Editing O.J. Simpson: Charting Changes to His Wikipedia Page

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Crime, News, Sports

I’ve just finished watching ESPN’s fabulous O.J.: Made in America, a five-part documentary about the Hall of Fame football player.

Somewhere in the process of digesting this latest — and, perhaps, best — telling of O.J.’s story, I scoured Wikipedia for details about his life. I discovered that the page has been edited more than 4,000 times since it went up in 2003, back when Wikipedia user “Vera Cruz” posted the first biographical snippet.

Since then, users have slowly edited — and vandalized — the current bio’s 5,000 words, a process I’ve charted below.

How Common Is Your Birthday?

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics

UPDATE: I’ve written a clarification about this post here. Please read it

A friend posted an interesting data table on my Facebook wall yesterday, which was my birthday. The data listed each day of the year with a ranking for how many babies were born in the United States on each date from 1973 to 1999. Some interesting trends are evident in the data. Apparently, people like to make babies around the winter holiday season because a large proportion of babies are born in September (ours is due Sept. 24, btw).

Sept. 16 was most common. Feb. 29* was least common. This heatmap is an effort to visualize the trends, with darker shades representing more births:

Data source: NYTimes.com, Amitabh Chandra, Harvard University

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* A previous version of this post incorrectly listed Jan. 1 as the least common birth day. 

A Below-Average Birthday

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Weather

Today’s my birthday, and the weather is great. What’s it been like for past birthdays, I wondered.

The answer: All over the place (sort of like my parents’ moving choices). This quick heat map shows how the weather varied over the years, with the minimum and maximum more than 40 degrees apart. The average is a balmy 80 degrees, a bit warmer than today:

Data sources: Weather Underground, Weatherbase

Mapping ‘My’ DC

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Social Media

Steven Lehrburger, a software engineer in New York, announced just now that he’d updated his cool web app, wheredoyougo.net. It allows Foursquare users to visualize their checkins with heat maps.

Here’s an example from last January, when I still lived in Austin:

With the new version live, I mapped more than 900 checkins. Here’s where I go in Washington, D.C. (I live at 12th and Kearny in northeast, and I work at 6th and Massachusetts in northwest, so that explains the red spots in the upper righthand corner and downtown).

Below is a national view. This makes sense, as I’ve spent most of my time in D.C. and Austin since I stopped using Gowalla (*tear*) in favor of Foursquare. What’s strange, though, is that I’ve never been to Vancouver.

Thanks for the update, Steven.