A screenshot of the worst part of my portfolio. It shows three presentation summaries.

Re-Thinking My Portfolio

Below is the assignment I gave. I’m going to give it a shot starting with my own portfolio and then looking for aspirational goals in a subsequent post. Take a look around at portfolios other people are using. You’ll want to check out people in the field like Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom but you’ll also want to look outside sociology for inspiration. Cast a wide net. Find sites that are doing things you like. Take targeted screenshots and explain what you like. Link back to the sites. Keep thinking about the data being presented, the user interactions that get you to the data, and the visual elements that appeal to you. Spend an hour or so looking around and getting ideas. If a particular search isn’t fruitful, try something else or jump ahead 5 or 10 pages in the search results. Don’t get bogged down. Once you’ve got a good chunk of ideas, use them to create a post outlining what you’d like your portfolio to be. Some people call this wireframing. If you like to sketch, sketch out things on paper or whiteboards and photograph (I do this often) them. You can also use a variety of digital tools to do something similar. Your portfolio is an interactive argument that provides a skeptic audience with a limited attention span […]

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Why I’m Teaching Data Viz for Sociology

I’m teaching a course for VCU’s digital sociology Master’s degree program this semester. One of the things I’ve asked the participants to do is explain why they’re taking this course. I’m hoping that will help me customize what we’re going to do in the course. Since I asked the participants to document why they were taking this course, I figured the least I could do is create a similar post explaining why I agreed to shepherd this course and why I made some of these initial choices. I’m approaching the concept of data visualization pretty broadly. The course is broken into two main components. The first portion is looking at their own portfolio and how they might think it through in terms of data visualization1 and then moving on to broader/deeper applications of data visualization (connected to their personal research). Part of the reason I want to start with the portfolio is that the data is personal and it’s easier to get a feel for how real/accurate any visualizations you make are. We’ll also be able to establish a decent foundation of web literacy, design, accessibility, etc. prior to applying them to more sophisticated visualizations. Essentially, it’s about starting out on more familiar ground before venturing out into increasing complexity. The second section will focus on figuring out a set […]

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Weekly Web Harvest for 2018-01-07

These psychedelic stickers blow AI minds | TechCrunch researchers have created a wonderful attack on image recognition systems that uses specially printed stickers that are so interesting to the AI that it completely fails to see anything else. Time Travel In the language of the Navaho there is no past, present, and future tense like those of many languages. Events are talked about with regard to their quality of happening rather than their temporal quality. Is it possible that time may not really exist, but is just an artifact of our biological and cultural evolution? –I haven’t independently verified this to my satisfaction yet. Time Travel and Modern Physics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) You have to end this, you have to kill him, really kill him once and for all. You shoot him, but your eyesight is so bad that your aim is off. You do not kill him, you merely damage his left eye. He staggers off. You fall to the ground in agony, and decide to study the paradoxes of time travel more seriously. This might be the best map of the 2016 election you ever see – Vox The Only Good Thing About Winter Is This Story Written in Snow Fun stuff on all levels. h/t Jon Becker

Dead fern fronds on a stick with leaves.

Photography – #161

A post shared by @twwoodward on Jan 10, 2018 at 3:38am PST Once again, it’s been a good while between photography updates. I’ve fallen in a bit of a slump and that tends to result in low photography production. Here’s to more and better photos in the future.

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Weekly Web Harvest for 2017-12-31

Is white space always your friend? – Questions in Dataviz “most people would agree that white space is your friend, but empty space is not” I’m Maria Popova, and This Is How I Work Occupation: Curiosity Architect Gallery | Tableau Public Tableau hits What I Use to Visualize Data | FlowingData Always nice to see what other people use to do things. Data looks better naked — Darkhorse Analytics | Edmonton, AB simplify data viz gif Coding the Law: Student Work Challenge: For a given jurisdiction, create a “chatbot” to determine if someone is eligible for appointed counsel, fee waivers, or the like. The bot should provide users with a set of action items to obtain any such aid, including copies of any applicable court forms pre-filled with data obtained from interaction with the bot. Cellograffiti by Ches – Neatorama Pen Plotter Art & Algorithms, Part 1 the physical/digital blend I find interesting

Bret Victor on the right with a black and white cartoon fish on the left. Under the fish is the statement - This is not a fish.

Data Viz and Dead Fish

3:40 – “I believe that behavior and responsiveness is the essence of the computer as an art medium and what that means is that any time we create art that doesn’t have behavior we’re not living up to the potential of the medium. It’s not native art.” 4:34 – “… what sort of art is possible when both the art and the artist are alive? When the art and the artist are responding to each other and working together to create something beautiful.” 15:00 – “So what you’re seeing here is kind of the interplay between two living and behaving beings. There’s the fish behaving through simulation. There’s me behaving through performance and there’s this wonderful kind of symbiosis with the two of us working together to put on a show. The simulation and the performance are really complementary. So when I was making that little scene with the fish there was always this back and forth between the simulation and the performance. So if there was something I wanted the fish to do but I couldn’t perform it with my hand because it was too complicated, I had to move my hand too fast, there’s too many other things going on with the scene, I take that and put it in the simulation.” 16:02 – “There’s this back and […]

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Weekly Web Harvest for 2017-12-17

Dynamicland Every scrap of paper has the capabilities of a full computer, while remaining a fully-functional scrap of paper. –this is augmented reality Education Outrage: In 1995 I posted the Student’s Bill of Rights. What has changed? 3. No student should be required to memorize anything that is likely to be will be forgotten in six months. Plain Sailing – Futility Closet By the time they matured, in the 19th century, they were no longer necessary. Historian Fernand Braudel wrote, “Colbert had thought of everything except the steamship.” — wonder how much planning ends up this way Complex Knitting and Critical Instructional Design: A Problem-Solving Mindset – OFFICE OF DIGITAL LEARNING We define critical instructional design as the intentional designing of digital learning spaces that reflect a sense of awareness, hope, and possibility; that encourage learning agency;  that allow students to own the process of their discoveries; and that likewise allow the creators of those spaces to undergo their own learning and discovery processes. As such, critical instructional design work asks for our perseverance as designers and learners, because the answers are often not at the surface but require some digging.

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Weekly Web Harvest for 2017-12-10

Chuck Grassley blasts Sheldon Whitehouse in Trump-Russia probe tweet – Business Insider I would hope you would tweet a correction so that your followers also know it is false. fogleman/primitive: Reproducing images with geometric primitives. Reproducing images with geometric primitives. Alaska is warming so fast, quality-control algorithms are kicking the data – The Washington Post The temperature in Barrow had been warming so fast this year, the data was automatically flagged as unreal and removed from the climate database. It was done by algorithms that were put in place to ensure that only the best data gets included in NOAA’s reports. They’re handy to keep the data sets clean, but this kind of quality-control algorithm is good only in “average” situations, with no outliers. The situation in Barrow, however, is anything but average. h/t jammurdo in Digital Humanities slack group Trump’s Lies vs. Obama’s – The New York Times We have used the word “lies” again here, as we did in our original piece. If anything, though, the word is unfair to Obama and Bush. When they became aware that they had been saying something untrue, they stopped doing it. Obama didn’t continue to claim that all Americans would be able to keep their existing health insurance under Obamacare, for example, and Bush changed the way he spoke about Iraq’s weapons […]

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Weekly Web Harvest for 2017-12-03

Kleptocrat Kleptocrat is a unique game of strategy and tactics, based on real-life patterns of money laundering and offshore structuring that have been used by actual corrupt public officials… that is, until they got caught. This game, created by The Mintz Group, a global investigative firm that specializes in tracing assets, offers you insight into the strategies of the corrupt, as well as those who are trying to bring them to justice. Millions Are Hounded for Debt They Don’t Owe. One Victim Fought Back, With a Vengeance – Bloomberg He started a spreadsheet, Scums.xlsx, to keep track. xkcd: Bad Code “it just looks bad because it’s a spreadsheet formula” Hitting Reset, Knewton Tries New Strategy: Competing With Textbook Publishers | EdSurge News The secret to its swift entry into publishing was OER (open education resources). Rather than hire authors to write textbooks from scratch, the company is now curating open-educational materials already on the internet. Firefighters attempt to contain Bel-Air blaze ahead of the strong winds expected Thursday night – LA Times The Los Angeles Police Department asked drivers to avoid navigation apps, which are steering users onto more open routes — in this case, streets in the neighborhoods that are on fire.  Food taboos: their origins and purposes the Ache people, i.e., hunters and gatherers of the Paraguayan jungle. […]

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Weekly Web Harvest for 2017-11-26

This Magical Software Makes Facebook Profile Pictures Come Alive “What Facebook will do with this–I don’t know.” It’s reasonable to imagine that Facebook would like to incorporate such a fun feature into its platform as soon as possible. h/t Matt Syndicating annotations – Jon Udell Although it sprang to life to support ebooks, I think this mechanism will prove more broadly useful. Unlike PDF fingerprints and DOIs, which typically identify whole works, it can be used to name chapters and sections. At a conference last year we spoke with OER (open educational resource) publishers, including Pressbooks, about ways to coalesce annotations across their platforms. I’m not sure this approach is the final solution, but it’s usable now, and I hope pioneers like Steel Wagstaff will try it out and help us think through the implications. For Example How Far Will Sean Hannity Go? – The New York Times Until a few years ago, the staff of “Hannity,” the top nightly cable show in the United States, shared news by text or email, but today, much of the collaborative work is handled via a Twitter account accessible to only the staff. “If I like something, I’ll click Like, and if other producers like something, they’ll click Like,” Berry told me. The result is a “pool of ideas” — “50, 60, 70 […]