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Not sure how this firework graph was produced. It "shows" 10 million emails sent through the Yahoo! Mail service in 2012, a team of researchers used the R language to create a map of countries whose citizens email each other most frequently. Click here for another interesting chart on Analyticbridge (produced with Tableau). Read this article to find out more about the algorithms used to produce these maps. And here are 14 questions about visualization tools

Question: do you think that these graphs are

  • beautiful but useless?
  • beautiful and useful?
  • not beautiful, and useless?
  • not beautiful, but useful?

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A normalized map of e-mail density between countries, where closer proximity indicates more e-mail. The colors correspond to Huntington’s “civilizations.” (Bogdan State et al)

The Internet was supposed to let us bridge continents and cultures like never before. But after analyzing more than 10 million e-mails from Yahoo! mail, a team of computer researchers noticed an interesting phenomenon: E-mails tend to flow much more frequently between countries with certain economic and cultural similarities.

Among the factors that matter are GDP, trade, language, non-Commonwealth colonial relations, and a couple of academic-sounding cultural metrics, like power-distance, individualism, masculinity and uncertainty. (More on those later.)

The findings were released in a paper titled “The Mesh of Civilizations and International Email Flows,” written by researchers at Stanford, Cornell, Yahoo! and Qatar’s Computational Research Institute.

Read the full article.

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