Incorporating a Dynamic Word Cloud into a Searchable World Tweet Map

This is a quick note about a simple feature added to the searchable world tweet map visualization. Namely, the wordcloud2.js project by TimDream was incorporated into this visualization, with the word cloud updated dynamically as tweets are received based on the search.

When you're watching tweets streaming by, your eye can kind of pick out patterns, but the word cloud gives a somewhat better (and sometimes insightful) summarization.

A Dynamic Word Cloud added to a
Searchable World Tweetmap
(word cloud implementation based on
Tim Dream's wordcloud2.js project)

At this point, nothing fancy is done to handle a moving time window, bigrams, custom colors, etc. Nevertheless, right off the bat it seemed to add an interesting extra dimension to this visualization.

StrongLoop/Loopback for Node App Gruntwork = Looks Cool

I am looking to set up a slightly more involved node app. Forced by twitter to use OAuth to allow using twitter's search api, I put together a couple of very simple node apps (such as this searchable world tweet map). It felt really nice to be using javascript throughout.

I now am looking into a slightly more involved app, where as before I'll use 3rd party logins, but also maintaining data for a user.

I will be wanting to have both a standard web site interface, and REST endpoints for mobile app interaction. I will also want to have a basic Android and iOS app that makes use of the app.

While I could do this myself, I decided to look around to see what was available to handle even more of the grunt work.

A quick search led me to StrongLoop's Loopback framework and it looks slick.

The features of StrongLoop
for simplifying node.js app development
look slick as heck

A number of things got me fairly excited about StrongLoop's Loopback framework:

A summary of Loopback and its associated modules is below (from their github site).

This has got me thinking of setting up a boilerplate app that has all the basic endpoints for user management, and has the groundwork for for iOS, Android, and web clients. Then, for a custom app you just start from there and add the extra stuff you need to quickly see if the app/idea has any traction.

No matter what I end up doing shortly, this looks really cool.

Visualizing the Entire U.S. Judicial System - How High the Mountain

I have been on a quest to create a visualization of the entire US judicial system.

So far, I've gathered enough information to do this for the federal courts, and the state appellate courts. This includes about 400 courts. Here's a screenshot of that (the interactive visualization is available at https://googledrive.com/host/0B2GQktu-wcTiWm82NGt5MTZreHM/):

A Visualization of some parts of the US Judicial System
(available here)

There are lots of other courts within the states, of course, and diving into that is next on my list.

I came across the National Center for State Courts web site that has, among other things, a count of the number of courts within the states. This includes circuit courts, district courts, municipal courts, probate courts, and even "Town and Village Justice" courts in New York. I am not sure exactly how accurate these numbers are, but it provides some perspective as to how big the total number is.

The figure below provides some insight into how much farther I've got to go with this visualization:

Comparison of Approximate Number of Courts
My current visualization of the US judicial system
includes only the courts in that little green wedge.
(state court data from the
"Interactive State Court Organization App",
available at http://www.ncsc.org/sco# )

Whatever the precise numbers are, it is clear that there's a ways to go here.

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