Tag Archives | Data

…It’s Website Wednesday: Personas?

Personas

Personas is a fascinating art piece that takes a name and ‘scours the web for information and attempts to characterize the person – to fit them to a predetermined set of categories that an algorithmic process created from a massive corpus of data’.

Personas shows you how the Internet sees you. It allows you to see how the machine is working, revealing the computer’s uncanny insights and inadvertent errors such as the mischaracterizations caused by the inability to separate data from multiple owners of the same name. It is meant for the viewer to reflect on our current and future world where digital histories are as important – if not more important – than oral histories, and computational methods of condensing our digital traces are opaque and socially ignorant – for now. Fortunes are sought through data-mining vast information repositories, and this kind of data is indispensable but far from infallible.

So go ahead; give it your name and give it a shot.

[Personas]

…It’s Website Wednesday: Progress?

Progress

When the United Nations announced UNdata, it created a way to disseminate data stretched out across 22 United Nations databases through one central application. Unfortunately, because UNdata houses 66 million records, it’s tough to get a sense of what’s going on without a visual representation.

Thankfully, Flowing Data decided to take that data and create a website called Progress, which turned the data into a graphical report on the state of the world. It was done as an effort to make this world data more visible, and as a chance to mess around with some data, so the results are both shocking and fantastic at the same time.

[Progress]

[Via: Some Random Dude]

…It’s Website Wednesday: Now?

Sprint Now

Sure, it’s just an ad for Sprint’s wireless data plans, but “Now” is also a fantastically imaginative take on what a start page can be.

The “Now” page is filled with widgets, and each one moves and changes to show some sort of interesting fact or figure when you visit the page. Then, when you mouse over a widget, you can begin to interact with it, either by updating the fact, playing a game, seeing more information, or a number of other unique actions that vary from widget to widget. Plus, if you want to see the data behind the widget, you can flip them over for added info on where each widget’s data comes from.

There’s also a futuristic sounding Now woman that guides you through the site, and gives you the occasional clever sound bite about what’s going on ‘Now’ (though they do get annoying after a short time) and a mechanical sounding noise that plays in the background (because apparently we still haven’t managed to make silent computers in the future), but it’s still a rather entertaining and informative experience that encourages you to play and learn at the same time.

[Now]

…Humans are amazing?

I was trying to explain to someone how incredible I think the fact that we landed the Phoenix rover on the surface of Mars is, and was unfortunately coming up short for words.

However, I think this picture does it pretty good justice:

Phoenix Parachute

Not much to see, eh?

Well, think about this: What you’re seeing is a photo of the Phoenix rover as it descends to the surface of Mars under its own parachute. The photo was taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera as it circles a planet that is tens to hundreds of millions of miles away. As it circles that planet, it’s tracking and photographing a man made object that is gracefully touching down onto the surface of that planet under the guide of its own parachute. Both objects are acting remotely and robotically, and then sending their data back to earth at the speed of light (and it still takes 15 minutes to get here). In short: We created a remote controlled vehicle, shot it millions of miles into the sky, landed it on a precise location on another planet, and then programmed it to run its own scientific experiments and then report back to us with the results.

See what I mean?

[Image Via: Bad Astronomy Blog]

Also, if you’d like to keep track of the rover, follow it on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MarsPhoenix

(What I like most about the Phoenix Twitter is that it’s probably one of the smartest people in the world (a NASA scientist) that has to dumb down what he’s saying and then put it into the third person so that the rest of us can understand what’s going on. Somewhere there’s a guy sitting in a room that’s hating life and wondering when he can leave his Twitter post and get back to playing with the world’s coolest remote control car.)

…Twistori gives you Twitter in a new light?

TwistoriTwistori is an interesting and ongoing social experiment “based on Twitter, inspired by WeFeelFine and drawing data from Summize, hand-crafted by Amy Hoy and Thomas Fuchs”.

Just click on one of the words, and a stream of random tweets will poor out with your chosen word playing a central roll.

[Twistori]

[Via: Twitter Blog]