infographics

Tool Review: Great Innovations Ultimate Engineering Screw Chart

Tool Review: Great Innovations Ultimate Engineering Screw Chart

The slide rule may be a quaint anachronism in this age of ubiquitous computing, but there’s still a place for the slide chart, the volvelle, the nomogram, and other hand-held “paper computers.” These are still published by a few companies, and are a handy source of on-the-spot reference data, particularly in field or workshop environments that may be inhospitable to or inconvenient for electronic devices. Slide charts containing key screw, bolt, and nut data have been around for decades, and the folks at Great Innovations identify TAD’s Universal Reference Calculator, discontinued in the mid 1990s, as inspiration for their chart.

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The Rockwell International Integrated Space Plan

The Rockwell International Integrated Space Plan

I first encountered this amazing infographic hanging on a professor’s office wall when I was visiting law schools back in 1999. I’ve been trying, off and on, to run down my own copy ever since. It’s been one of those back-burner projects that I’ll poke at when it comes to mind, every now and again, but until quite recently all my leads have come up dry. All I really knew about the poster was that it had been created in the 80s by analysts at Rockwell International and that it was called the “Integrated Space Plan.”

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The Diagram as Self Portrait

The Diagram as Self Portrait

Korean artist Minjeong An has several more works in this vein, but Self-Portrait (2007), shown here, is my favorite.

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Award Winning Scientific Visualizations

Award Winning Scientific Visualizations

In July, the US Department of Energy hosted its annual Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC 2011) conference in Denver, CO. Among the programmed events was a “Visualization Night” in which a three-person jury, and members of the audience at large, voted to determine the best of 23 submitted scientific visualization videos.

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200 countries, 200 years, 120,000 data points, 4 minutes…

…and a pretty sweet Minority Report-esque dynamic infographic (“infomotion?”), to boot. The point? The world today has more than its share of problems, but we can all be thankful it isn’t the world of 200 years ago.

The charming Swede is Hans Rosling–physician, statistician, and host of BBC 4’s The Joy of Stats. Pretty much everything about this video makes me happy, not least of all that the Brits have a TV program celebrating statistics itself. [Thanks, Dad!]

P.S. If you’re feeling cynical, check out the equally-cool-but-way-less-uplifting Animated Map of Nuclear Explosions, 1945-1998 by Isao Hashimoto.

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Free “Age of Graphical Computing” calendar download

Free “Age of Graphical Computing” calendar download

Ron Doerfler of Rolling Meadows, IL is an engineer for Northrop-Grumman. He’s written a book on advanced mentat techniques and keeps a fascinating blog called Dead Reckonings: Lost Art in the Mathematical Sciences:

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