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Showing posts from January, 2010

Hype and backlash:
visualizing pop culture trends

Back in 2005, the astute pop-culturechroniclerAdam Sternbergh pointed out that a person's opinion of any given entertainment product depends largely on how long they've been aware of it — that is, where the product sits on the sine-wave timeline of public expectations (aka buzz). His findings, in chart form:

"Welcome to the undulating curve of shifting expectations—the Heisenbergian principle by which hype determines how much you enjoy a given pop-culture phenomenon. The first-wave audience is pleasantly surprised, but the second-wavers feel let down; then the third wave finds it’s not as bad as they’ve heard—and they’re all watching the exact same show."Almost five years later, this pattern describes just about all our collective experiences. Sports fans, how much sweeter was it to watch the New Orleans Saints come out of nowhere to win the NFC championship than to have seen the Minnesota Vikings do it for the umpteenth time? As for politics, consider the poll numbe…

Amazing repository of population data

Data nerds like me will enjoy wallowing in the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, a massive collection of U.S. Census microdata that's been made available to anyone for social and economic research. From the website:IPUMS-USA is a project dedicated to collecting and distributing United States census data. Its goals are to:
Collect and preserve data and documentationHarmonize dataDisseminate the data absolutely free!We are cautioned to "use it for GOOD -- never for EVIL." 'Nuff said.

The project is funded by the National Science Foundation, Sun Microsystems, the University of Minnesota and the National Institutes of Health.

How Americans have done financially since 1940