Josh Rubin, who practices the erratic and ephemeral art of cool hunting, has a, well, cool post on his blog today about 10×10, an interactive tool that gives an arresting snapshot of the most relevant words and images of the moment. (Trust me, it’s cool. Check it out.)
Refreshed every hour, the tool uses RSS feeds from three major news sources — the BBC, Reuters, and the New York Times — and “an elaborate process of weighted linguistic analysis” is performed to create the patchwork of photos. “The result,” the site’s creator writes, “is an often moving, sometimes shocking, occasionally frivolous, but always fitting snapshot of our world.”
The 10×10 tool reminds me of the importance of information design and the work of Edward Tufte, the brilliant Yale information designer who has written famously about the perils of PowerPoint. His absorbing books, “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information” and “Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative,” transform data into art and statistics into beauty. Tufte has a new book coming out next fall, called Beautiful Evidence. Very cool, indeed.