic.
George, Elaine and Jerry lean back and forth. Elaine, laughing
hypocritically, sports a couple of muscle relaxers. Jerry
looks at the psychic’s apartment, the phone and George. Helen
walks toward Elaine and George is a double look at the
bathroom. George is touching the cowbanes. Kramer is barely
laughing. Elaine making the newspaper. Jerry looks at Jerry.
Jerry unlocks the hot ends. He like it. Jerry is not heard
with his fingers. Jerry walks out of the blade, with a music
No no no no no no no no god no no
god no you should get out of here
right now. You’re real turkey club
without any crackers, aren’t you?
What’s the deal with this ping
pong guy? He mumbles something
like ya ya huh ha ha oh no no go.
I’ve never been called an egg but
you could do it.

13 Sep 16:54

The little of visualisation design: Part 43

by Andy Kirk

I have never been to any of these. :( Gotta change that!

This is part of a series of posts about the ‘little of visualisation design’, respecting the small decisions that make a big difference towards the good and bad of this discipline. In each post I’m going to focus on just one small matter – a singular good or bad design choice – as demonstrated by a sample project. Each project may have many effective and ineffective aspects, but I’m just commenting on one.

The ‘little’ of this next design concerns z-sorting and how you manage the depth-arrangement of overlapping value series. The chart in question comes from an article by FiveThirtyEight titled ‘The National Parks Have Never Been More Popular‘.

The bump chart plots the relative popularity, in ranking terms, of the US national parks going back over 100 years. With an increasing range of recognised parks and, one must assume, an ever-expanding register of visitor data, there is a lot to plot in one chart and a risk of creating lots of noise and limited signal.

Three key things happen here. Firstly, only 11 of the parks are coloured, creating editorial emphasis versus all the other categorical series, which are included but presented in grey and without labels. Secondly, you will see there is a white outer-stroke wrapped around the coloured lines to help them pop-out a little further. Thirdly, and the main thrust of this post, is the decision to apply z-sorting on the coloured lines whereby the most recent rankings influences the overlapping order when lines meet back through the timeline. So, for example, The Great Smoky Mountains line is always on top, the Grand Canyon will then be on top of all other lines apart from the Great Smoky Mountains etc.

The post The little of visualisation design: Part 43 appeared first on Visualising Data.

13 Sep 16:53

Infographic design sins in meme form

by Nathan Yau


Visual editor Xaquín G.V. recently used the distracted boyfriend meme to represent our attraction to novel visualization methods when a simple and visually sound method is right there at our disposal.

Then he ran with it to illustrate his professional sins as an editor for a news desk.

Tags: meme, sins

11 Sep 15:49

How much home can you buy for 200k in every state?

by /u/VaporizerWizard

Indiana wins.

11 Sep 15:43

Radar of Hurricane Irma Passing Through the FL Keys [oc]

by /u/waltc97

Another radar animation with a longer timescale.

11 Sep 15:41

Timelapse of predictions vs actual paths for Irma, Jose, and Harvey, updated with help from reddit [OC]

by /u/savagedata

I wish this would be available for all hurricanes.

07 Sep 12:20

Bubbles.  Twitter, Facebook.


Twitter, Facebook.

28 Aug 15:29

Let’s enjoy some eclipse content from Tumblr


That last image is fantastic. :)





image (see also this 1-bit conversion by


“The eclipse is beautiful,” raves

hope you enjoyed the eclipse if you were lucky enough to be in its path :)
07 Aug 14:29

My Car’s Fuel Economy [OC]

by /u/scizormytimbers

Seasonal variations in fuel efficiency.

07 Aug 14:23

Map of the population density in the Arab Republic of Egypt as of 2010 [2952x2716] [OC]

by /u/Poutchika

Basically, live along the Nile Delta ... or don't live at all.

07 Aug 14:22

Months 3 to 17 of my baby's sleep and breastfeeding schedule [OC] (data collected manually and visualized in Excel)

by /u/jitney86

It's really remarkable to see the initial static and randomness turn into regular cycles. If this continues I wonder how the nap times in the middle of the day will eventually fade away.