10 unnecessary uses of data that are still totally awesome

When we think of data, we usually think about big spreadsheets and in-depth analysis. There are many people using data to make exciting discoveries and showcase important points. But, it’s not all serious analysis and bar charts. Some data-nerds (like ourselves) are using data just for fun. And, y’know what? It’s awesome. Here are our top 10 picks for fun data stories.

Love on The Bachelor

After watching more than 10 years of TV trying to bring love to the incredibly beautiful, you may be wondering if a reality show really is the best place to find love. One of the reasons we tune in year after year is the hope of a success story. But after 28 seasons, how many couples have their been? That’s exactly the question Alice Zhao set out to answer when she put up this little number.

How to take the ultimate #selfie

Ever wondered which instagram filter will get you the most likes? Should you selfie alone or is it better with friends? Do women selfie more often than men? Our very own data expert Andrew Fogg set out to answer all these questions and more in his talk: #selfie #data #omg. Which you should omg totes watch below.

Chopstick effectiveness

Are you one of those people who slyly orders a fork at a Chinese restaurant? Don’t worry we’re not here to judge! But, maybe it’s not your lack of finger dexterity that’s the problem. Maybe your chopsticks are too short. In “An Investigation for Determining the Optimum Length of Chopsticks” researchers documented their efforts to find the perfect length for chopsticks.

US Girl Names through history

This fun little time series viz shows the popularity of girl names in the US from 1880 until now. The data was gathered from the US Social Security Administration and visualized by Abaca into this moving bubble chart. It turns out we’re not the only generation to stupidly name people after pop culture. Find out how popular your name it be watching the video below.

Spurious correlations

This one is a classic among data lovers. On his websites, spurious correlations, Tyler Vigen showcases the amazing correlations between completely unrelated things. Things like number of people who drown in swimming pools and Nicholas Cage movies. Or the divorce rate in Maine and the consumption of margarine. If you haven’t seen it, his website is definitely worth a look.

Personalized data jewlery

If you struggle as much as we do shopping for that data scientist in your life, then we are about to blow your mind. Jewelry company meshu lets you create personalized jewelry for your loved ones based on data! Enter the coordinates of places you’ve been or the streets of your hometown and meshu creates a one of a kind piece. Earrings the symbolize all the places you’ve been on holiday? Talk about romantic!

Deaths in Game of Thrones

No show has inspired quite as much of a cult following as HBO’s popular Game of Thrones. So it’s no surprise that data scientists have been collecting and analyzing its data. Our personal favorite it this viz from the brains at datasaurus-rex (an awesome blog for fun vizzes) who used Tableau create an interactive viz of all the deaths in the series – it’s almost as good as being in Westeros. Spoiler alerts abound, but totally worth it!

Love in the lyrics

Do you pine for the simpler days of bopping along to boyband love songs of the 90’s? We sure do! And this site finally gives us the data to back up our nostalgia. For Valentines day last yeah Andrey, Maureen and Johnny analyzed lyrics from the Billboard’s top 100 songs for each decade going back to 1950. They were looking for love and they found it!

A day on the London Underground

Even if you don’t live in London, this visualization is stunning. Will Gallia used a sample of data from London’s Underground travelers to map a single day’s worth of traffic. Each colored dot represents a single commuter’s journey from start to finish. You can watch the full viz below.

Best board game on the planet

If you’re bored of playing Monopoly over and over again, you may want to invest in Twilight Struggle. According to data collected by FiveThirtyEight it is the best board game in the world. It’s “deep strategy, emphasis on skill and the lack of player elimination” has earned it the number one spot out of more than 74,000 (Monopoly is 10,441st in case you were wondering). And unlike card games, it seems that games with an odd number of players are more fun.

What will you do?

We always love seeing cool things people have built with data, be they serious or fun. It’s why we spend so much time building tools to help you get access to data on the web. If you’ve made (or come across) a fun data project or visualization, we’d love to see it in the comments below!

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