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You Need a New Dictionary

 Posted by on December 13, 2011
Dec 132011
 

One of the many things you’ll find out from the Wall Street Journal’s What They Know series is that you need a new online dictionary. In their study of tracking files distributed by major websites, dictionary.reference.com (aka dictionary.com) topped the rankings by passing on an absurd 234 tracking files to its visitors in the name of 40 companies who want to know more about people who use the dictionary.  Merriam-Webster, whose auto-play videos should be punishment enough, came in second with 131 trackers.


So the next time you look up bullshit in the dictionary…

Wikipedia is your only safe bet when it comes to what Google is going to serve up first, though Wiktionary would be the appropriate option. Not only is Wikipedia the most popular website without ads, it is the only one of the top 50 sites not installing a single tracking file on your computer. Check out What They Know to find out which sites lie in-between.

[via Visual Complexity]

Open Census Season

 Posted by on March 30, 2011
Mar 302011
 

It’s that time of the decade again.  The census is done and now the data is starting to flow.  It’s free candy for reporters [Detroit -25%] and, since it’s 2011, you are going to see this data like never before. Of course, it takes time to get through it all, but the New York Times is offering some 2005-2009 data while you wait…

(click to launch NYT’s Mapping America: Every City, Every Block)

And in case you’d like to check out some of the data yourself, the U.S. Census Bureau has rolled out FactFinder2:

While definitely easier on the eyes and more technically sophisticated, the sugarcoating is skin deep as FactFinder2 is also sort of confusing, if not discouraging, to use.  ACM recommends a deep breath before going in.

[NYT's Mapping America: Every City, Every Block; FactFinder2; FactFinder1]