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Watch the World Lit Up By Millions of Voices During Obama's Inauguration

Illustration for article titled Watch the World Lit Up By Millions of Voices During Obamas Inauguration

No, this isn't America under attack by swine flu. It's a visualization of call activity all over the world during Obama's inauguration from MIT's senseable city lab. Watching it in motion is even more amazing:

Since it's MIT, there's data behind the beauty. Over 138 countries came together, more than half the countries in the world. The biggest international callers were Canada, Great Britain, France, and Puerto Rico. In the US, California, Florida, New York, Texas and Georgia topped the list—all but GA are in the top 5 most populous states. Georgia cracking the top 5 is interesting since it's only the 9th most populous. It and other Southern states saw the biggest increases in call activity overall—over 12x the norm.

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This might be my favorite visualization though, a bonus version that shows the "emotional flow" of inauguration across the country, with spikes in calls represented by states pulsing toward you:

And below that is what it looked like in Washington, D.C. during the inauguration:

Whoever thought data could be so alive? Be sure to check out the whole project at senseable: [MIT senseable city lab via 10000words]

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DISCUSSION

This is neat and all, but I'm missing the part explaining why the Obama inauguration caused people to make phone calls. This seems sort of like measuring the number of people running red lights around the world during the Super Bowl, there's just no direct correlation between the subject and the data.