Guess What The Most Popular Dot GOV Website Is Right Now?

You knew it already. IRS.gov is the hottest website right now out of all the US government websites… not that anyone really wants to be there. At this time of the year that website gets a massive hit, but the rest of the time you’ll find people at the next choices down our list of most trafficked dot gov sites — namely Weather.gov and its forecasting service (highly reliable in our experience).

Layers of Glass Create 3D X-Rays of Luggage: David Spriggs’ Transparency Report

David Spriggs’ latest exhibition is a transparent collection of ethereal luggage. Like three-dimensional representations of an airport security check, each piece gives us the opportunity to look inside and scrutinize the contents.

Algorithm: Help Launch a New “Hacker Film” About Fighting Government Monitoring

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What if there was no such thing as privacy in the world. What if there was a group of people who had access to all your information. What might that group possibly do and how would the people react? This futuristic (and quite possibly realistic) situation is the heart of a new technological thriller yet to be filmed titled “Algorithm.” Developed by writer and filmmaker Jonathan Schiefer, the film revolves around a hacker-for-hire who discovers that the government is monitoring everything people are doing. He and his friends decide to fight back in full force. Does this story sound somewhat familiar? Edward Snowden has done something similar by becoming a whistle blower on the NSA, yet this story was written before the Snowden episode. Currently Schiefer and crew are looking for support in all ways, hoping to make their dream a reality and begin filming in San Francisco.

A Campaign Map, Morphed By Money

Every 4 years, as Americans rush to the polls and cast their vote for a new president, we’re familiar with seeing the typical U.S. maps of red and blue denoting how states are favoring each candidate. But what information does this really give us? With the electoral college having only a portion of electors allotted to each state (based on that states population) the actual voting power of a state has little to do with its geographical size. How can we look at this differently and get a more informed look at what’s going on?

Republicans vs. Democrats: Who Rallies for Science?

For years, science has helped humans make sense of the world around them. In their endless toil to understand our world, scientists have come up with simple innovations to make life easier, complex ones to get us from point A to B, insanely advanced discoveries which have led to putting a man on the moon, and miraculous ones that have saved humanity from previously incurable diseases. However, not everyone is convinced of the value that science brings to humanity.

Death & Taxes: How is the U.S. Spending Our Money?

Death and Taxes is a behemoth graph of the federal budget. Containing 500 of the largest programs and departments, nearly all that receive over 200 million dollars each year, the graphic gives us a revealing look at where the U.S. puts its financial priorities.

Created using data from the president’s 2012 budget proposal, Jess Bachman spends a few months each year creating a new edition to keep us up to date. All of the program circles are proportional in size to their funding levels and for comparison the percentage change from both 2012 and 2002 is included so you can identify trends. For a full sized, zoomable view, or to purchase the yearly poster, head to deathandtaxesposter.com

The Propaganda Posters of the 1%

These bold red posters aren’t just propaganda, but also a warning of how the top 1% of the wealthy may be looking down upon the rest of us: the so called 99%. The poster above is especially ominous; will we as a global community be able to stay steadfast and sway the giant that controls the majority of our world resources and wealth? Find out more about Fro, the Los Angeles based designer behind these posters or order prints at frodesignco.com

Visualizing The Top Secret Network of Government

“You think you know America, but you don’t know Top Secret America,” says this new interactive visualization by The Washington Post. According to the investigative piece, following the events of 9/11 the U.S. created a fourth branch of government far more secretive and unaccountable than the well known Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches. Where is this third branch? All around us. Since September 11th, nearly 1000 counter terrorism organizations alone have been added all around the country. Who and where are they? This in depth piece allows us to investigate locations by zip code, see the connections between different organizations and even find the independent companies that are contracted with the government.

The questions posed: are all these measures worth the cost both financially and socially? Click here to explore.

Focus: Where is Mass Media Taking Our Attention?

From the multiple conflicts in northern Africa, the tsunami and earthquake in Japan, ongoing economic problems in the US and more… it seems strange that the media would give so much attention to the situation with Andrew Weiner. In his newest contribution to Visual News, Robbie Douglas created a piece centering on this issue and it’s alternate options, stating: “I wanted to address the focus that’s been on him and his questionable but legal behavior rather than on more important matters.” We couldn’t agree more.

The Terrorist Takedown (Infographic)

The news of the year – that American forces had not only found but killed Osama bin Laden, the most wanted terrorist in modern history – elicited a variety of responses from designers attempting to visually capture what, exactly, went down. This infographic is probably the most comprehensive yet, chronicling the entire process of how the our government coordinates its extraordinarily complex counterterrorism efforts. You might be surprised at how many different people – both in the public eye and behind the scenes – are involved.