What's Cooking in Thanksgiving

From the NYTimes

: As cooks turn to the Web for Thanksgiving recipes, the terms they enter into search engines can provide clues to what dishes are being cooked around the nation. On Wednesday on


“sweet potato casserole” was by far the most common search term nationwide. It was tops in 36 of the 50 states and easily outpaced the No. 2 entry, “pumpkin pie.” |

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Cost of Getting (Chronically) Sick



GE made an interactive visualization of the costs to insurers and the individual with a chronic condition like hypertension or diabetes that uses age as the main independent variable.  The goal is "to gain a deeper understanding of healthcare costs, [by] combin[ing] the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) with 500K records from GE's proprietary database....The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, is a set of large-scale surveys of families and individuals, their medical providers, and employers across the United States. MEPS is the most complete source of data on the cost and use of health care and health insurance coverage."

Chris Harrison

Chris Harrison is a third year Ph.D. student in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University who primarily works on novel input devices and display technologies.  His projects hail from a variety of fields, including computer science, information visualization, engineering, history and HCI.  With a background like that, it's no wonder he has such an impressive array of projects.  Of particular interest here are his visualization projects.  Get inspired.

Ten Thousand Cents



As mentioned in Aaron Koblin's talk, "Ten Thousand Cents" is a digital artwork that creates a representation of a $100 bill. Using a custom drawing tool, thousands of individuals working in isolation from one another painted a tiny part of the bill without knowledge of the overall task. Workers were paid one cent each via Amazon's Mechanical Turk distributed labor tool. The total labor cost to create the bill, the artwork being created, and the reproductions available for purchase (to charity) are all $100. The work is presented as a video piece with all 10,000 parts being drawn simultaneously. The project explores the circumstances we live in, a new and uncharted combination of digital labor markets, "crowdsourcing," "virtual economies," and digital reproduction.

Social Collider

The Social Collider reveals cross-connections between conversations on Twitter. With the Internet's promise of instant and absolute connectedness, two things appear to be curiously underrepresented: both temporal and lateral perspective of our data-trails. Yet, the amount of data we are constantly producing provides a whole world of contexts, many of which can reveal astonishing relationships if only looked at through time.

This experiment explores these possibilities by starting with messages on the microblogging-platform Twitter. One can search for usernames or topics, which are tracked through time and visualized much like the way a particle collider draws pictures of subatomic matter. Posts that didn't resonate with anyone just connect to the next item in the stream. The ones that did, however, spin off and horizontally link to users or topics who relate to them, either directly or in terms of their content.

The Social Collider acts as a metaphorical instrument which can be used to make visible how memes get created and how they propagate. Ideally, it might catch the Zeitgeist at work.

More information here & here.

Image (below) is the result of searching for 'homework' in the past day.




Cabspotting traces San Francisco's taxi cabs as they travel throughout the Bay Area. The patterns traced by each cab create a living and always-changing map of city life. This map hints at economic, social, and cultural trends that are otherwise invisible. The Exploratorium has invited artists and researchers to use this information to reveal these "Invisible Dynamics." The core of this project is the Cab Tracker. The Tracker averages the last four hours of cab routes into a ghostly image, and then draws the routes of ten in-progress cab rides over it.

The Time Lapse area of the project reveals time-varying patterns such as rush hour, traffic jams, holidays and unusual events. New projects are produced by the Exploratorium's visiting artists and also created by the larger Cabspotting community.