When Were Words Popular? PopSci Archive Explorer

If you’ve ever wondered about the popularity of topics through time, this new interactive archive of Popular Science magazine is just the thing. With the help of a team at Google, the entire catalog of 1,563 Popular Science issues starting at the magazines inception in 1872 has been archived, creating a set of mineable data totaling 1.35-gigabytes. By using both a visual calendar and a circular animation of dates, users of the new Archive Explorer can see when words and terms were popular based on the number of times they appeared in that month issue. Especially interesting is observing when words like “internet” and “communist” came into use. Check it out for yourself at popsci.com

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Baroque.me: An Interactive Look at Bach’s Prelude

The last time we mentioned Alexander Chen he had converted the New York subway map into an interactive stringed instrument. Continuing the musical theme, he’s now taken the iconic prelude to Bach’s Cello Suites No. 1 and made an interactive visualization you can mess around with until the tune’s completely “Baroque.” The orbiting dots pluck the strings, like a rotating music box. You can grab and throw the nodes off track using your pointer, then watch as they slowly regain their orbit and the tune its rhythm. See the video at the bottom or head to Baroque.me to play with history

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Visualized: How A Population Grows To 7 Billion

The world population was just 1 billion people in 1804, but now just two centuries later the people count on our planet has reached an astounding 7 billion. What has contributed to this exponential and dramatic increase, and what does it mean for us in the future? As this video and related article by NPR cleverly explores, the causes are far simpler than the solutions. What will our population reach in the next 100 years?

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The Making of an Infographic: Visualizing US/China Trade

Awhile back, our friend Jess created a visually stimulating infographic for Mint.com on US/China trade patterns. As you would imagine the numbers are a little lopsided in favor of China and it’s easy to see this in the clearly detailed sankey diagram and geographic area charts (red denoting imports and green being exports). Also interesting for all you design folks, is a video Jess put together showing a video capture of the many steps that go into creating such a fine work.

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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.

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The Deadliest Disease Outbreaks Visualized

If we were to look up into the branches of our ancient family tree, many of us would see limbs from our past that ended prematurely in the huge pandemics which have swept the world. In my tree for example, two relatives on oposite American coasts died of Spanish Flu in the same year.

Created in a collaboration between GOOD and Column Five, this graphic details the ten deadliest pandemics both past and present, with a key explaining normal symptoms, estimated death tolls and the years they ravaged the world. If that sounds bleak, just make sure you notice how many of these global crisis’ have been cured in just the last century. What cures will the future hold?

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Interactive: 30 Years of the Space Shuttle

After an honorable 30 years of exploration and innovation, the space shuttle program is sadly rolling to a close. With a program ending final launch by the shuttle Atlantis just days away, The New York Times has put together an information rich, interactive infographic detailing the history of each and every one of the 135 missions made by the behemoth spacecraft. Bid the program a fond farewell by taking a closer look on nytimes.com, then catch the final launch on July 8th at NASA.gov.

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Visualized: The Great Toilet Paper Debate

Ever since its invention in 1879, the manufacturers of rolled toilet paper have left one critical point of design up to consumers: on which side should the loose end of the toilet paper fall? For some, arguing about the fluffy white product is a silly debate but for others it’s a heated source of contention with house mates. This infographic, created by engineeringdegree.net gets to the center of the situation with a witty and surprisingly informative look at the history and even well thought out science behind how you place your toilet paper. Who knew Ann Landers was so passionate about toilet paper orientation or the topics article on Wikipedia was so in depth?

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The Complex World of Microsoft Acquisitions

Looking like a fantastically complex version of the London Underground map, this information rich graphic details the many acquisitions and investments of the behemoth Microsoft corporation. At first glance it is quickly apparent that the multi-faceted company has its hands in just about every sector of business, and with the recent $8.5 billion purchase of Skype, their influence is only expanding.

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Journey Of The Fellowship: A Visualization

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is an epic undertaking in the fight for the Ring; the One Ring that rules them all. The Fellowship’s members were an unlikely mix of hobbits, men, an elf and a dwarf; who bravely undertook the perilous mission of traveling to Mordor — evil lair of Sauron — to cast the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom and be destroyed forever.

The brave members of the Fellowship faced insurmountable obstacles; Nazgûls, hordes of gruesome Orcs and battles of epic proportions. Graphic designer JT Fridsma chose to synthesize which characters are with each other, where they are geographically on a time line and to highlight major events in the plot along the way. Check out his amazing work below, and check out his website for prints, which he hopes to have available soon.

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