Branding and Visualization

Can anyone tell from this image what company’s name is being visualized with artifacts?

Might be hard out of context, but when I went go this morning it was abundantly clear.  Now I don’t see the image as anything besides ‘Google’.

One heck of a brand

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Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Speech

President Obama’s speech is still live on television but thanks to a scoop we can analyze his entire message using our old favorite tool, Wordle.

Can you tease out the major themes?

America, poeple, government, business, work, children, future….

Thanks to a quick analysis with tools from Rainbow Arch we can also get some quick frequency counts of the 6,950 words spoken (1,647 unique).

Connecting words obviously come up at the top.

  1. The: 349
  2. And: 235
  3. To: 215
  4. Of: 196
  5. We: 185

Top meaningful words (my discretion)…

  1. People: 33
  2. America: 26
  3. Jobs: 25
  4. Work: 21
  5. American:19

Amazing how quickly you can analyze a speech that hasn’t even ended yet!

Update: The NY Times has a neat look at buzz words used in State of the Union speeches from FDR to Obama
Update II: Word clouds seem to be a popular data visualization technique tonight.  Check out this from CBC News Canada


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Data on Doggy Years

I always heard the 1:7 ratio for converting dog years into human years.  According to the Dog Food Corner it’s not that simple, because not all dogs are created equal.

The site lists a bunch of variables – such as gender, breed, and living conditions – that affect a dog’s lifespan and comparability to the human timetable.

How much your dog weights also has a lot to do with it.  Here is the dog to human year conversion table they provide:

From this I whipped up the following interactive tool in Adobe Flex to help you determine just when your dog will (or did) get older than you.  Just enter a few stats about yourself and the chart will adjust to show you when your age crosses your dogs age.

For instance, my dog was born in 2009.  I was born in 1981.  My dog, Dr. Elsa Schneider, weights 45 pounds.  According to the data above, it is actually this year that I’ll be the closest to my dog after her actual age is adjusted to human years.  How does your experience compare?

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Visualizing a Trillion Dollars

Via Greg Mankiw I came across this cool way to wrap your head around how much a trillion dollars really is.  I used it in class last week to demonstrate the magnitude of US GDP, which is around $15 trillion.

One TRILLION dollars… What does that look like? I mean, these various numbers are tossed around like so many doggie treats, so I thought I’d take Google Sketchup out for a test drive and try to get a sense of what exactly a trillion dollars looks like.

The author takes you from $100….

to a $1 million dollars….

and finally to $1 trillion dollars…..

Check out the entire post here

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In Praise of Mr Data Converter

An open letter to Mr Data Converter:

Dear Mr Data Converter,

Thank you so much for your awesome and free data converter.  As Flowing Data so eloquently stated yesterday, “Data is rarely in the format you want it”.  Rarely is probably an overly optimistic word for such a statement!   This unfortunate reality is why I was so pleased to come across your tool a few months back.

Much of what I’ve done recently calls for large XML data sets to be loaded into Adobe Flex for interactive visualization projects (public examples embedded here and here). Before stumbling across Mr Data Converter this would require a lot of tedious tweaking on my end.  Now it’s as easy as cutting and pasting from excel to instantly generate well structured XML, actionscript, and JSON data files (and more). This has saved me countless hours and late night headaches.

I will continue to share your converter with colleagues/friends and again thank you for such an easy-to-use data conversion resource.

Kind regards,

Alex Chisholm

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