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August 31, 2012

#Data #Visualization To Soothe The Savage Beast @mbostock

So last night I'm sitting on the tarmac waiting for my flight to take off, chillin' to a Coldplay's-"Hurts-Like-Heaven"+poor-screaming-child-in-exhausted-parent's-lap-two-rows-behind-me mashed up mix worthy of Eminem and Dido's "Stan".  After we took off, the music moved into a second movement in which the child's keening seemed to slide seamlessly into the many sonic layers of "Paradise", to the point where I thought maybe Chris Martin was two years old once again.

Eventually Mom decided to bring Junior, a real cutie barely two feet tall, to the lavatory.  As the little guy passed by my seat he had a look at my laptop screen, where I was busy trying to decipher and hack the d3 Javascript in a clone of the NYT's beautiful visualization of the Obama budget.

(http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/02/13/us/politics/2013-budget-proposal-graphic.html)

He paused as Mom forged ahead, lingering by my seat to watch as I clicked from view to view of the data, the bubbles bouncing and re-forming to convey the vectors and magnitudes of our collective fiscal choices from one perspective to another.  His eyes moved back and forth from the screen to mine.  He became very quiet, and for a few seconds, the cabin was silent.  

Thank you Mike Bostock.  Among your life's achievements, you can count, for a few brief moments of one night, 100 grateful passengers, one relieved mother, and one happy little boy.

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