For most of August, I’ve been busily combining the best of Weather Sealed’s investigations with some bonafide design juice to create Data Pointed, which four out of five dentists agree is the best damn data and visualization site on the Internets!

Please do take a gander, and don’t miss His And Hers Colors, the inaugural Data Pointed visualization:

If you’re a fan of Weather Sealed’s information processing hijinks, you’ll definitely want to click over to Data Pointed and subscribe, because going forward, any such new stuff will appear there. And if you fancy the non-data-related articles on Weather Sealed, stay tuned. This blog will continue, but with its original focus: as a more personal place where I occasionally blow out whatever I happen to be thinking about at the time, in story form.

Your support means all the world to me, and I hope that you’ll enjoy Data Pointed!

One summer vacation’s worth of linky goodness:

  • A Field Guide To Typestaches (torweeks)
  • Yo, ocean, bro? You are like so totally over. (TarpSurfing)
  • Growth opportunities in the Inuit bathing suit market! (NOAA)
  • Many mightily massive multipliers (
  • God hates Jedi and other revelations (ComicsAlliance)
  • My god, it’s full of conifers! (TreeHugger)
  • Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning (Vittone)
  • “Refute” and “repudiate” sittin’ in a tree… (
  • Breakout taken to its logical extreme (Wonderfl)

Want to add that buzzy World Cup drone to your special event, but cash is tight, and you can’t afford to drop ten clams on a genuine vuvuzela?  No problem!  Try the Glove-a-Phone!

They say that a moving picture is worth about 30,000 words per second, so check this out:

Click to read more…

Check out the maze from designer Toru Iwatani’s recently-divulged Pac-Man concept sketches, side-by-side with the final arcade version:

They’re different!  Why?  As the story goes, after one too many blind Tokyo alleys, Iwatani expunged dead ends from the prototype.  A fortuitous accident in modulo-28 space created the tunnels.  And the more expansive overall feel of the final maze?  The details are hazy, but my sources whisper something about a retreat to the American Southwest.  And peyote.

Of course, I made the last paragraph up, but whatever happened, thank you lucky star!  For without Pac-Man’s addictive gameplay – amplified by the improved maze, no doubt – I might have never met his girlfriend: Ms. Pac-Man.

Oh, Ms. Pac-Man, and the crazy bowling alley days that we spent together!  To preserve those precious memories, I shall model my labyrinthine countryside manor after her immaculate first level.  Every detail will be included, from the power pellets and food on the floor to the roaming fruit and ghosts!

Except for Blinky.  That dude’s a flippin’ bastard.

Wokka wokka wokka wokka wokka…

Over at the excellent Twelve Mile Circle, Tom Howder recently wondered: where’s the smallest chunk of occupied land completely surrounded by Interstate highway?  Well, if “occupied” means “residential,” the answer might be Wright Street, a stubby cul-de-sac tucked inside the looping ramps of LA’s Harbor-Santa Monica Freeway interchange:

Back in 1884, Wright Street was just another new road on the outskirts of Los Angeles.  Bungalows quickly filled its freshly-surveyed lots, and as the city grew, apartments and commercial buildings soon followed.  In 1954, California’s first superhighway, the Harbor Freeway, passed two hundred feet westward, and a scant seven years later, the Santa Monica Freeway encroached from the east.  Construction began on the connecting ramps, and Wright winced as road workers halved its length, blocked off one end, and encircled it with concrete pillars topped by pavement.

Click to read more…

I’m an incorrigible data hound.  So, once the tempting aroma of XKCD’s color name survey results tickled my nose, I had no choice – but to run to the dining room, stand up on my hind legs, and yank that statistical top sirloin off the table!  Om nom nom yum yum yum!

For those unfamiliar, XKCD is the popular webcomic, and on its sister blog, author Randall Munroe announced his survey as follows:

I’d like your help for a color name survey!  The survey shows you colors, and you type a name (word or phrase) you might use for that color.  The names can be as broad or specific as you want.

During the next two months, over 200,000 people named more than 5,000,000 random hues.  Soon thereafter, Randall delivered a frequently side-splitting analysis of the results, artfully punctuated by his wonderful Color Map: an illustration detailing the territorial dominance of each name in fully-saturated RGB space.  The kicker was that the magnanimous Munroe made the individual survey responses – possibly the largest body of such information in existence – publicly available for anyone to use.  Kudos for freeing the data, dude!

Now, deep in the cockles of my drama queen heart, there’s always been a little shrine for the colors with the charismatic, less-spoken names.  Could periwinkle roll off the tongue more adorably?  Maroon?  Aye, there be pirates about!  And yeah, burgundy and chartreuse do sound a bit boozy, but they’re hella more fun at parties than “dark red” and “yellow-green.”

Their Achilles’ heel?  The lack of a verbal tether to the common colors, causing the occasional mix-up about what they mean.  Case in point: until yesterday, I thought that khaki was an olive-type of green, but per my wife and other experts, it leans more towards beige and brown.

Egads!  I’d been afflicted by the embarrassing scourge of color confusion!  So that no one else should suffer it – or have to wear Dockers to know what “khaki” means – Weather Sealed’s design team went to work on a cure.  The resulting visualization, borne of the XKCD data, shows the primary color names, their lesser-used brethren, and the relationship between them:

The Color Strata includes the 200 most common color names (excluding black-white-grayish tones), organized by hue horizontally and relative usage vertically, stacked by overall popularity, shaded representatively, and labeled where possible.  Besides filtering spam, ignoring cruft, normalizing grey to gray, and correcting the most egregious misspellings (here’s looking at you, fuchsia), the results are otherwise unadulterated.  As such, similar color names, like sea green, seafoam green, and seafoam, each appear separately.  They’re synonymous… or are they?

Anyways, once you’ve had your fill of that, bliss out on this:

It’s the same basic graph, but with flipped shading, label-free, stretched to fill the vertical, and whipped until creamy smooth.

Ahhhh.  On that note, we conclude today’s episode of color research.  Subscribe to stay tuned for more – we might even pull Crayola crayons back into the mix – coming soon!

Hooray!  It’s the first of June, and long gone are winter cold and spring gloom.  We’re footloose and parka-free, baby birds chirp with glee, green lawns and mowers duel endlessly, and he intercepts the puck at mid-ice, shakes a defender, speeds over the blue line, fades right, jigs left, cocks his stick, lets loose with a slapshot, and scores!  Goal!!!