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Honoring The Fallen

As hurricane Irene bore down on Washington D.C., most people hurried to find shelter out of the storm.  This would not be the case for at least one group of dedicated soldiers.  Irene would not keep them from their duty.  In fact since 1937, the Tomb of the Unknowns has been guarded without pause 24/7.  That means nothing would stop these men from doing this duty of honor.

Not only does this show great personal courage on the part of the soldiers venturing out into harms way, but this is a great symbol of America’s resolve to stand up to adversity.  Well done Marine…Well done!

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All Shook Up

Do you remember yesterday’s post? I wrote about how you could use some nifty word visualization sites to generate some very creative word clouds.  That certainly isn’t all they can be used for.  Beyond artistic means, they can have practical applications as well.

No doubt when you arrived here you noticed my little play on words above.  This is another spin on word visualization created by Jeff Clark.  He is a very brilliant guy who has a background in applied physics and mathematics according to his blog.  He is able to take data of from all sorts of outlets and condense it down into a visual representation.  He has a number of tools that show preference for words in news media, and on twitter.

I was watching some news last night, and the earthquake in Virginia was all over the news.  It was mentioned on every channel I could find.  Not one of these channels was talking about the other headline maker of the day in the Midwest.  Yes Colorado experienced a similar magnitude earthquake just before midnight on the on the night before.  In light of all the rumbling and shaking that has gone on in the past day or two, I thought it would be interesting to take one of the tools that Jeff Clark has created out for a spin.  It is called News Spectrum (he has one for twitter too called Twitter Spectrum).  I wanted to see if what I was hearing on the news was maybe just me, or whether it was true that much more emphasis was placed on the east coast trembler.

The site is pretty simple to use.  You enter two words, or phrases and the site will sift through the web looking for instances of them being discussed.  What comes back on the screen is a visual representation of that search.  If you look at the graphic I created for this, you will see that it would appear that I was correct in my initial view.  The Colorado earthquake just wasn’t “newsy” enough for the media to keep it’s attention for long.  The blue side was clearly dominating this visualization.  By the way the twitter tool was even MORE one-sided in favor of the east coast.

So there you have it, an artistic way to discuss a scientific subject with political overtones.  Not bad for a Wednesday eh?  I urge you to try your own word visualization searches using the tools above.  Maybe you will be surprised at what you find too.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Old

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Berlin Wall going up.  In 1961 the Soviet Union, and the communist eastern bloc countries made Berlin a symbol of the cold war by erecting a wall that would cut the city in half.   The west would decorate the 87 mile long wall with colorful graffiti.  On the eastern side it was bare, and protected by a wide “kill zone” to prevent people from defecting to the west.

This wall would stay in place for roughly 30 years, evolving through many phases (evolving from a chain link fence to the last iteration pictured to the right).  In the early 90’s the political climate in the east destabilized the communist ideology, and the wall would come down.  The photograph of this piece of the wall was taken at the S.A.C. museum in Nebraska.

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