Picture This


For the last couple of weeks I’ve been really interested in how computers can help us visualize data.  I’ve been playing around with Yep (think iPhoto for PDFs) and Delicious Library (interesting way to organize your books, music, games, etc.).

Today I was reading a post in O’Reilly Radar and they were talking about IBM opening a site related to visualization.  They also mention a fascinating site called “The Baby Names Wizard’s NameVoyager” and is the best way to waste time I’ve found in ages.  You enter a name and it shows you how popular (measured as # registrations per 1,000,000 U.S. babies) that name was over the past 120 years.

Here are a couple of interesting thoughts for you.  If you read Freakonomics, you might have noticed a chapter on baby names (a link to a summary on Slate is here-it’s well worth reading).  You can enter these in the generator and see if you agree with their perspectives.

Additionally, if you look at the share of the top 1000 names, as a percentage of total names, it’s on a steady decline.  Up until the 1950s the top 1000 names accounted for over 90% of total registrations; now it’s down to about 75%.

Finally, “Lindsay” as a name for boys hasn’t done too well over the years: it peaked at the 874th most popular name for guys back in the 1960’s.  Don’t worry mum & dad - no hard feelings; I love my name.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

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