Grazie Maria Popova! A Beginner’s Guide to Infographics and Data-Driven Storytelling – via The Atlantic


Love Maria Popova’s thinking & terrific site: brainpickings.com

“Data visualization is a frequent fixation of mine and, just recently, I looked at seven essential books that explore the discipline’s capacity for creative storytelling. Today, a highly anticipated new book joins their ranks—Visualize This: The FlowingData Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics, penned by Nathan Yau of the fantastic FlowingData blog. (Which also makes this a fine addition to my running list of blog-turned-book success stories.) Yu offers a practical guide to creating data graphics that mean something, that captivate and illuminate and tell stories of what matters—a pinnacle of the discipline’s sensemaking potential in a world of ever-increasing information overload.

And in a culture of equally increasing infographics overload, where we are constantly bombarded with mediocre graphics that lack context and provide little actionable insight, Yau makes a special point of separating the signal from the noise and equipping you with the tools to not only create better data graphics but also be a more educated consumer and critic of the discipline….”

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Message from the Colbert Super PAC (take note of the details & watch last night’s show – rofl)


Dear Colbert Super PAC Members and Electoral Uruk-hai, 

On June 29th, I sent out a call. A call for all heroes to come together under the banner of Colbert SuperPAC, put some money in a hat, and then leave. And you came: over 120,000 of you joined with the goal of Making a Better Tomorrow… Tomorrow. 

But now, Tomorrow is only a Day away. The Time has come to take a Stand. For Something. We haven’t figured out what It is yet. That’s where You come in. 

Go to http://bit.ly/PACstand and share what matters to you most, whether it’s ending poverty, designing a truly zombie-proof fortress or preserving poverty. Everything is on the table-even tables. 

Your concerns will be scientifically blended with the concerns of other Colbert SuperPAC members, then formed into a nutritious concern loaf for me to cram down Washington’s gullet. 

It’s like a reverse orchestra, where you’re all the conductors and I’m the one musician, armed with an FEC-sanctioned violin made of money. Or maybe an oboe – that’s up to you. You’ve made your money-voice heard, now make your mouth-voice heard. Visithttp://bit.ly/PACstand today…now. 

Why are you still here? 

Sinceriously, 

Stephen Colbert 

President and Chieftain of the Dúnedain, Colbert Super PAC 


Paid for by Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.
www.colbertsuperpac.com

Great Review ‘How Bjork’s ‘Biophilia’ album fuses music with iPad apps’ by Charlie Burton – excerpt (Wired UK)


Today, the wide, tree-lined street in New York’s Brooklyn Heights that Björk calls home is a hubbub of television cast and crew filming the ABC drama Georgetown. Her 280-square-metre penthouse apartment lies atop a muscular 20s redbrick block on the corner, high above the bustle. “You kind of feel like it’s a country house,” Björk says. She is wearing a cadet-grey dress with shiny mauve patches on the shoulder and waist. When the sunlight from the studio windows hits them, they sparkle. The room is airy, with tables for her kit, which includes a keyboard, speakers, computer and a mix of percussion and electronic music controlpads. Björk has spent much time here over the last 36 months working on Biophilia, trying not to feel daunted by the album’s scope.

There was a musicological ambition: she wanted each of the album’s ten songs to emphasise one key idea, such as counterpoint, arpeggios or tempo. And there’s intellectual purpose: each song’s lyrics dwell on a scientific theme that attempts to match its musical concern. In “Crystalline” Björk invokes crystals as a symbol of the track’s structural complexity; “Virus” is so called because of its multiplying phrases. “I hope to show kids that if you base musicology more on structures in nature it’s actually not that complicated,” she says. Although “a bit of a maths nerd” when she was younger, for this album she knew that she would have to learn more about the sciences if she was to unite them convincingly with music.

She worked to self-imposed deadlines, reading books and watching documentaries on everything from astrophysics to cultural theory, focusing on areas where science and sound intersect. One major influence was Oliver Sacks’s book Musicophilia, an exploration of the relationship between music and neurology, to which the album’s title is a nod. Björk undertook more research for this project than for any of her previous albums. One day she found herself explaining string theory to friends in a bar. “It was actually in a pretty cool way,” she says, grinning. “Like I was really good at physics or something.”

For all their chewy themes, Björk felt the songs couldn’t stand on their own. “People are getting a lot of music for free by pirating it,” she says. “But they are going to double [the amount of] shows because they want a 3D, physical experience.” Her instinct, at first, was to provide that experience through a music house, “like a museum”. Each room would be designated a different song, and contain interactive exhibits related to the track. The stairs would be working piano keys. In June 2009 she spoke to National Geographic about another way she could add to the album: working together on a 40-minute 3D IMAX movie of Biophilia. She approached her longtime collaborator, French filmmaker Michel Gondry, who agreed to direct. Björk hoped this film and the music house would not only generate revenue, but also educate — finally realising the vision she had described to her teacher, all those years ago. “This project,” she says, “is also my music-school project.”

Comic-Con: A new generation powered by steam and DIY online – Jeff Gomez on What’s Trending – CBS News


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…The Do-It-Yourself mentality at SDCC is not limited to comics, of course. More and more of these costumes are simply spectacular. I’ve noticed a below-the-radar subgenre has been slowly bubbling to the surface, riding the DIY wave: steampunk. Perhaps the manifestation of 21st century kids yearning for the innocence and mystery of yesteryear by way of Jules Verne and H.G. Welles, steampunk imagines an alternate 18th century world, where we never abandoned steam to power our inventions, but somehow pushed forward into a bejeweled, science-fantasy world. Steampunk costume-players wear ornately tooled gadgets, protective goggles and umbrellas, clockwork broaches, and weathered boots. Bands of them stalk the floor seeking out supernatural menaces, or gathering expeditions to the moon. They sell their handcrafted wares on Etsy, and call for spontaneous meet-ups through Twitter to scavenge antique stores for “parts.” Man, it’s a great time to be a geek…

Alright All! What’s the Verdict Here: ARG? Bad SciFi? New/Old Cult? Nexus Humanus | Creating Sustainable Happiness One Life at a Time


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Check out the video – creeped me out.

Ha Ha Ha: ‘Battleship’ Looks Like the Best Board Game Movie Ever – The Atlantic Wire


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The list of movies adapted from a board game begins and ends with 1985’s Clue. That movie has its fans, but after watching the first teaser trailer for director Peter Berg’s Battleship, which doesn’t arrive in theaters until next Memorial Day weekend, we’re willing to say the bar for future game-to-film adaptations has been raised. Unlike the Milton Bradley game, the movie has a plot (something about aliens), giant robotic bugs that leap out of the sea and onto the fullback from Friday Night Lights, and Liam Neeson. That’s what having a budget reportedly upwards of $200 million can do for a movie…