Posts Tagged ‘tag cloud’

Students Dig Deep For Words’ Origins (Wash Post)

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

[Editor's note: Nifty typography (text word art) graphic in the shape of a plant with roots reaching down into the earth. Good use of color to establish figure-ground. Illustration for article about the study of the origin and evolution of words.] View larger (PDF).

Republished from The Washington Post.

CLASSES APART. Article by Michael Birnbaum. Graphic by Todd Lindeman. Nov. 24th, 2008.

First in a series of occasional short takes on unusual courses in local schools.

For a few hours every other afternoon, Latin and Greek roots rain on Phil Rosenthal’s etymology class at Park View High School in Sterling. Etymology — the study of the origin and evolution of words — might be considered the domain of tweedy types who reek of pipe smoke. But Rosenthal tries to give his 20-some students a sense of the stories and shades behind the words they use every day.

“Kids see a word that to them is foreign, and they run away from it,” Rosenthal says. He started the class with a group of other Loudoun County teachers in 1990, and it remains one of the few of its kind in the country.

On a day focused on Latin words including arena and sinister, Rosenthal talked about the twists words take as they make their way into English. Arena, for example, means “a sandy place” in Latin. Sand was scattered in the center of Roman stadiums where gladiators fought. Sinister derives from Latin for “left,” with the implication that lefties were suspicious.

Rosenthal said some students take the semester-long elective because they are curious about words. Some liked other classes he taught. Others might want to improve their verbal scores on standardized tests. And a few “are actually lost,” he said. “They wanted to study bugs and thought it would be a cool thing to take an entomology class.” (That was a mistake shared by a Loudoun school official when a reporter made an
inquiry.)

An understanding of the complexity of language might give a leg up to students entering college. Students in Dennis Baron’s English classes at the University of Illinois “tend to know almost nothing” about word origins. “They don’t see roots and those sorts of things,” said Baron, a professor of English and linguistics.

Although he wondered whether etymology might be better as a component of a larger high school class on linguistics, Baron said he thought it was “a way of getting at high school English without the overemphasis on formal grammatical stuff” in many secondary curriculums.

That seems to be borne out in the class. This week, students are starting a unit on the influence of mythology on the language. They’ll give presentations about Sisyphus and Narcissus, who lend their names to “Sisyphean” and “narcissistic.” Etymology “just brings all this general knowledge together,” Rosenthal said.

Missed Connections: Where, Exactly (Very Small Array)

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

[Editor's note: Amusing series of tag cloud like maps showing where, exactly, missed connections occurred by state.]

Republished from Very Small Array. November 17, 2008.

Of the last hundred or last two weeks of Craigslist Missed Connections posts per state mentioning a specific location at which the connection was missed.

Your best chance for a Craigslist missed connection in all fifty states. Black ink on white 8.5″x11″ cardstock, signed and dated (or not!). Available in original-flavor and m4m, m4w, w4m and w4w. Twelve American Dollars. Buy on their site.

Country Codes of the World Map / Cartogram

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

[Editor's note: think of Dorling Cartograms but as tag clouds. Republished from ByteLevel.com. Thanks Aly!]

Country Codes of the World

A whole new way of looking at the world

At the end of every URL and email address is a top-level domain (TLD). Although .com is the world’s most popular TLD, it is far from alone. There are more than 260 TLDs in use around the world, most of which are country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). The Country Codes of the World map includes 245 country codes, which encompasses all United Nations countries as well as numerous islands and territories. Each two-digit code is aligned over the country it represents and is color coded with the legend below for quick and easy reference.

High-quality print, suitable for framing

The map measures 24 inches by 36 inches and is printed on high-quality, 80 lb. uncoated cover stock with a one-inch margin to accommodate most frames.

Each ccTLD is sized relative to the population of the country or territory, with the exception of China and India, which were restrained by 30% to fit the layout. At the other end of the spectrum, the smallest type size used reflects those countries with fewer than 10 million residents.

This map is an excellent resource for managers of global Web sites and global marketing executives. And because there are no country borders, this map has been proven by teachers to be a valuable tool for teaching world geography.


Bulk orders. Media requests.
One company recently ordered more than a hundred copies for its global Web teams — and saved money by ordering in bulk. If you would like a price quote, please contact John Yunker.

We’re also happy to send sample copies to qualified members of the media.

Map conceived and designed by John Yunker

This map is a registered trademark of Byte Level Research, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Words They Used (NY Times)

Monday, September 29th, 2008

[Editor's note: Continuing my blogging catch-up, this graphic from the NY Times on Sept. 4th integrates graduated circles with tag clouds (word clouds) that also include frequency numbers. This approach takes up more space, but I think makes it more readable. Below the main "cloud" is a breakdown by speaker with columns with tags and another set of mini graduated circles in rows. Important to note: this is rate per 25,000 words spoken, not the actual frequencies.

Seeing this graphic again and thinking of the first Presidential debate between Obama and McCain last week, I am reminded that these tag clouds are only appropriate when the content sample is large / long enough to allow themes to manifest and that categories can be just as appropriate as individual key words.]

The words that speakers used at the two political conventions show the themes that the parties have highlighted. Republican speakers have talked about reform and character far more frequently than the Democrats. And Republicans were more likely to talk about businesses and taxes, while Democrats were more likely to mention jobs or the economy.

View original at full size at nytimes.com . . .

Graphic by MATTHEW ERICSON/The New York Times.

Paula Scher: Maps as Tag Clouds?!

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

paula scher europe

paula scher europe detail

Paula Scher has produced a series of nifty map art that focuses more on placenames than their locational placement. The placenames are in correct “relative” space but not absolute space. The names all run together in a placename tapestry where they swirl in colorful waves and eddies. Thanks Curt!

From the Maya Stendhal Gallery press release:

Maya Stendhal Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of renowned artist and graphic designer Paula Scher, which runs from November 8, 2007 through January 26, 2008. Scher expands on her highly acclaimed Maps series to create her most engaging work yet, depicting entire continents, countries and cities from all over the world that have been the critical focus of attention in recent headlines.

Through an acute understanding of the powerful relationship between type and image, Scher harmonizes witty with tragic, the methodical with the intuitive, and the personal with the universal in these new paintings. Dynamic images are saturated with layers of elaborate line, explosions of words, and bright colors creating a plethora of visual information that produces an emotive response to places lived, visited, and imagined. Scher’s maps also reflect the abundance of information that inundates us daily through newspapers, radio, television, and the Internet to reveal the fact that much of what we hear and read is strewn with inaccuracy, distorted facts, and subjectivity.

On view will be Tsunami (2006) depicting the area that was ravaged by the destructive natural force on December 26, 2004. Evoking memories of compassion and grief, the image is covered by a swirling vortex of words denoting towns, cities, and areas, which echo the violent rotation of that monumental storm. Paris’s (2007) bold blue and white péripherique rigidly maintains the city’s borders. While inside, Paris as we know it beams in a captivating latticework of blue, yellow, green, and purple exuding the city’s sense of vitality and charm. China (2006) shows a colossal landmass with cities, provinces, and roads pulsating in reds, blues, greens, and yellows. Listed above are the astounding statistics that make China one of the world’s great centers of capitalism and culture. Manhattan at night (2007) glows in deep jewel tones of purple, blue, green, and black. This enchanting quality is sobered as the median incomes of various neighborhoods disclose the very different realities of city residents. NYC Transit (2007) projects the city in intricate layers of line, text, and color that culminate with the iconic map of the New York City subway system. The major outsourcing destination of India (2007) takes form in a giant pink landmass accented with bright blue and green road markers and orange location names, which give the impression of a sign for its popular Bollywood industry. Israel (2007) presents the country and bordering countries including Egypt, Palestine, Jordon, Syria, and Iran. Text representing cities and regions is written in varying, haphazard directions communicating a visual sense of conflict and discord. Middle East (2007) segregates the area by rendering each country in its own bold color. The land’s sordid past is remembered through hatch marks and dots representing the Babylonian Empire, Moslem Empire, Ottoman Empire, and Roman Empire.

Ms. Scher began her career creating album covers for CBS Recordings in the 1970ís. She moved on to art direction for magazines at Time Inc., and in the 1980ís formed her own boutique firm, Koppel & Scher. She has been a principal at the New York-based Pentagram design consultancy since 1991, where she has created visual identities for Citibank, The New York Public Theater, and the American Museum of Natural History, among others.

Further reading:

Andy Woodruff over at the Cartogrammar blog has a post that lists other tag cloud like maps with images.

Wordle – Beautiful Tag Clouds

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

wordle example 2

From the official website:

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

[Editor's note: This awesome tool from Jonathan Feinberg, a researcher at IBM, displays tag clouds the "right" way by packing the words into the interstitial space between tags and rotating tags from the horizontal baseline. Johnathan uses simple bounding box logic to accomplish this. I will look into adding this to my Adobe Illustrator script (and perhaps bound the tags into a user-defined shape like a heart for Valentine's day).

If you look at the HTML tag cloud that is generated for my blog at the right sidebar you'll see a bunch of text on the same horizontal baselines. That type of tag cloud wastes a lot of space by not packing the words closer together. If there is a big word with small words on 1 line, there is a lot of wasted white space around the smaller words on that line. Fast but not pretty. And only horizontal. Up until now packed tag clouds have taken tedious hand-placement by an artist.

Now Wordle, a web Java applet will do that for you. The tag clouds can be saved as vector PDF by printing to that format in your web browser. This will generate a vector-outlined version of the tags (outlined fonts, not editable type) and in rich-black RGB color space so make sure to convert and clean-up in CMYK before publishing! There is no restriction on publishing the tag clouds for profit or otherwise. Seen on infosthetics.com.]

Tag Clouds – Add one to your blog

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

tag thumbPlease note I have added a tag cloud to my blog in the sidebar at right. The “cloud” is made of all the tags (keywords) and categories I’ve classified my posts here with the last 4 months. The words and phrases are sized according to frequency. So the bigger and darker a tag is, the more posts on that topic. This practice has been around awhile on the net and it’s useful to cross reference and dig deeper (click on one of the tags to do this). You can see at a glance that I mostly talk about maps, design, and promote stuff ’round the net I like. Have WordPress? Install the Configurable Tag Cloud Version 4.1 plugin.

We’ve started publishing tag clouds in The Washington Post starting in December 2007 with the series examining the candidates running for president on both the republican and democrat tickets. Here’s Mitt Romney’s cloud:

tag cloud romney

We did this again for George W. Bush’s final State of the Union address in January:

tag cloud state of the union speach bush

For Valentines day we lead the Weekend section with a large heart shaped cloud in February:

tag cloud valentines day love

Cartography Carols – Xmas Gift Guide

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Paper

Ork Posters has some neat “artsy” neighborhood maps of several major metros. Not quite like the DC t-shirt available from Mustardseed in Bethesda, but…

sf poster

Fabric

Threadless and NoiseBot both have some good (if not amusing) offerings… click each for direct link.

cowboys and indians kazahkstan shirt idaho shirt missouri shirt