Seeing Data

I'm sure there's a fancy academic word to describe this phenomena, but it's fairly obvious people "get" data a lot better and faster when presented in pictorial form, rather than in the cold hard numbers. Pie charts, graphs, plot distributions, etc - they all can relate complex numerical data in fairly straightforward pictorial fashions. And it's far more effective.

Lookee above - take crime data, plot it on a map, then use 3D modeling to give height to the numbers, and nearly instantly you can see what parts of San Francisco you might want to avoid (or, conversely, might want to visit if you are looking for a particular service). 

But in truth, we do this all the time, every day, every moment. What you're "seeing" right now is your brain's representation of pure data that surrounds us. That is us - we're pure data too. Everything that exists is. Just that our senses have evolved to represent this data to us in specific ways - colors, for example, are just different wavelengths of light. You could represent every conceivable color using a set of numbers, but where's the beauty in that?

I tell you where: Ever further down. Beauty is everywhere, in everything, if you choose to see it as such. Numbers might be the most beautiful thing of all. Maybe....

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