The Drake Equation

Information is Beautiful has an excellent interactive chart up at the BBC covering the Drake Equation. I remember studying the equation, which estimates the number of civilizations that might exist in our galaxy, in an astronomy class called “The Search for Extraterrestrial Life” at the University of Texas. Why wouldn’t I take that elective? It was actually less fun than I thought it would be, but it was still very interesting. Apparently they no longer offer the course, or at least not this semester.

Pharma Pictograms

7847_web.jpgFrench researchers have developed a potentially very useful set of graphical icons to depict disease and drug information:

Like road signs, the VCM graphical language uses a small set of graphical signs. The current dictionary contains about 130 pictograms displayed in 5 colors. For example, current conditions of a patient are shown as red icons while risks of future conditions are orange. The physicians who tested the system learned it in a couple of hours and think this system will reduce the number of errors in drug prescriptions.

I think a universal, simplified set of icons is a great idea. Of course they wouldn’t be a replacement for drug information sheets, etc., but they could allow doctors and pharmacist to quickly identify a substance and work more safely and efficiently.

New British currency design

royal_mint.JPGIt’s pretty cool:

26 year old graphic artist, Matthew Dent’s heraldic design was chosen as the new face of British booty. He designed a set of clever cut-aways of the Shield of the Royal Arms. Each denomination is a part of this shield and when brought together, the shield looks complete. […] Completing the new range of coins is the £1 coin featuring the shield of the Royal Arms in its entirety, uniting the six fragmented elements into one design.

Not a bad way for a 26-year-old to build a resume. He’ll soon likely be seeing a lot more of his design in his own pockets. More at the designer’s site and here at the Royal Mint website.

New ways of visualizing digg

digg labs offers several different ways of visualizing the massive amount of information pouring through digg.com every day.

The labs provide a broader (and deeper) view of Digg. A lot of stuff gets submitted to Digg every day, so good things can sometimes fly right past you. Labs projects look beneath the surface of the Digg community’s activities.

UT-designed off-shore Star Wars base

LANDO

I’m pretty sure part of the architectural discussion involved serious considerations, like “Dude – wouldn’t it be so cool?”:

Star Wars inspiration and biomimicry combine for the design of the Facility at Sea, a sustainable marine research platform and feat of offshore building engineering. The concept came together in an architecture studio at the University of Texas, which evaluated potential applications of the soaring structural designs of Star Wars for a marine research facility.

I think they should call it LANDO – though I can’t really think of a good set of words for that acronym. ‘Aquatic,’ ‘Nautical’ and ‘Oceanic’ come to mind.

Two great photography sites

Via Conscientious:

  • Ralph Schulz – I love this one not so much for its photography, but for the site design. Use your scroll wheel (or equivalent) and click around. The pencil line your cursor constantly draws isn’t just cool, it helps you get back to where you were before like a trail of bread crumbs. Sometimes I wish I knew Flash.
  • Chris Felber – click on Portfolio to see a powerful set of photographs. I love these, especially the incredibly evocative westside manor set.