This is so good: “We are dead stars, looking back at the sky”

Can’t believe I hadn’t seen this before. It is the best video ever. Made in May 2014 by  The Atlantic and The Really Big Questions, the video (3:57) features NASA astronomer Dr Michelle Thaller explaining, beautifully, how “the iron in our blood connects us to one of the most violent acts in the universe—a supernova explosion—and what the …

Rental house prices & Antarctica mission: visual stories online

I’m enjoying the work coming out of the NZ Herald’s data ‘department’ (not sure it’s big enough to warrant that description but I like the sound of it). This week Harkanwal Singh, the Data Editor, has published an interactive map of New Zealand showing changes in rental prices for houses since 2001, and 2006. It’s fascinating …

“The exploration of outer space shall be the province of all mankind”

I love the language in the United Nations Treaties and Principles on Outer Space (related General Assembly resolutions and other documents) (PDF). Article Number 1 “The exploration and use of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of …

Māori weather and climate indicators – a poster from NIWA

I notice that NIWA, New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, has a poster of Māori climate and weather indicators for download on its website. You can either grab the pdf or order a full-sized paid-for poster. The weather (day-to-day state of the atmosphere, varying from minutes to weeks) predictors include: From Te Roroa: The sound …

Visualisations of satellites orbiting earth

From Quartz, an interactive graphic of every active satellite orbiting earth – all 1200 of them (as at August 2014). The graphic’s based on data from the Union of Concerned Scientists, and lets you filter by age of satellite, launch country, purpose or primary user. You can also animate the satellites into their orbits, and see …

Matt’s guides to Google Analytics and the value of informative file names

Matt Lane has done a nice job explaining how Google analytics works in two nicely illustrated posts over on Medium. I particularly like the way he explains (and shows) what the snippets of code look like and how and where to add functionality. The first piece, An Idiot’s Guide to Google Analytics, looks at the basics, …

Hats off: a whole week with only one tab open at a time

Some people at Fast Company had a go at using only one browser tab at a time – for a whole week. The premise behind this challenge is that multitasking rarely works–yes, we can walk and talk at the same time, but when we’re quickly shifting between email, filling out spreadsheets, and checking our Twitter, …

How to add macrons to Māori words

Macrons are the little lines on top of a vowel that indicate it should be pronounced long rather than short. If you’re not sure where to use macrons when typing Māori, try the Māori Dictionary (there’s also an app). Tom Robinson has advice for how to use macrons in html/xhtml. Below are a couple of ways to …