Interactive Infographic: Change in Energy Sources

Posted: November 25th, 2015

While I usually do not click on “sponsored content,” the recent article “The Great Transition” in The Atlantic was an example of a well-designed interactive Infographic for the Web. The graphic let’s you toggle between past, present and future explaining how to save the world from climate change. Each status of the graphic shows an alteration of the energy mix, bringing renewable sources online fast enough to keep up with the demand of a growing global population.

British Association of Oral Surgeons Study Day: Communicate information using different presentation channels

Posted: November 14th, 2015

I will travel to Birmingham, UK during the next week to present at the British Association of Oral Surgeons Study Day a series of seminars devoted to scientific communication.

To entice prospective participants, I have used the following text: “I will devote the day to how to communicate information using different presentation channels. As we, humans, have started talking before we started writing from an evolutionary perspective, I will start the day with the ins and outs of oral presentations. I will introduce you to practical aspects of information design, with special emphasis on how to tell a compelling story.

Humans started to paint after they talked, thus, we will continue by exploring how to present information using posters. A good poster presentation can be an effective way to share the results of your research with your peers in a collegial and nonthreatening atmosphere. I will introduce you to effective poster planning, design and printing, including why posters are distinctly different from papers.

Then, humans invented the written word, so we will explore writing as communication channel next, specifically Effective Grant Writing.
Whether you apply for a National Institute for Health Research grant or try to get money from the Royal College of Surgeons of England, you need to persuade your peers to provide you with the limited funds available instead of giving the money to someone else. How do you win in this zero-sum game?
We will talk about how to prepare a competitive grant application that is “user-friendly” and avoids common pitfalls.

Next, Video—video communication came pretty late in human history so we will reserve this for the later part of the day. YouTube has more than 1 billion users; and every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube. How can we, as dental educators and clinicians, use video for instructional purposes for our students and for outreach efforts to our patients? How do we protect our patients’ privacy when producing case-study videos? What does it take to produce an instructional video that meets the expectations of our students and residents? As I produce a lot of video, I will share with you the dos and don’ts of video production for health science educators and clinicians. We will look at behind-the-scenes shots and you will receive a step-by-step production guide.

As they day progresses, we will continue with the latest in human communication: Social Media. Maybe it is good that we invented social media so late in our history—Andy Borowitz argues that if Michelangelo had Twitter the Sistine chapel ceiling would still be white. Well, we won’t know if this is true. But we will explore social media Marketing for Oral Surgeons.
While there seems to be a widespread fear about the use of social media among health care professionals, there are tremendous opportunities for oral surgeons who use these emerging communication channels. Through outreach and community engagement, oral surgeons cannot only promote their own services, but become community leaders and health advocates. I will share some practical guidelines for social media use and how to avoid common pitfalls. You will learn how to develop your own online medical professionalism principles and standards.

We will conclude the day with a potpourri of emerging technologies that are currently under development. You will hear about “an Uber for your teeth” and which gadgets belongs to the Internet of Dental Things. But, we will also discuss new 3D reconstruction technologies, resorbable metals and new bone putty. This session will conclude with what you need to know about the new “Big Data” trend as an oral surgeon.”

You can find an introductory video here and the abstract of each presentation was posted here by the BAOS. Credit goes to Bilal Ahmed, BAOS West Midland Rep, who was instrumental to make this event happen. Thanks, Bilal!

Visualizing the Future of Health Care

Posted: August 15th, 2015

Artist Adam Simpson worked with technologists and journalists to capture and visualize the future of health care. The result is more art than data presentation of infographic, but it is still interesting and worthwhile exploring:

The Joy of Stats

Posted: December 24th, 2014

Hans Rosling shows in this augmented reality (AR) animation how 200 countries have developed over 200 years in regards to income and health/lifespan. He visualizes 120,000 numbers in just four minutes. This video can be found on YouTube and was posted by the BBC. While a plain table or chart could have displayed the same information, the AR animation is persuasive and a good example of data visualization.

Watch the video here:

Gephi – The Open Graph Viz Platform

Posted: October 26th, 2014

According to the Gephi Website, this free open-source graph software is an interactive visualization and exploration platform for all kinds of networks and complex systems, dynamic and hierarchical graphs that runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.


  • Exploratory Data Analysis: intuition-oriented analysis by networks manipulations in real time.
  • Link Analysis: revealing the underlying structures of associations between objects, in particular in scale-free networks.
  • Social Network Analysis: easy creation of social data connectors to map community organizations and small-world networks.
  • Biological Network analysis: representing patterns of biological data.
  • Poster creation: scientific work promotion with hi-quality printable maps.

While the Website shows several examples, I would be curious if someone has used it for more advanced visualization tasks. Please comment below.

New York Times about Nicholas Felton

Posted: August 24th, 2014

The technology section of the New York Times shows a video titled “Nicholas Felton: A Quantified Life” describing Nicholas Felton’s obsession with data. Fast Company named him one of the 50 most influential designers in America in 2011. Felton is an information designer who used to work at Facebook and has tracked almost every aspect of his life. While somewhat disturbing he makes a good point that, for instance, our grocery stores know more about our habits than we know ourselves. See the blog post “A Life in Data: Nicholas Felton’s Self-Surveillance” to learn more about his methods and visualizations.

Diagrams and Maps by John Grimwade

Posted: June 29th, 2014

John Grimwade is not only the graphics director at Conde Naste Traveler magazine, but runs his own infographic business. He shares on his Website his impressive collection of maps, diagrams and icons. They are clearly superior infographics worth analyzing because of their information content as well as for learning how to communicate complex content using visuals.

Why do type foundries invent new fonts?

Posted: June 21st, 2014

Steven Heller writes in the The Atlantic about type foundries and their desire to come up with new fonts. It is a fun piece to read with the memorable quote: “‘Why do we need new music, new cars, new clothes?’ In fact, type has become part of today’s digital and cultural consumerism. A fashion analogy works here. ‘Let’s be honest: You buy the Prada suit because the model looks so good in it,’ Roat says. ‘We try to make beautiful things with our fonts for the same reason.’”

Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science Competition

Posted: February 25th, 2014

This post is not about a cool visualization, but about a call for explaining science combined, potentially, with a visualization. A recent New York Times article by Claudia Dreifus reported about the actor and writer Alan Alda whose mission is to help scientists to communicate to a wider audience. His organization started a contest for scientists to trigger their thinking: “Tell us what a flame is in a way that an 11-year-old can understand. The point was to challenge scientists to explain something difficult in words that were both easy to understand and accurate.” When they started, they received already 6,000 entries, now they are up to 20,000. If you want to participate this year, you need to explain to an 11-year old “What is color?” The deadline is March 1, 2014. The rules for the contest state that “entries can be submitted in writing, as videos, or as graphics. This year, the contest has two categories– Written and Visual – and entries will be judged within their category.” So get your thinking started with that 11-year old in your mind!

Examining the Latest MOOC Trend

Posted: January 14th, 2014

Allison Morris shows on an impressive infographic called “The Minds Behind The MOOCs.” I like the consistency in color and style. Allison Morris is currently finishing up her communications degree and spending her free time getting real world experience by helping out and contributing to Check it out: