Quiz time: Name that song; weigh up a bowling ball

November 7, 2014

In this weekend’s edition of the Data Dive we look at which politicians aren’t tweeting to one another, who is phoning whom from which countries, how quickly you can recall songs you’d like to forget, and whether a bowling ball weighs more than a handful of feathers (in a vacuum).

Look who’s talking

On the heels of a landslide election, the question of how insular the two parties will be looms large. The Boston Globe provides a hint by visualizing how members of the current Congress connect with one another, and where the accounts they follow fall on the political spectrum.

While we’re on the topic of who is talking with whom: “For all our deepening connection across the earth, this isn’t exactly the flat world we’ve been promised,” Quartz concludes after using a map of international phone calls to debunk the global village concept.

Pop life

Even when it comes to pop culture, data can be illuminating. Scientists at Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry researched the most recognizable songs in the world, based on a study of 12,000 people listening to a series of best-selling songs. “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls won, and you can take the quiz yourself.

Also enlightening, though considerably less fun, is a Gizmodo piece on how skin and hair color affect Disney princesses’ merchandise sales. The answer is as you might suspect, though the reasons why can be debated.

Sometimes science is the best data visualization

Brian Cox of the BBC visited the world’s biggest vacuum chamber at NASA’s Space Power Facility near Sandusky, Ohio, in order to test the Newtonian laws of physics. Watch what happens when some feathers and a bowling ball are dropped in a room that’s had the air sucked out of it.

Meanwhile, Japanese scientists have created see-through mice with a resolution of one cell.

Finally, is Big Data overhyped? Forbes investigates—with graphs!—how we’ve entered the “trough of disillusionment” with the concept.


This picture released from Japanese research institute Riken on November 6, 2014 shows a decolorized mouse body and some organs glowing with fluorescence protein at the Riken laboratory


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