Characterizing the Midwest in Maps and Essays.

Last week, FiveThirtyEight published the results of a survey that asked self-identified Midwesterners what states properly constitute the region: As a Midwestern expat in the Southeast, I have strong opinions on the matter (I’m totally judging you, 10% of respondents who place WY and PA in the Midwest. To wit, Meghann Marco nails the argument against Pennsylvania’s…

Hiding a pregnancy from Big Data might get you flagged as a criminal.

    A friend of mine sent me an interesting read this morning: a Mashable story on Princeton sociology professor Janet Vertesi’s mission to prevent marketers from discovering her pregnancy. The manner of methods by which she evaded detection are striking reminders of how embedded in our daily lives are the means of personal data collection–and retrieval. By now, most…

These modern art barcodes remind me of facial-recognition camouflage and that’s kinda cool

HuffPo recently profiled Russian multimedia artist Dmitry Morozov and his most recent interactive installation, “Post Code.” Morozov created an artistically inclined mechanism that scans the barcodes of various objects, turning the encoded digits into post-card sized works of glitch art. Along with visual translations, the mechanism also retrieves the melodic beeps and hums hidden within the codes,…

International recognition? Please. Why Crimea isn’t Russian until Google Maps says it is.

Every so often, the world considers what mapping really is and why it matters. Determining what cartographic elements to include and how spatial entities are represented on a map have long been subjects of occasionally-esoteric study, but sometimes it takes a major geo-political action to remind the non-geographers among us what power and influence these…

Why everyone should care about mathematical literacy

I really enjoyed this excellent profile in Mother Jones on Edward Frenkel and his crusade to promote mathematical literacy. Before college, I hated math like it was my job. Probably because my K-12 exposure was limited to a life-sucking traditional pedagogy: mastering principles via boring, obnoxiously repetitious, and seemingly irrelevant rote memorization and application of equations because testing. Frenkel gets…