Wordle Goes Mainstream

A century of most popular baby names - top 50 by decade

Yesterday's post commented on Fast Company's recognition of the importance of visualization skills. In their commentary, FC posted screenshots and video of word-images created with Wordle.

These Rorchschach-like wordmaps are fun, easy and effective to create with this (free) java-based web service. Many websites (including ours) now use the resulting images as navigation, sitemaps or splash screens. The Wordles give the viewer an instant impression of themes and importance ideas through font size and color.

I was blown away to see a Wordle used on the front page of USA Today as a feature article--not on the tool or on data visualization, but used as a graphic to illustrate the shifting trend in baby names!

Prometeus - The Media Revolution

Email recently celebrated it's 30th birthday (see article).

This week, NPR is focusing upon the effects of--and coping methods for--this single technology that has shaped the workflow, schedules and lifestyles of much of the world.

For a glimpse on where the emerging new media may take us as "prosumers" who produce and consume media, check out this vision of a future scenario, in which virtual reality, spiritual experience, and the commerce of memory are commonplace.

clipped from www.youtube.com

Nokia's Nanotech Morph

The future may be here already (and just not evenly distributed) but I want to know where to buy i!
clipped from www.engadget.com

Why is Nokia always trying to outdo everyone with its fancy-schmancy concepts and designs? Why can't they just get in line and keep it simple?

We may never know the answer to those questions, but what we do know is that the company is presenting a new concept device called the Morph that would be right at home... in the year 3000. The unit is included in the MoMA's "Design and the Elastic Mind" exhibition catalog, and boasts the ability to stretch and flex to almost any shape a user could think of.

The nanotechnology-based device would deliver transparent electronics, self-cleaning surfaces, and the malleability to transform into any number of configurations. Of course, the actual technology required to put this together is years or even decades away, though Nokia expects to see some of these innovations making their way into high-end products within seven years. See the device doing its thing in some photos after the break.

What’s Next, Scooby Doo Reads the News?

It's with a mixture of pride and confusement that I post this article on the recent use of graphic facilitation on a prime time news broadcast.

At least it was bubbly Katie Couric, who giggled, and not, shouty Bill O'Reilly. I do think that the Daily Show should incorporate the methodology for full effect.


Monday’s New York Times noted that CBS News recently introduced the “Fast Draw,” an animated series using dry-erase markers that tries to shed light on news developments. The feature, created by two new CBS employees, debuted on “CBS News Sunday Morning” last month and appeared on the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” on Feb. 8:

But “Fast Draw” is not the only instance of animation on television news, as several readers noted. Three days before the CBS segment, the ABC correspondent Robert Krulwich used cartoon drawings to explain the delegate rules for each party. Andrew Tyndall, a television news analyst, said he preferred the illustrations used by ABC to the metaphors used by CBS.

The Fox Business Network has also dabbled with animation. Each Friday on the new business network’s “Happy Hour” show, a pair of computer-generated characters named Hoofy and Boo present a short cartoon newscast. The segments are created by a financial entertainment Web site called Minyanville.

Thanks to Jarrell McAlister.

Just When I Thought Pro-Wrestling was Awesome

This just in...

"Teens who watch wrestling take more health risks"
clipped from www.reuters.com

Teenage fans of TV wrestling are more likely than their peers to be aggressive or take chances with their health, a study suggests.

Researchers found that among 2,300 16- to 20-year-old Americans, those who watched professional wrestling were more likely to be violent, smoke or have unprotected sex -- and the more they watched TV wrestling, the greater their odds of taking such risks.

The findings, reported in the Southern Medical Journal, do not prove that watching wrestling alters young people's behavior. "It may be the case that kids who have a personality that leads them to be aggressive also gravitate to watching wrestling on TV," noted Dr. Mark Wolfson, one of the researchers on the study and an associate professor at Wake-Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Of the teenagers in their survey, just over 22 percent of males said they had watched pro wrestling in the past two weeks, as did 14 percent of females.

Rushkoff's Reality Tunnel

RushkoffThis winter, Doug Rushkoff experienced a series of changes, confrontations and revelations that refocused his understanding of "value".

As a media critic and author, he has been writing books for 15 years and has been hosting an online community of one sort or another for nearly as long.

In a short period of time, Rushkoff was challenged to a duel by a member of the “psychedelic elite” and was shaken to learn that one of his heroes of the 60s, Robert Anton Wilson, author of Cosmic Trigger and Prometheus Rising, was near death and near bankruptcy.

In his article, The Light at the End of the Reality Tunnel, in Arthur Magazine, you can read Doug's reflections on the free market ecology based on reputation, the danger of reality tunnels, the power of thoughts, and the value of communities over heroes.