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Preface: Why are using the same graphs that were invented in 1786? Science is necessarily methodical, and methodical can be slow. Like any slow process, the evolution and modernizing of the process is … even slower. And the world is evolving particularly fast where data is concerned. Data processing and storage is increasing exponentially, and science is falling behind. Today the truths we need are more complex and the arguments not so easily settled by a simple graph. My aims are to use the unrestrained nature of Art and its avenues of exploration to help convey some truths behind data. This hopefully frees the viewer to interpret the data in terms of its immediate impact but also aid a deeper objective contemplation and interpretation without an overpowering “message” preventing further understanding and hiding additional conclusions achieved by the viewer.

Solar Flares

All solar flares laid over one another as you look at The Sun. Each flare is a circle. Since Feb 2002 there have been 115424 flares detected by the RHESSI mission. Most originate from The Sun (though some will be a Gamma-ray burst). The Sun is an interesting object as it can’t easily be observed by the casual observer (unlike, say, The Moon) and a lot of the structure and activity is hidden. This image is an attempt to show some of this activity. Importantly, all the scales are kept linear to show the range of this activity. The range of individual flares when combined show a larger, underlying structure for The Sun without fitting models or further measurement. Clearly two bands exist either side of the equator where the density of flares are greater, due to the magnetic field structure.

Each flare is overlaid in date order with the size and color depicting the strength of the burst, with the previous flares showing through at half the intensity as they are overlaid. The center of each flare is the angular position of the flare origin on the sky, the exterior radius relates to the total counts on the RHESSI instrument, the inner relates to the duration. The color relates to the peak counts (red is a larger peak). Overlaid the final image is the density map of the origin of the flares and an off-set in brightness to depict the extent of The Sun’s disc. The brightness is a circular disc though the shape of The Sun may not be entirely spherical.

Though, it seems as though some flares originate outside The Sun’s disc. This could be due erroneous detection or false signals in the instrumentation, but also could be flares from the opposite side of The Sun that are only observed once they have reached a certain distance from the surface.

Uber and Cabs: Around The Clock

The time-of-day that Uber and Yellow Cab pick-up in New York between April and September 2014, and how Uber is (or was) catching up. There are 4.5 million Uber pick-ups (green) and 82.4 million yellow cab pick-ups (yellow) between April and September 2014. Each is shown as a ring on the image, the radius scaling with the total pick-ups with the lightness of color scaling with the number of pick-ups, all shown on the 24-hour clock. The bars between the rings show how Uber pick-ups are approaching the previously dominant yellow cab pick-ups. The difference in the first and last 3-month periods are displayed as the bars between the two rings – the longer/lighter the bar the larger the difference. As Uber pick-ups are increasing and yellow-cabs decreasing in all cases both sets of bars approach each other.

Pick-up locations are clearly a factor as shown in my other submission, however this image shows that the time-of-day is another strong factor. This image lends itself to a further understanding of how the balance of power might be shifting between the two means of transportation.

The image was inspired by Kenneth Noland who used target shapes painted on a bare canvas background to lift the image and give maximum intensity to the image. Like Noland, these rings suggest the ever spinning action of a clock, and the change in color as the numbers shift from day to night and the inclusion of the grey-scale bars between the rings lift the rings above the flat plane and also aides the viewer in interpreting the data on two planes.

The times between 6am and 9am show interesting behavior as the decrease in yellow cabs is at its strongest but the increase of Uber is not so strong which suggests, overall, that people are choosing other modes of transport for the summer. Walking and enjoying the sunshine.

Uber data obtained via FOI request ( and Yellow Cab data available at

Uber Vs Cabs

All 4.5 million Uber pick-ups, and 82.4 million yellow cab pick-ups between April and September 2014. The rise of Uber is well documented, but the geographic complexity is often harder to see as the context and requirements of each area vary so quickly. Even within the confines of an airport the distinctions between Uber and Yellow Cabs can be seen.

Uber data obtained via FOI request ( and Yellow Cab data available at These are added to the image with a log-scale to bring out areas where there are clear differences. Uber pick-ups in green and Yellow Cab pickups in yellow. Red therefore is when the two pick-up densities are similar.

Interestingly, artifacts from the interference in GPS position introduced by the tall buildings of Manhattan can be seen as some pick-up locations seem to be in the water. Also, in this image at LaGuardia airport there seems to be a resonant radial artifact in the GPS positions, presumably from a radar tower. What causes the wave-like nature in this image is not clear.

King James Vs COBE

The King James Bible, and how it appears using the same color-scale as the historic COBE map of the Cosmic Microwave Background that famously showed the afterglow from the Big Bang. (Blue=negative words, Red=positive words). The contrast in this image between the “scientific” and “theological” shows an unresolved conflict between these two communities on the origins of The Universe. Whether the viewer is a believer or not, it highlights the differing and sometimes conflicting messages within the text and how it ends with a more positive message. It is perhaps analogous to how the differing views in the scientific process cause it to achieve a greater understanding of nature though proving and disproving various theories, eventually resulting in a positive net understanding of the universe.

The full text of the King James bible (taken from displayed top to bottom with a break inserted between old and new testaments. The color is a form of sentiment analysis, in that the word being compared has a score of visual similarity with known positive or negative words (taken from and references therein). Each word has a score, for example the word “cherry” is visually similar to the positive word “cheer” and also the negative word “cheat” though the sentiment of “cherry” is entirely separate from either. As each word is added with a wide spread, it has a diffuse impact of the sentiment of the text. As well as showing up the use of recognized negative/positive words, the style of writing and the naturally available vocabulary can also be seen. The changes in subject matter and authorship can also be picked out. The color-table was adapted from the original cosmic microwave background measured by the COBE mission ( launched 1989). Each pixel represents a letter with the spread being 30 pixels, fading linearly away from the central point. The image is then scaled down.

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