Data Driven Digest for April 17

Each Friday we share some favorite reporting on, and examples of, data driven visualizations and embedded analytics that came onto our radar in the past week.

Epic rage: Middle school students at the AltSchool in San Francisco take book reports to a new level. Noting that the first word in the Iliad is “Rage,” the students set out on a journey to chart characters’ anger in Homer’s epic poem. They mapped out who was angry, how long they were angry, and at whom they were angry throughout the story. From that they created data visualizations and an infographic, a snippet of which is shown above. Among other things, it shows that Iliad characters were more likely to be angry with their own cohort than with their enemies. Click through for the full infographic, and watch a jazzy video about the project. One thing I learned: middle school isn’t what it used to be.


Area Map: What’s larger, Australia or Canada? You could look up the square kilometers for each country and compare the numbers, or you could go to There you can choose any two nations in the world and see their maps overlaid (as shown above). You’ll also get a comparison of demographic statistics such as mortality, employment, wages and energy use between the two countries, all with links to sources. Andy Lintner and Annette Calabrese collaborated on the site.


Strike a Chord: This one is for our musician readers. Amit Kohli has created a single Sankey diagram showing the chord progressions of 25,000 songs in the Theorylab database. Kohli explains how the chart works, provides an interactive version, and describes his methods and their shortcomings on his blog. The chord progressions are relative, so for Kohli’s purposes a song in C major with the chord progression C – G – Am is the same as a song in A major with the progression A – E – F#. If you’re not a musician, that probably makes no sense – but anecdotally, there seems to be considerable overlap between musicians and data visualization people. Anybody want to visualize that relationship? What data sources, tools, and formats would you use?



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