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Showing posts from October, 2009

Going with the flow: or, charting song lyrics for fun and profit

I've written before about song lyrics shown in graphic form. And it's Friday afternoon, so what the hey -- I'm going there again.
Sometimes this visual gimmick really works. See "Pinball Wizard," where the lyrics actually provide you with all the necessary data (namely, Tommy's various actions and their frequency).
Other times, the song's structure or content just doesn't lend itself to any sort of proper graph. Consequently the message conveyed feels painfully thin, and the joke stupid and weak. One example: "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina," rendered here.
I say, if you're going to attempt the visual joke, why not do it right? To do so, we must face up to certain painful facts, namely: Many songs just don't feature quantitative concepts.
In such cases, look to flow charts. After all, singing a song is a process. Flow charts proceed forward in time (just like music), often incorporating repetitions (verses or chorus) or variations on a …

Who needs film school?
Take a ride on the movie metro.

Based on a common and surprisingly versatile visual metaphor, this subway map of the cinematic universe was recommended by some film critic friends.

Out of this world: the NatGeo space map

Brought to our attention by Synoptical simpatica MCL, this gorgeously rendered space map is even deeper than it looks at first glance. The number of rings around each planet depicts how many spacecraft have orbited that planet (most visited: moon), while each imperfect circle represents a capsule's precise path around the planet.
National Geographic has a Flash version here. (I kinda hate Flash. Who's with me?) If you want to see or have a static version, you can do both of those here.