Information Design Watch

October 30, 2009, 3:39 pm

Hey Jude, Don’t Get Confused

By Henry Woodbury

Hey Jude, the Flowchart

Created by love all this (via Sippican Cottage).

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Charts and Graphs, Diagrams, Information Design, Visual Explanation

October 23, 2009, 3:45 pm

The Mummy Animation Joins the Mummy

By Henry Woodbury

At the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Getty Villa Malibu, our 3D animation of the of Mummy of Herakleides is now installed in the gallery:

Mummy of Herakleides Exhibit at the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Getty Villa Malibu

It’s a perfect day for a trip to Malibu.

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Comments (0) | Filed under: 3D Modeling, Art, Dynamic Diagrams News, Visual Explanation

October 16, 2009, 10:10 am

Infographics for Web Workers

By Lisa Agustin

xkcd-map-of-online-communities

Web Design Ledger offers a collection of infographics of special interest to web workers, including process flows, data driven visualizations, and musings (like xkcd.com’s Map of Online Communities, above).  Enjoy.

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Art, Charts and Graphs, Maps, Technology, Visual Explanation

October 15, 2009, 9:22 am

What Are the Odds?

By Lisa Agustin

death-odds1

Just out this week, the Book of Odds claims to be “the world’s first reference on daily life.”   Normally, I’m not too interested in finding out my odds of surviving a plane crash or ever having eaten pizza for breakfast, but with its broad collection of statistics, articles (“Behind the Numbers: the Sharks and the Vending Machines”), and a personalized feature for creating your own book of odds, the site makes for a fun diversion.  Browse statistics by area of interest (Accidents & Death, Daily Life & Activities, Health & Illness, and Relationships & Society), or use the Visual Browse tool to view odds on a keyword of your choice.  But don’t let the title fool you:  while the site is about numbers, it doesn’t offer gambling or predict the future (too bad).

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Charts and Graphs, Visual Explanation

October 15, 2009, 8:23 am

It’s Mysterious in English, Too

By Henry Woodbury

The Wall Street Journal reports that the French are stymied in their attempt to come up with the proper French term for “cloud computing:”

To translate the English term for computing resources that can be accessed on demand on the Internet, a group of French experts had spent 18 months coming up with “informatique en nuage,” which literally means “computing in cloud.”

France’s General Commission of Terminology and Neology — a 17-member group of professors, linguists, scientists and a former ambassador — was gathered in a building overlooking the Louvre to approve the term.

“What? This means nothing to me. I put a ‘cloud’ of milk in my tea!” exclaimed Jean Saint-Geours, a French writer and member of the Terminology Commission.

“Send it back and start again,” ordered Etienne Guyon, a physics professor on the commission.

And so they have.

My brother reports that the Japanese have no such compulsions. By email he writes:

Japanese borrow English terminology with such carefree abandon that at times even I wonder sometimes why they didn’t use the Japanese equivalent. Though there are so many homophones in Japanese that it can be very convenient to have words whose meanings are confined to a specific context. The English “out,” for example, is used widely in sports: an “out” in baseball, a ball that is “out” in tennis, the “out nine” (and “in nine”) of a golf course.

“Cloud computing” in Japanese is “kuroudo konpuutingu”.

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Current Events, Language, Technology

October 9, 2009, 2:37 pm

Nikon Announces Small World Winners

By Lisa Agustin

nikon-small-world-04_place_17005_3_hayden

Nikon has announced this year’s winners of its Small World Photomicrography Competition.  Pictured above is the winner for 4th place, a cross-section of an Anglerfish ovary, photographed by James Hayden.  Truly amazing.

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Photography

October 9, 2009, 2:12 pm

What is Seeing?

By Lisa Agustin

lotto-word-puzzle

TED Blog just posted a followup interview with neuroscientist/artist Beau Lotto, whose specialty is studying the relationship between your brain and what you see.  According to Lotto, “The light that falls onto your eyes is meaningless.”    In other words, light falling on a surface by itself does not convey meaning.  Rather, what we see is a product of  history, environment, and observation.  Lotto’s 2009 TED Talk, “Optical Illusions Show How We See” demonstrates that optical illusions are not visual tricks so much as a means for making sense of the world based on our accumulated knowledge:

Illusion is more a state of the world than it is a state of mind. What’s being presented to you is an unusual situation. What you see is what would have been useful, given that situation in the past…The far more interesting question is not that “context matters” — not that we see illusions — but why we see them. When you see illusions, you’re entertaining two realities at the same time. You’re seeing one reality (two gray squares look different) but you also know another reality (that the gray squares are, in fact, physically the same).

Lotto’s comments provide good food for thought from an information design perspective, since information (visual or otherwise) has no inherent meaning until we view it through a lens that takes into account what the intended audience cares most about– their needs and goals–a by-product of their experience, expectations, and environment.

To find out more, see Beau Lotto’s web site: http://www.lottolab.org/index.asp.

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Cognitive Bias, Color