Sustaining the momentum: All of us are blood!

When reflecting on current race relations in the U.S. , honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. cannot but force us to acknowledge the fierce urgency of embracing the “black lives matter” movement. But that urgency is easy to get lost on media notorious for its short attention span. No matter how powerful or timely a message is, having it silenced by the noise typical of today’s social media would render it impotent. The challenge of persistence is real! So is the need for sustaining the momentum!

Conservation of Momentum

There is nothing more destructive for a society than the pent up energy of ignored social demands… and nothing worse for a social media strategy than losing its momentum.

“Newton’s third law implies that the total momentum of a system of interacting objects that are not acted on by outside forces is conserved. For a system of objects, a component of the momentum along a chosen direction is constant, if no net outside force with a component in this chosen direction acts on the system.  In collisions between two isolated objects momentum is always conserved.  Kinetic energy is only conserved in elastic collisions.”

Think of every twitter message, every social media post, every action, every discussion, every protest, every song every hand reached out to someone who is different from you yet human as much you as the object of this interactive system aiming for informing minds and changing hearts.

The geek in me wants to elaborate on using the 3rd Law of Newton as a metaphor of the power of social media for change; the artistic curator in me just wants to branch out and collect diverse expression of the same message over and over until all get it: #blacklivesmatter and #allofusareblood!

How to inform minds, and change hearts, through social media

The message needs to be told over and over, using multiple channels, using multiple modes of expression. There is no better way to convey a message than to do it visually. That is, unless you add an audio component, but I will get to that in a minute.

All Of Us Are Blood
All Of Us Are Blood

Here are some examples:

Let us look at the question of human dignity globally and and throughout history, reflecting on the cost of human life throughout history:

Getting outside of the comfort zone of averages, and focusing on the U.S., how does the cost of human life change when we reflect on the Three Fifths Compromise? What has its impact been on the lives of African-Americans. What about the impact on Native Americans? I would love to see such powerful data visualization that conveys the lost opportunities for minorities, and society at large.

When you mix inequality with the human development index, things get pretty uncomfortable pretty soon: “For instance, the United States’ IHDI is 17.4% lower than its HDI, yet it drops 23 places in ranking.”

We are not numbers but surely the power of numbers can help convey a message.

If anything, we all are energy, and music… and blood.

All Of Us Are Blood!

That is where the audio side of things comes in — or rather the musical expression of our call for human dignity — “I Can’t Breathe”, a powerful new song by Moanin’ Sons in collaboration with and with the participation of Lonnie Jordan of WAR.

This is a song so masterfully mixing the message with the data with the emotion and the artistic expression that it deserves to be heard over and over, and to be shared as widely as possible. For it can be one of those elements of sustained momentum. Share the message! Join the conversation!

Visualization tool for your Facebook friends’ geographical location

Visualizing your Facebook friends’ geographical location

A cool visualization tool profiled by InsideAnalysis shows the geographical locations of Facebook friends on a Google map. The Holistic Systems app, available at, was created with client-side JavaScript and Facebook Query Language (FQL) and takes advantage of the Facebook API and the Google Maps API.

Visualization of the current cities of my Facebook friends' geographical locations
Visualization of the current cities of my Facebook friends’ geographical locations

The basic version breaks down the list of your friends by location, gender, relationship status, and list membership. The advanced version of the app features drop-down menu of filters based on interests such as religion, books, music, and work history.

I was pleasantly surprised to see how broad the geographical spread of my Facebook friends is and decided to further explore their origins.  It turns out that the majority of them come from hometowns different from their current cities. Switching back and forth between the home town and current city makes for an interesting graph of Facebook denizens’ migration. See for yourself at

Visualization of the home towns of my Facebook friends' geographical locations
Visualization of the home towns of my Facebook friends’ geographical locations

Stunning Data Visualization of the Average Commute Time

Stunning Data Visualization of the Average Commute TimeThe DataNews team at WNYC has put together a stunning data visualization of the average commute time in this great country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, whose data the talented data scientists and data artist up in New York used:

About 8.1 percent of U.S. workers have commutes of 60 minutes or longer, 4.3 percent work from home, and nearly 600,000 full-time workers had “megacommutes” of at least 90 minutes and 50 miles. The average one-way daily commute for workers across the country is 25.5 minutes, and one in four commuters leave their county to work.

This makes me appreciate the fact that most days I bike to work which is a good 30 min workout downhill and another 35-40 min really good workout uphill.

So much food for thought but nothing beats a beautiful picture: