Clippings to read, watch and listen

Archive for May 2011

Creative Data

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US Census, Housing:

This visualization was created for the Eyeo Festival visualization challenge. The challenge was to have a creative approach in showing 2010 US Census data, preferably not as map. What you see here is housing data for all counties in the US, actually as a scatterplot. Here are some instructions and things to note:

  • the y-axis shows population. Note the logarithmic scale
  • the x-axis for the bubbles shows the number of vacant homes per population
  • the outer circle of the bubble shows the total number of homes
  • the inner bubble shows the vacant number of homes
  • each bubble has a line that connects the bubble to yet another scale: the population / total home ratio
  • you can use the left- and right arrow keys to browse through all the states (make sure that the Applet has the focus; if not, click once on the Applet with your mouse to give it focus).
  • if you move your mouse over a bubble, you can highlight an individual bubble, and at the top right you can see some exact numbers for your selection

There are some interesting things to look for:

  • counties that have more homes than people
  • or, counties that have more than 50% vacant homes

Enjoy!(Click the fullscreen button to see the live Applet. The live Applet is 8Mb due to the size of the data, so just wait until the data has been loaded)

Written by James Thomas

28/05/2011 at 10:29

Posted in 006/ Pattern

AA Microsites

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Written by James Thomas

23/05/2011 at 17:49

Posted in 000/ Reading

Algorithmic data

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From: University of Florida Sparse Matrix collection

Graphs: Gallery of the University of Florida Sparse Matrix Collection

Graph visualization is a way to discover and visualize structures in complex relations. What sort of structures are people who do large scale computation studying? We can get a glimpse by visualizing the thousands of sparse matrices submitted to the University of Florida Sparse Matrix collection using sfdp algorithm . The resulting gallery contains the drawing of graphs as represented by 2408 sparse matrices in this collection. Each of these sparse matrices (a rectangular matrix is treated as a bipartite graph) is viewed as the adjacency matrix of an undirected graph, and is laid out by a multilevel graph drawing algorithm. If the graph is disconnected, then the largest connected component is drawn. The largest graph (Schenk@nlpkkt240) has 27,993,600 vertices and 366,327,376 edges. A simple coloring scheme is used: longer edges are colored with colder colors, and short ones warmer. The graphs are in alphabetical order. Use the “Search” link to find graphs of specific characters.

Written by James Thomas

19/05/2011 at 17:39

Scraper Sitting

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From: Lebbeus Woods

SLUMS: to the stars

A lot of attention is being paid to squatters taking over an unfinished skyscraper in Caracas, Venezuela, and rightly so. It is both a morality tale from which we can draw many harsh lessons about our contemporary global society, and a prophesy of the future. Surely, with vacant land running out in the vast cities that migrants from rural areas are now flocking to by the millions and in every part of the world, it is inevitable that slums will occupy abandoned, unfinished or unleased skyscrapers. The harshest lesson of this phenomenon is that slums are radically out of the control of governments and private institutions that we have no choice but to look to for treating the existence and the effects of this human scourge. Without some measure of control or at least slowing the spread of poverty and slums, it is conceivable that in the next few decades they will begin to overwhelm organized society and eventually push it to the brink of a new Dark Age. In such an age, it will not only be public services that will begin to collapse from overuse, much of it illegal, but social systems of every kind, from education to art, as the financial burden of paying for the problems created by a vast population that pays no taxes will make many of civilized society’s essential activities unsustainable. This is a grim and frightening prospect indeed and one that is already beginning to happen. The takeover of the Caracas skyscraper is not just an oddity. Rather, it is a first drop of rain in a coming storm caused when the global financial system falters, even a little, and a financier-developer must abandon a project for lack of funds. A crack has opened up and it is immediately filled by people desperate to find shelter and establish a community, people who have every right to them but have been excluded from those provided by established society. These people have no choice but look for cracks in the social edifice and, when they find them, move quickly and decisively. As mainstream society falters more under the increasing weight of the impoverished and excluded, more cracks will appear and be filled. It will be an incremental process, but inexorable. Unless, that is, the powers-that-be in our present society begin to address the root causes of poverty.

Another lesson to be learned from the Caracas story is that all those who have been hoping for a social revolution to emerge from the dispossessed squatters and slum-dwellers—the poor—had better think again. What these people want is not a new, egalitarian society founded on ideals of social justice, but only what most others already have—a consumer society with all the bells and whistles and toys. Clearly, the Caracas tower is not a breeding ground for radical social change. It is an unintended parody of the society that created the squatters’ dire situation to begin with.



Written by James Thomas

19/05/2011 at 16:01

Scanning the Mist

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ScanLAB Projects

We have been speculating on the capabilities of 3D scanning.

We thought it might be interesting to see if the scanner could detect smoke and mist. It did and here are the remarkable results!   These scans acted as a test for the later site specific work ‘Slow Becoming Delightful.’

Written by James Thomas

08/05/2011 at 17:57