Friday 30 September 2011

Photo Opportunities by Corinne Vionnet

The photographer Corinne Vionnet has been exhibiting ate the Arles photography festival. Her photos are made by careful superposition of hundreds of digital images she finds online that are of the same typical tourist views of a particular sight. The image below is the Golden Gate bridge - but her other work includes;

The Colosseum in Rome,
The Taj Mahal,
The Leaning Tower of Pisa,
The Hajj pilgrimage, Mecca,
The mausoleum of Mao Tse-tung in Beijing's Tainanmen Square and
The Palace of Westminster, London.

The images are also being published in a book Photo Opportunities by Kehrer-Verlag.

The Sea of Stories

Below is a classic Edward Tufte two-page spread. In this he tries to show how stories unfold in time.

as he explains it

Here, as time flows across the page from left to right, is a tiny part of the Ocean of the Streams of Story, a handful of the thousand thousand thousand and one tales.  
From Visual Explanations by Tufte.

Thursday 29 September 2011

Data Deluge Postage Stamps

The new Blogger Dynamic view is fun. The Snapshot view gives a set of Polaroid type images - here I have made them smaller to resemble a page from a virtual stamp book of Data Deluge postage stamps.  

West the Best

It is not easy to write in a familiar style. Even if what you are writing about is really familiar to you. Perhaps especially if what you are writing about is really familiar to you. This particularly holds true for those places we stay in for a long while, the place, or places, that we call home. How can we capture the elements of human, natural and man - made geography that define the patch of ground in which our home sits.

Perhaps we just can't capture these elements and we should live with it. Perhaps we can capture them with words and images.

I live with my family in a small coastal town called West Kirby, in the North-West of England. In many ways it is a tiny and very ordinary part of the UK. Altogether it is no more than about 5 by 5 kilometres in extent and at no point does it raise itself more than a hundred metres above sea level. Yet if you have a mind to and you have your eyes wide open, then within this tiny patch maybe there is air, sky, land and sea enough to keep you busy and amused over a lifetime.

The Wirral peninsula, on which West Kirby stands, is defined by three water filled absences of land; the River Dee, the River Mersey and the Irish Sea. West Kirby sits prettily at the apex of the peninsula where the Dee meets the Sea. It is a small patch of land bounded to the North by the Irish Sea, to the West by the Dee and to the South by a hill of modest elevation and extent; Caldy Hill.

The Dee estuary has been silting up for decades and for much of the day the view is dominated by the sand flats. At low tide the water is a long way out. But at high tide you get a sense of what a huge volume of water is held by the Dee estuary.

The images were taken at lunch today from the foot of Caldy Hill, where it runs right down to the coast of the Dee estuary. It was a full high tide. The air was hazy and warm and I sat for 20 minutes soaking up the smells and sights of this modest coast.  

The hills in the distance are in Wales. This was one of the estuaries that the Viking warrior Ingimund sailed into in 902AD. In those days West Kirby was known in Norse as Vestri Kirkjubyr (the West village of the Church).

No Cell is an Island - the death of the Cancer Cell

The latest HERE from Sonnenschein & Soto (two candidates I suspect for a future Nobel prize in Medicine).


  1. Carlos Sonnenschein1 and 
  2. Ana M. Soto2,*

     Corresponding Author:
  1. Ana M. Soto, Anatomy and Cellular Biology, Tufts University, 136 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA, 02111, United States


For a century, the perception that there are qualitative differences between a normal cell and a cell belonging to a tumor has dominated discussions aimed at explaining cancer. However, an analysis of the experimental evidence suggests that individual normal cells and individual cancer cells share the same two fundamental behavioral properties, namely, proliferation and motility. Each individual cancer cell carries no recognizable molecules or structures that make them consistently distinguishable from normal cells. Herein, we argue that the differences between normal and cancerous states are instead identifiable at the tissue level of biological organization, and therefore, the search for identification of a cancer cell should be abandoned.
  • Received February 22, 2011.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

I should have tried harder. I shouldnt have given up

Daniel Danger keeps working away. His print style is distinctive and very dark. I am not sure I always understand how he connects the titles of his work to his prints. But they are great to look at.

A recent print of his; I should have tried harder. I shouldn't have given up

Awesome Nerds

A great post on the MIT Technology Review blog - on how business needs data scientists (HERE).

The blog includes a Venn diagram showing what is needed to become an Awesome Nerd.  Sad perhaps to say but some of the people who I work most closely with (and enjoy working with) are in this exalted overlap. 

Here also is a plot of the popularity of different data analysis softwares. R is way out in front! (from HERE)

Thursday 22 September 2011

Data Deluge - the Stats!

I have been working away at this blog for over two years - the first post was on June 12th 2009 (which was itself a collection of stuff I had already written and had posted elsewhere). 

My working assumption has been that I am effectively writing this for myself. I like the URL and its good to find somewhere to keep all of the images and links that I like, so that I can go back and find them, it is also a journal of work in progress on Intense Seeing.

Google have just put a stats function on the Blogger dashboard and I can see in some detail how many pageviews for the blog there have been. 

Here is a plot of pageviews per month;

And a listing of the most viewed pages;

Amazingly the total pageviews since June 2012 is 26,858. 

So a big, big thanks to all my readers.


Craig Mod - Post Artifact Books & Publishing

Craig Mod has been busy again thinking very hard about the impact that digital is having, and will have, on books (HERE). 

A quotation;

"With the emergence and growing adoption of the Kindle and the iPad, publishers, writers, readers and software-makers have concerned themselves with shoehorning the old-media image of a book into new media. Everyone asks, ‘How do we change books to read them digitally?’ But the more interesting question is, ‘How does digital change books?’ And, similarly, ‘How does digital change the authorship process?"
He includes some thought provoking diagrams that illustrate his argument.

Saturday 10 September 2011

Stealth Iconography: The Waveform

Here is a great piece on the emergence of the waveform as an icon for digital music.

Friday 9 September 2011

A Volcanic Fermi Problem

Enrico Fermi not only estimated the number of piano tuners in Chicago, one of his most famous estimates was the one he made during the first atom bomb test on 16 July, 1945. There was an important question in the minds of the bomb makers on the yield of this new class of weapon. During the test Fermi estimated that it was about 10 kilotons.

Fermi didn't guess - as the shockwave from the explosion hit Fermi he threw a handful of paper scraps into the air and watched how far they moved. Using this data and some assumptions he made his estimate. It was surprisingly accurate. Not only to the correct order of magnitude, but within a very respectable factor of 2. The actual yield was 19 kilotons.

Fermi used the "piano tuner" approach to train his students to be able to conceptualise and evaluate "order of magnitude" estimates.

For a very recent Fermi estimate - of the energy released (and volume and mass of sand ejected) during the eruption of the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano in Chile on 4 July see here =

Fermi Problem: Power developed at the eruption of the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic system in June 2011

By Hernan Asorey & Arturo López Dávalos

Abstract of the paper reads;

On June 4 2011 the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic system produced a pyroclastic subplinian eruption reaching level 3 in the volcanic explosivity index. The first stage of the eruption released sand and ashes that affected small towns and cities in the surrounding areas, including San Carlos de Bariloche, in Argentina, one of the largest cities in the North Patagonian Andean region. By treating the eruption as a Fermi problem, we estimated the volume and mass of sand ejected as well as the energy and power released during the eruptive phase. We then put the results in context by comparing the obtained values with everyday quantities, like the load of a cargo truck or the electric power produced in Argentina. These calculations have been done as a pedagogic exercise, and after evaluation of the hypothesis was done in the classroom, the calculations have been performed by the students. These are students of the first physics course at the Physics and Chemistry Teacher Programs of the Universidad Nacional de Rio Negro

Thursday 8 September 2011

Thursday 1 September 2011

Space over Time

Here is a great infographic by Tommy McCall and Mike Orcutt on the MIT technology review site. There is a high quality PDF of the graphic available there.