The USDA has upgraded it’s plant hardiness map, which is based on average annual extreme temperatures. Horticulturists and gardeners use the maps as a gauge of what types of plants to grow. Some people think the new data indicates that temperatures are rising, and having visible effects on growing seasons and plant diversity. The USDA is (probably wisely) dodging the climate change aspects, pointing out that the methodologies used weren’t quite the same in the two versions. If you want to have fun, do a google news search for “plant hardiness” and see how different media coverage is of this (Chicago Sun Times, ThinkProgress, MSNBC).
The Washington Post used an interactive slider design on their map to let you flip between views of 1990 and 2012:
You can view static and interactive versions at the USDA site, as well as download the dataset.
An interesting (ok, quick poll: should I stop calling things interesting? I only post stuff I think is interesting – seems a bit redundant, no?) long term look at new technology. At first look, it’s a bit boring and geeky – but the interactive popup descriptions really flesh it out. It would be easy to quibble about where things fall on the timeline, but overall I really enjoyed reading about all the hypothetical tech. Now that we have realized most of the science fiction from the 1900s, it was nice to see that we still have ways to dream and imagine. (via)
I’ve loved these types of charts since I first saw them used for insight into the Arab Spring discontent. What’s great about the version linked below is the country coverage that Worldlifeexpectancy.com has managed to pull together – it’s very impressive. If you wander the site, there are a lot of additional maps and charts on global causes of death, life expectancy, and other fun demographic topics. (via)
On a design note: Wow. I haven’t seen someone attempt a black background and glowing neon fonts in such a manner since the earliest days of the internet. I don’t know whether to applaud the boldness and bust out some glowsticks, or put on sunglasses to prevent a seizure. I suppose since it’s all about death, the black kinda works.
A new high resolution (down to 30m) map of US forests created using a compilation of data from “space-based radar, satellite sensors, computer models, and a massive amount of ground-based data.” There’s also a detailed article about the project and the decisions that went into it. I guess I knew the midwest was sparse – but I didn’t think it was THAT sparse.
Luckily we have brains to figure out what’s really going on. (via)
Interesting work on flavors and food pairings over at Nature.com.
Each node denotes an ingredient, the node color indicates food category, and node size reflects the ingredient prevalence in recipes. Two ingredients are connected if they share a significant number of flavor compounds, link thickness representing the number of shared compounds between the two ingredients.
Who has some of the coolest data around? NASA, of course. While you can dig around their numerous websites looking for gems, they have pulled together many of their best work into a free iPad App. The quality of the visualizations is incredible, and most of them are well annotated/narrated. They add 8-10 new visualizations each month.
Here are stills from some of the videos:
The key is a bit complicated at first, but there’s lots of interesting information here.
For additional info, check out http://cancerhelp.cancerresearchuk.org/type/lung-cancer/
The WSJ explains some of the science behind new checkout procedures you might be seeing this holiday season. I saw the one-to-many recently at a local Whole Foods and it reminded me a little too much of cows going to the slaughter house – but then, I hate lines of all kinds. Hat tip to Jennifer DuMars for sending it along. (related article)
Using ice penetrating radar, scientists have mapped out the ground and mountains that lie beneath Antarctica’s ice sheets. The project is interesting because it draws on decades of work from many different teams and datasets, and will help create more accurate models of melt rates.
Twinkle twinkle little star, Voltage equals I times R. My physics classes would have sunk in quicker if there were more diagrams like this one.
Highlight by region, roll over for individual country info. The interface is a little janky – you can join the discussion over at FlowingData if you have any suggestions.
An addictive collection of beautiful charts, graphs, maps, and interactive data visualization toys -- on topics from around the world.