Thursday, October 15, 2009

Walnut Hills Class of 1989: Where Are They Now?

After making some interesting discoveries while flipping through the 1989 Class Directory that was distributed at my 20-year high school reunion, I wanted to visualize the WHHS Diaspora; to actually see where everyone ended up. I used the information provided in the directory to pinpoint last-known residence of each alum who provided contact information (380 in all). The result is an interactive map where you can see who is located in each city. Important: The map does not show people's actual addresses and is not linked with any contact information; it just associates a name with a city.

Click the picture of the map below to go to the actual interactive map. (Note: It might take 30 seconds or so before all the placemarkers load up.) The placemarkers are colored according to how many students from our class are located in a given city:
  • Red - 1 student
  • Yellow - 2-5 students
  • Green - 6-10 students
  • Blue - 11 or more students

In fact, there's only one city with more than 10 former classmates, and that is, of course, Cincinnati, with an impressive 161 folks still taking up residence there. The next most populated city is Brooklyn, with 8 of our classmates. I also posted a worksheet of the raw data I used. It's basically the same as from the directory, with some minor corrections.

To move the map, click and drag it. To zoom in and out, use your mousewheel. Click a placemarker to see who lives there.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pimp My History

Why does the average MySpace profile look like an electronic facsimile of baby diarrhea? Is it because the large amount of control MySpace users have in terms of layout and design is perverted in the hands of users unversed in the fields of visual design and typography? Is it the sub-literate non sequiturs that constitute most of the "content" of the typical MySpace page? Or is it the bling?

A cottage industry has blossomed around MySpace where websites offer tools and services to help users make their profiles even more unreadable and appalling. One such website is Blingee, where you can upload photographs and pimp them out with decorations, text, and simple animations. You can then post your blinged-out images wherever you like. (Please don't.) Below is a typical example:

While considering the MySpace Question (that question being, "Is MySpace horrible, or just the things people do with it?"), I wondered if the situation was similar with Blingee: Was it possible to use Blingee technology for anything other than evil? What if we could use it to make something boring more interesting- history, for example? Wouldn't that justify Blingee's existence if it stimulated interest in the minds of our young? Let's have a look.

Winston Churchill and Bernard Baruch

English heroism and resolve meet American capitalism and diplomacy in this famous photograph. The average teenager would have fallen asleep two words into that last sentence, since those concepts (and, frankly, any word with more than two syllables) are well outside the modern adolescent's ability to comprehend. With Blingee we can portray historical figures in a context that today's kids understand.

The Hindenburg Disaster

In the post-Bruckheimer era, black & white photography simply doesn't convey the horror of that historic night in New Jersey. With Blingee we can deliver an experience every bit as visceral and evocative as a Michael Bay movie.

The Kiss in Times Square

It was a kiss that captured the nation's collective elation, relief, and joy on V-J Day in a single, iconic image. But in today's tough economic times, where schools are understaffed and overcrowded, teachers are expected to teach kids more with fewer school days and less pay. With Blingee we can make a single historical document a visual aid for other topics as well. Health, Sex Education, Self Defense, and Biology for starters.

The Saigon Execution

In 1968, Viet Cong operative Nguyễn Văn Lém was executed in front of an American photojournalist... or was he? Don't kids see enough violence on TV these days? With Blingee we can soften the blow of History's darker chapters.

Current Events

Sometimes stock photos alone aren't adequate to sufficiently illustrate a news story.

The Future

We can dream, can't we?