Wikileaks Afghan war data visualized with open source apps: "stop-motion photo of freeway wreck"

Danger Room contributor and NYU political science grad student Drew Conway used an open source statistical programming language called R and a graphical plotting software tool to transform the "Wikileaked" Afghan war data into visual representation:

The results are unnerving, like stop-motion photography of a freeway wreck. Above is the latest example: a graph showing the spread of combat from 2004 to 2009. It’s exactly what you wouldn’t want to see as a war drags on.

“The sheer volume of observations [in the WikiLeaks database] inhibit the majority of consumers from being able to gain knowledge from it. By providing graphical summaries of the data people can draw inferences quickly, which would have been very difficult to do by serially reading through the files,” Conway e-mails Danger Room. “For instance, in the most recent graph I posted [see above], many people were noticing the increasing number of attacks around Afghanistan’s ‘ring road,’ over time, and seeing that as an indication of the Taliban’s attempt to undermine the Afghanistan government by cutting off villages from one another.”

Open Source Tools Turn WikiLeaks Into Illustrated Afghan Meltdown (Danger Room)