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Infographics
2

Six Degrees of Joy Division

My local record store used to have this great poster on the back wall that explained how several dozen British indie bands from the 80s were all linked together through their various group members. The title of the poster was something like “Why All These Bands Sound the Same” and it was clearly a tongue-and-cheek …

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Information
4

Addressing the Loss of Institutional Memory

There was an interesting article in the news today that highlights the struggle organizations face when they try to preserve knowledge, codify decisions, or record experiences in a way that can be passed on from one generation of staff to the next. The backstory is that United Airlines recently re-assigned the numbers Flight 93 …

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Design

Time-Distance Diagrams

After I was in a car accident a few years ago, I contacted the city Traffic Control Engineer to see if I could get a copy of the signal timing sequence for the intersection of the street where the accident occurred. The information they provided allowed me to construct a …

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Information

Is Lying to the Public OK?

In a recent post, Lane Wallace discusses the pros and cons of a proposed amendment to Canada’s Broadcasting Act of 1986 which would allow broadcasters more leeway to broadcast false or misleading news. As you might imagine, that has generated some controversy, with free speech advocates saying the current law is too …

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Information

Notes from the Margin: The Tipping Point

I finally had a chance to read Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point the other day and I thought I’d pull together a few quick comments. Things that caught my fancy: Social epidemics – On his website, Gladwell defines a meme as an infectious idea that spreads through a population like …

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Design
2

Fighting Insidious Business Jargon with Design

One of the biggest barriers to introducing new concepts to people is that they often have old, preconceived notions about those concepts that are just close enough to the truth to cause confusion. For example, my company recently started a sales program that establishes performance incentives by “vertical” — one of those vague business …

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Information

Rise of the (Old) Machines

With the recent shutdown of Egypt’s internet and cell phone service, people have started to break out some older technology to keep the flow of information going. Fax machines, dial-up modems and ham radios are all back in vogue now that the communications blackade is up and running. (It kind …

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Design
Discovering New Opportunities for Urban Design in American Cities

“What a city has to say must find expression in its architecture.” Walter Wallmann, Lord Mayor of Frankfurt/Main Here in the U.S., we tend to think of our built environment –- our cities and towns — as mostly finished. Sure, we might tear down a few old buildings or add …

Favorites
What Does the Average Biker Dude Look Like?

CNN published the mugshots of all of the biker gang members who were arrested after the recent shootout in a Waco, TX restaurant. There were a total of 171 pictures, all in the same standard pose and most in the same standard orange jumpsuit: Seeing all of these pictures got …

Design
2
A Force Node Diagram of the U.S. Interstate System

There’s nothing too complicated about this post. I’ve been interested in creating an illustration of the U.S. Interstate system for awhile but my initial concept of a “subway-style” diagram of the network had already been done. After some recent experimentation with the D3 Javascript library, I decided that it might …

Favorites

What Does the Average Biker Dude Look Like?

CNN published the mugshots of all of the biker gang members who were arrested after the recent shootout in a Waco, TX restaurant. There were a total of 171 pictures, all in the same standard pose and most in the same standard orange jumpsuit: Seeing all of these pictures got …

Design
2

A Force Node Diagram of the U.S. Interstate System

There’s nothing too complicated about this post. I’ve been interested in creating an illustration of the U.S. Interstate system for awhile but my initial concept of a “subway-style” diagram of the network had already been done. After some recent experimentation with the D3 Javascript library, I decided that it might …

Design
5

Most Popular Word Roots in U.S. Place Names

My family visited Washington D.C. last year for Spring Break and, during our 12-hour drive, I remember noticing a subtle change in the names of the cities and towns we were passing through. In the beginning, the place names had a familiar mid-western flavor; one that mixed Native American origins …

Favorites
114

Visualizing English Word Origins

I have been reading a book on the development of the English language recently and I’ve become fascinated with the idea of word etymology — the study of words and their origins. It’s no secret that English is a great borrower of foreign words but I’m not enough of an …