Archive for July, 2009

Essay: Icons as Fact, Fiction and Metaphor – Lens Blog –

July 27th, 2009

Is photography always honest? Where is the line to be drawn between truth and fiction?

Essay: Icons as Fact, Fiction and Metaphor – Lens Blog – [See my post on Edgar Martins, too, here.]

Makes me think of Susan Sontag’s On Photography [page 86]:

A fake photograph (one which has been retouched or tampered with, or whose caption is false) falsifies reality. The history of photography could be recapitulated as the struggle between two different imperatives: beautification, which comes from the fine arts, and truth-telling, which is measured not only by a notion of value-free truth, a legacy from the sciences, but by a moralized ideal of truth-telling, adapted from nineteenth-century literary models and from the (then) new profession of independent journalism. Like the post-romantic novelist and the reporter, the photographer was supposed to unmask hypocrisy and combat ignorance.

Data Scienist > Data Geek > Designer « Visualizing Economics

July 26th, 2009
Catherine Mulbrandons Data Scientest steps (per Ben Fry; from

Catherine Mulbrandon's Data Scientest capabilities (per steps by Ben Fry; from

Catherine Mulbrandon took Ben Fry’s 7 steps of data the  Data Scientest steps (from his PhD dissertation (page 30 etc), dated 1997 and reiterated in his Visualizing Data book, as he describes on his website) and graphed her own ability levels in each area.

Clever use of the original ideas, along with some additional “Testing” inserts of her own. In fact, as a programmer, I would argue for testing between each of these 7 steps. I wouldn’t dare use data (from step 1) without validating it, nor move to step 3 without ensuring that step 2 hadn’t trashed the data. Indeed, each step assumes a solid foundation from the earlier steps, though, as Mr. Fry mentions, the steps are largely iterative, not linear. True, thankfully.

[Thanks to for the link.]

Announcing the NYT API Tool – Open Blog –

July 26th, 2009

The New York Times just announced the NYT API Tool on their website. Geared toward making use of their API easier, the web interface shows the options, allows for setting custom parameters, and facilitates pulling data from their site as easy as possible. For real use, you’ll need a key, but once you have it, you can pull data from their site programmatically. It won’t be as easy as their API Tool, but at least you can make more calls with fewer keystrokes.

Interested in their API, but don’t know how to program? Know how to program, but don’t know if it’ll be worth the effort? Either way, give their API tool a shot.

[Thanks to for the link.]