Browsing All Posts filed under »History«

“The Future Will Turn Out Alright”: Hope, Opportunity, and Norwegian Vocational Schools

July 30, 2016 by


What makes a good school?  A good school system?  A good society?  Recently, my wife and I traveled to Denmark, Norway, and Iceland, and I came back both heartened and saddened.  The more I learned about education in those countries—particularly in Norway—the more I got to thinking about our own system of education.  Of course, you start by […]

The Macroscope

May 24, 2015 by


As a public school teacher, I frequently feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information I receive. I get data about student performance, about equity measures, about student’s lives and about parent’s aspirations. Yet at some point during my graduate coursework I started to rethink how I approached exactly what value I was getting from […]

Strangers in Paris: census maps, layering, and data compression

April 20, 2011 by


I have been working on a blog series on census data visualizations for another site (which will be reproduced here when it’s all up). First of all, I am using that as an excuse to justify how little I have been posting in the last couple of weeks. However, there is also something I could […]

AAAS Visualization Challenge

March 2, 2011 by


Data visualization isn’t limited to the social sciences. As a case in point, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (which publishes the journal Science) recently held a competition for data visualization. There were some really cool ideas – a team from MIT tracked where pieces of trash ended up, a Russian team created a […]

Public Debt and GDP

February 16, 2011 by


Which countries have the greatest public debts relative to the size of their economies? The IMF has a great data mapping tool, which includes the ability to look at historical data and play back changes over time. The following graph comes from their historical public debt database; the graph below was adjusted using PPP. The […]

Advertising and GDP

February 3, 2011 by


Do advertising expenditures as a percentage of GDP hold constant over time? Some empirical research shows that a rough relationship between these two variables is supported – advertising has contributed to around 2% of GDP over the last century, even as these expenditures have increased (in both nominal and real terms). Advertising can be thought […]

Taxonomy vs. iconography in data visualization

February 3, 2011 by


During college I worked at the University of Chicago Special Collections, where they keep the old, valuable, and/or particularly noteworthy volumes in the Library’s collection, among other things.  It is a very, very cool place (if you are in Chicago, it is definitely a place to see along with the Art Institute and MCA).  Well […]