Brain Pickings

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02 MAY, 2011

Analog Infoviz: Handmade Visualization Toolkit

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What 99 red balloons have to do with the spam economy and Lady Gaga.

We love data visualization and have a soft spot for analog art. We’ve previously explored several examples of physical data art and now, from Bogotá-based designer Jose Duarte comes this ingenious Handmade Visualization Toolkit, exploring simple ways to visualize information quickly. Using ordinary materials like chalk, string, stickers and balloons, you can experiment with various visualization techniques, from area charts to bubble graphs to — yes, you guessed it — Venn diagrams.

Using the kit, he made these lovely lo-fi visualizations of data from the 2010 State of the Internet report, revealing, among other things, that Lady Gaga is bigger on Twitter than Obama and the majority of the world’s email volume is spam.

Internet users by country

The most popular twitter accounts

Internet users 2000-2010

Spam vs. real email sent every day: 90 out of every 100 emails are spam

And it seems like Jose will send you a kit for free if you shoot him an email — what’s not to love?

via Flavorwire

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29 APRIL, 2011

Arabic Graffiti: An Eastern Voice in the Global Street Art Dialogue

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Diplomacy by way of street art, or what Gaza has to do with Banksy.

We love street art, but the majority of coverage on the subject has a severe geographic bias — every street art encyclopedia, every showcase of notable work, every documentary on graffiti culture tends to focus on Western lettering and imagery. Until now. Arabic Graffiti is an ambitious new anthology by Berlin street culture tastemaker Don Karl and Lebanese typographer Pascal Zoghbi exploring the use of Arabic script in urban context. The lush hardcover tome curates graffiti artists and typographers from the Middle East and around the world, who incorporate Arabic calligraphy styles in their artwork — a beautiful intersection of tradition and contemporary creativity.

Images courtesy of Slanted

Part cultural anthropology, part study in creative ingenuity, Arabic Graffiti is one of the most exciting design books to come by this year and a timely cross-cultural bridge of visual communication in the context of today’s global political climate.

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29 APRIL, 2011

David Clemesha’s Hand-Lettered Nursery Rhymes

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Little lambs, little reds, little pigs, and a little hand-lettered typography.

We love children’s books, especially clever remixes and twists to them — from finding philosophy for grown-ups in children’s classics to The Little Red Riding Hood reimagined as an animated infographic to modernist fairy-tales by today’s leading authors to quirky coloring books for grown-ups. So we love the work of San-Diego-based elementary-school-teacher-turned-artist David Clemesha, whose remarkable, vibrant hand-lettered nursery rhymes, fairy tales and fables are equal parts whimsical and artful.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

The Cat and the Fiddle

Where Are You Going, Little Red?

Jonah in the Belly of the Whale

Wee Wee Wee All the Way Home

Mary Had A Little Lamb

This Little Pig Went To Market

Three Blind Mice

Jack Be Nimble

Yankee Doodle Went to Town

Follow Clemesha’s latest work on his lovely Posterous.

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28 APRIL, 2011

Human Planet: BBC Unravels Earth’s Secrets

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What rainforest tribes in the jungle have to do with reindeer swimmers in the Arctic.

What are the secrets of this amazing planet we call home, and what exactly is our place in it? This question has been tickling humanity’s curiosity in a profound way since time immemorial and, now, the BBC is making an unprecedented effort to answer it.

Human Planet — an ambitious, jaw-dropping, exquisitely cinematic series exploring mankind’s rich and complex relationship with nature across the globe, out this week on DVD, Blu-ray and video-on-demand.

Filmed on more than 80 locations across remote lands, underwater worlds and aerial heights, it covers everything from the first recorded footage of the world’s last uncontacted tribe in the Brazilian rainforest…

It’s important for humanity these people exist. They remind us it is possible… to live in a different way.” ~ Jose Carlos Meirelles

…to fox hunting with a golden eagle in Mongolia…

…to extreme fishing at Victoria Falls…

…to the magnificent swim of 3,000 reindeer across the icy Arctic waters.

At once exhilarating and profoundly humbling, Human Planet is the kind of journey you go on and never fully come back from, your worldview and self-conception forever changed by the intensity and richness of the experience.

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