Textbook giant Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishes Randall Munroe's amazing Thing Explainer, and a lucky accident happened when someone in the textbook division noticed Munroe's amazing explanatory graphics, annotated with simple language (the book restricts itself to the thousand most common English words) and decided to include some of them in the next editions of its high-school chemistry, biology and physics textbooks. Read the rest
Burning questions that you're desperate for answers to, and their answers, courtesy of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Read the rest
A lovely piece of nostalgic datadiz: the squeals and chirps, converted to a stream of glowing pixels. Read the rest
At the dawn of the 19th century, naturalist Alexander von Humboldt invented the "thematic map," pioneering infographics through the likes of maps annotated with zoological life, temperature, elevations, and other data meant to present an area's "physical phenomena into one image," according to this profile on Atlas Obscura.
Above, "a plate from Atlas of Alexander von Humboldt's Kosmos, illustrating the composition of the Earth's crust via color-coding."
Below, "a snowflake of clocks illustrates world time zones, with Dresden at the center. "
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People who bought Cards Against Humanity's Eight Sensible Gifts for Hannukah subscription were invited to take a survey at the end of the purchase, one that asked all kinds of weird, invasive questions -- naturally, CAH has published the results! Read the rest
If you've read Darell Huff's seminal 1954 book How to Lie With Statistics, you've learned an important rule of thumb: any chart whose Y-axis doesn't start at zero is cause for suspicion, if not alarm. Read the rest
Global Justice Now's "Corporate Monopoly" is an excellent piece of information design; it's a playable boardgame adapted from Monopoly (itself originally designed to teach the evils of capitalism), in which a shoe (the 99%) and a top hat (obvs) take it in turns to go round a familiar board whose squares tell stories about real-world class war, centred around UK policies and business. Read the rest
More people died in World War II than in any other conflict in history, yet it can be hard to conceptualize that massive loss of life. Read the rest
UK sex-toy retailer Lovehoney allowed researcher Jon Millward to data-mine its huge database of over 1,000,000 sex-toy purchases and 45,000 reviews, in order to see what he could infer about Britons' sexual proclivities from the things they bought. Read the rest
This chart summarizes data from Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, providing that rarest of treasures: an infographic that actually improves the legibility of information. Read the rest
A clever, interactive chart from NPR's Planet Money tracks the relative popularity of different American Hallowe'en costumes over the past five years.
Zombies Are Hot, But Clowns Are Not [Planet Money/NPR]
(via Kottke) Read the rest
Pop Chart Lab's Whiskey Glasses Set is comprised of four tumblers, each of which traces the lineage of different branches of the whiskey tree (rye is a notable omission). They're very beautiful, and cost $45 for the set. They're adapted from the Whiskey Taxonomy poster, which can also be had in laser-engraved form.
Whiskey Glasses Set
(via Laughing Squid) Read the rest
Prooffreader graphed the distribution of letters towards the beginning, middle and end of English words, using a variety of corpora, finding both some obvious truths and some surprising ones. As soon as I saw this, I began to think of the ways that you could use it to design word games -- everything from improved Boggle dice to automated Hangman strategies to altogether new games. Read the rest
James Gill writes, "Cognitive Bias Parade is a site that takes a daily look at deviations in judgement and reconstructed realities. It is an illustrated review of the many ways the brain has evolved to lie to itself. It is not simply meant to scold. The spirit of the project was captured once in a quote by the magician Jerry Andrus: 'I can fool you because you're a human. You have a wonderful human mind that works no different from my human mind. Usually when we're fooled, the mind hasn't made a mistake. It's come to the wrong conclusion for the right reason.'
"I've given a Creative Commons Share-Alike status to my work on the site. I ask only that a link-back be given for my website as credit."
(Above: Observation selection bias... The effect of suddenly noticing things that were not noticed previously – and as a result wrongly assuming that the frequency has increased.) Read the rest
The Spurious Correlations engine helps you discover bizarre and delightful spurious correlations, and collects some of the most remarkable ones. For example, Per capita consumption of sour cream (US)
Motorcycle riders killed in noncollision transport accident at the astounding rate of 0.916391. Meanwhile, but exploring the engine, I've discovered a surprising correlation between the Age of Miss America and Murders by steam, hot vapours and hot objects (a whopping 0.870127!).
(via Waxy) Read the rest
Rachel Willmer, who runs the excellent ebook price-comparison site Luzme, summarizes the price-preference data she's captured from her customers. By measuring the point at which readers are willing to buy ebooks (whose prices are variable) and the volumes generated at each price-point, her findings suggest the optimal price for ebooks in different territories. This is important work: because ebooks have almost no marginal cost (that is, all their costs are fixed through production, so each copy sold adds almost nothing to the publisher's cost), there's lots more flexibility pricing strategies. If you make more by pricing your book at $0.01 than you do at $10, the right thing to do is price it at a penny and rake it in -- a rational business wants to maximize its profits, not the amount that each customer spends (I wrote about this at length in 2010).
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Ars Technica's Casey Johnson has designed a handy checklist for people hoping to develop a "woman's" tech product without being sexist jerks. The first step is ensuring that there is, indeed, some need that is unique to women (an important step -- women don't need their own pens, Bic). And obviously, you can't just make a pink version or a version that has fewer features and declare it to be chick-ready. Johnson then counsels against avoiding merely making things more "design-y" and declaring it to be woman-friendly (guys like things that look good too). Read the rest