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SIGNALS: Medical Data, Wind, Solar, Milk, Displays, Water, Energy, Leaf, Robots, Climate Change, Cyborgs

Healthy Avatars, Healthy Living

A preliminary study from RTI has found that Virtual World users with thin, active avatars are significantly more likely to be active and healthy in the physical world. Specifically, while 80 percent of Second Life users whose avatars participate in vigorous exercise also say they exercise in the physical world at least once a week, only 57 percent of users whose avatars do not exercise in the virtual world report exercising in the physical world.

It's kind of like open heart surgery, but without all the mess

Want to see how your heart works?  Check out TheVisualMD.com ("Your virtual wellness information center") for some cool 3-D visualizations that integrate state-of-the-art medical imaging with computer-generated animation.  Cardiovascullar health is the therapeutic area that has the most videos available, but the site is expanding its offerings into other areas, including urology and neurology. This video will give you a better understanding of what an arrhythmia looks like (I mentioned arrhythmias in yesterday's post).  If you really do want to see at least a little bit of a bloody mess (it's not that bad, but then again, I am not squeamish about such things), you can watch this real kidney transplant.  Cool, eh?

LastGraph: Beautiful Timelines of Last.fm Data

agreatnotion at LastGraph

Me as a Word Graph

Wordle is sweeping it's way across the web, and while I've been a reluctant aficionado of tag clouds, this Java applet can turn any arbitrary set of text, web page, or del.icio.us feed and turn it into an -attractive- tag cloud. Yes, attractive is the operative word.

Here's the tag cloud of my del.icio.us feed, and I'm shocked at what an accurate fingerprint it is of my research interests over the last year.

Visualization through Interpretive Dance

Visualizations of all kinds are becoming a new literacy for understanding data, from crocheted coral reefs to tag clouds to digital heat maps. But that's only the tip of the iceberg. A friend just sent me this amazing video directed by Robert Alan Weiss for Stanford's Department of Chemistry in 1971. It's an interpretive dance re-enactment of protein synthesis called "Protein Synthesis: An Epic on a Cellular Level," filmed on Stanford's campus.

Visible World How-To: Visualization

Visualization tools will require a new visual literacy for employees. While many companies rely on a creative or design team for visual communication, regular employees will more frequently be called upon to interpret and communicate data in a visual format.

To start, IFTF's maps are visualizations: the Future of Work map is visual abstraction of the Future of Work Perspectives. Sharing these with your staff and asking them to interpret data is a good exercise—and a way to help them understand why you might ask them to try a bunch of new and unusual things.

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