Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

The Idea: Five sites that effectively convey information through visuals in ways that would be impossible with words.

1/ Market Maps: UK Innovation consultant Steve Griffiths at Breakthroo has developed a set of interactive maps that show supply chains and customer chains for the telecom market as network charts of the market space.  You can drill down from any of the connecting nodes, or see lists of competitors, or view (in red above) the sustaining and disruptive innovations in each space. Gorgeous, eh?

2/ Now That’s Power: In 2003 I published the first of the two charts US income above, to show just how skewed US income and wealth really is. Now there’s a whole statistical discipline called Econophysics and a conference looking at such curves, and they’ve produced the second curve above, showing this data plotted logarithmically. They claim the richest 0.1% of the population’s income is described by Pareto’s Law — meaning that if you’re born into that kind of money, you’ll only get richer, no matter what you do. And they claim the poorest 99.9% of the population’s income is explained by Boltzman’s Law — describing random movement of gases in an enclosed area, and meaning that even if you’ve struggled up to the left end of the green curve, you’re far more likely to then get poorer than to make it to the 0.1% elite. So much for the American Dream.

3/ Sim-Anything: Net-Logo, a project of Northwestern University, provides a free downloadable set of models that allow you to perform simulations in just about any imaginable scientific or social science discipline, and more are being added all the time.

4/ Progressive Video:  Big Picture provides free, high-quality downloadable video clips of many of the world’s leading progressive voices. Put a face to a name: Jane Goodall (picture above), Naomi Klein, Amory Lovins, Georges Monbiot, Elisabet Sahtouris and dozens more.

5/ Social Network Analysis: Cleveland consultant Valdis Krebs explains how to analyze and optimize social networks, provides a raft of online articles and example, and has some fun online demos of his software.

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3 Responses to Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

  1. Interesting stuff. Good post, Dave.

  2. Yes, I do agree that graphics information can lead to a deeper understanding of discrete phenomenons. It might as well be considered as a subversive tool! But it only works when you can guarantee updated and quality data, which is far more difficult when we know that States or private companies rarely publish them at all.

  3. Rajiv says:

    Regarding the power curves for income — it appears to be especially useful for determining commune sizes (Dave, you had an earlier post regarding that) that could work. I would suggest that a commune with 20 – 50 income earning families could shift themselves as a group into the pareto part of the curve.

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