Friday, October 30, 2015

Word Count and Historical Trends: What Google Can Show Us

Discover a great new tool that Google has, allowing you to search any English word or phrase you'd like. Google then searches through books, articles and all other publications for that phrase and returns the data in a visual format. Below are some of the more interesting results I wanted to share... you can also test the feature for yourself by following this link:

American Civil War
The lead-up to the Civil War and it's aftermath, with a slight tick up heading into the 20th century. Notice another upturn during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Fall of the Berlin Wall
The use of the word "Communism" rises in the early 20th century before coming crashing down as the Berlin Wall falls in the later quarter of the century.

World War Two
The end of WW1 makes way for a political party known as the Nazi Party, giving rise to the word "Nazi." Ultimately culminating with the Nuremberg war crime trials in the 1950s. Notice it has remained mostly level ever since.

Something called "Google" begins...
The phrase "Google it" enters popular lexicon, like a rocket ship in the 1990s.

The American Revolution
The use of the word "Tyranny" rises dramatically as the colonists decide to break away from the British. A steady decline in tyranny ever since the birth of United States America.

A slow build in the use of the word over time. Worth noting the rise before 9/11 as well as in the aftermath.

Looks like the birth of America gave rise to a fixation on money.

Past vs. Future
Seems like people have always been fixated on the future. But more recently, the past has been creeping up on us.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Photo Post #4: New York City

 Empire State Building and the Freedom Tower looming in the background. Through the glass.                © Chris Besserer

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Jawbone Coffee App Tracks Your Caffeine Intake

This one's for all you daily coffee drinkers out there.

With the rise of wearable technology, it is only inevitable that there is now an increasing amounts of data you can keep track of. The Jawbone Coffee App allows you to enter, you guessed it, your coffee intake. Though you do have to manually enter the information on the app every time you drink a coffee, the app does simplify this by having pre-programmed options from two of the more popular coffee chains, both Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. So, after you stop off at Starbucks for your morning Americano, all you have to do is choose 'Americano' and pick a size from the menu. It will also save your most recent inputs, so if you have a routine drink everyday there's no need to go through the menu again, it will be right on top. What's the point? The app knows precisely how much caffeine is in that cup you just had. Next time you go to the doctor, and once more data points are recorded, your doctor will have a substantial amount of personal data to go over. And why not add caffeine to the analysis? 

The interface could use some improvement, but the overall idea is there. This is another example of the push for the 'quantified self' that I've mentioned in previous posts.

 You can also see a graph of your sleep readiness, which Jawbone calculates based on caffeine intake and body statistics such as height, weight, and level of reaction to caffeine. Sometimes I'll test this by entering a coffee into the app and seeing what time I'll be sleep ready. It can help someone gain awareness about how long the caffeine will be in their system for. Perhaps you will now be able to correlate with certainty that your sleeping pattern is affected by your caffeine intake. Give this app a whirl if that is something that sounds interesting to you.