Skip navigation
Help

Nathan Yau

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /var/www/vhosts/sayforward.com/subdomains/recorder/httpdocs/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 33.

Mathematician Hannah Fry is back with another video. She explains why it seems like everyone in your network — on Twitter, Facebook, and in real life — is more popular than you and how we can use this idea to predict the spread of diseases. Fry's understated presentation style totally enhances the interesting subject matter.

R

0
Your rating: None

Andrei Kolmogorov is a name unfamiliar to most, but his work had lasting impact. Slava Gerovitch profiled the mathematician, describing the change in thought towards probability theory, which was once more of a joke than a serious approach to evaluate the world. I especially liked the bit about Kolmogorov's appreciation for the arts.

Music and literature were deeply important to Kolmogorov, who believed he could analyze them probabilistically to gain insight into the inner workings of the human mind. He was a cultural elitist who believed in a hierarchy of artistic values. At the pinnacle were the writings of Goethe, Pushkin, and Thomas Mann, alongside the compositions of Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, and Beethoven—works whose enduring value resembled eternal mathematical truths. Kolmogorov stressed that every true work of art was a unique creation, something unlikely by definition, something outside the realm of simple statistical regularity. "Is it possible to include [Tolstoy's War and Peace] in a reasonable way into the set of 'all possible novels' and further to postulate the existence of a certain probability distribution in this set?” he asked, sarcastically, in a 1965 article.

0
Your rating: None

For this rainy Labor Day, here's an uplifting talk by DataKind founder Jake Porway. He talks data and how it can make a worthwhile difference in areas that could use a change.

0
Your rating: None

Spaceships, size comparison

A while back we saw a size comparison of random spaceships. That one pales in comparison to this extensive version by Dirk Loechel. It's got ships from Star Wars, Star Trek, EVE, Babylon 5, Starship Troopers, Titan A.E., and oh so much more.

0
Your rating: None

A video from the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme explains global warming and projected changes in the near future. I wanted them to provide more contrast to the data they showed over the globe, but the story itself is an interesting one.

0
Your rating: None
Original author: 
Nathan Yau

In distributed denial-of-service attack a bunch of machines make a bunch of requests to a server to make it buckle under the pressure. There was recently an attack on VideoLAN's download infrastructure. Here's what it looked like.

So you see this giant swarm of requests hitting the server. In contrast, here's what normal traffic looks like. Much more tranquil.

[via FastCo]

0
Your rating: None
Original author: 
Nathan Yau

PBS Off Book's recent episode is on "the art of data visualization." It feels like a TED talk — kind of fluffy and warm — with several names and visualization examples that you'll recognize. No clue who the first guy is though.

0
Your rating: None
Original author: 
Nathan Yau

After seeing a Reddit post on the convergence of Miss Korea faces, supposedly due to high rates of plastic surgery, graduate student Jia-Bin Huang analyzed the faces of 20 contestants. Below is a short video of each face slowly transitioning to the other.

From the video and pictures it's pretty clear that the photos look similar, but Huang took it a step further with a handful of computer vision techniques to quantify the likeness between faces. And again, the analysis shows similarity between the photos, so the gut reaction is that the contestants are nearly identical.

However, you have to assume that the pictures are accurate representations of the contestants, which doesn't seem to pan out at all. It's amazing what some makeup, hair, and photoshop can do.

You gotta consider your data source before you make assumptions about what that data represents.

0
Your rating: None
Original author: 
Nathan Yau

Show ratings for 24

The quality of television shows follow all kinds of patterns. Some shows stink in the beginning and slowly gain steam, whereas others are great at first and then lost momentum towards eventual cancellation. Using data from the Global Episode Opinion Survey, Andrew Clark visualized ratings over time for many popular shows in an interactive.

The graph represents the average ranking for the show over time. The red lines indicate changepoints, estimations of when the properties of the time-series, typically the mean changes. The intensity of the plot varies according to the number of respondents. An episode of a show that is favourably rated tends to get more people ranking as do earlier episodes in long-running show.

For example, the chart above shows ratings for 24. The ratings started in the 8s and finished in the 7s, which isn't a huge difference really when you compare it to ratings for The Simpsons.

Simpsons

There's a self-selection challenge here. To participate in the GEOS survey, you have to create an account, so there's probably going to be some polarity in the ratings as well as limited sampling for many episodes. So take it all with some salt. Nevertheless, it's fun to poke around and see how your favorite shows changed over time. Most of the ratings matched my expectations.

The R code is available on github if you want to have a go at the data.

0
Your rating: None
Original author: 
Nathan Yau

Here is today

When you focus on all the small events and decisions that happen throughout a single day, those 24 hours can seem like an eternity. Graphic designer Luke Twyman turned that around in Here is Today. It's a straightforward interactive that places one day in the context of all days ever.

You start at today, and as you move forward, the days before this one appear, until today is reduced to a one-pixel sliver on the screen and doesn't seem like much at all.

Data Points: Visualization That Means Something is available now. Order your copy.

0
Your rating: None