New Data Visualization Gives Everybody a Reason to Look Forward to Hurricane Season

Bear with me -- this is cool.

Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Viégas make things look cool for a living. They lead Google's "Big Picture" data visualization group. They're of a special breed of nerd -- how many people do you know with a résumé that includes a doctorate in mathematics and an exhibition at the MoMA?

The two have put together all kinds of crazy ways to look at data, and their latest, an animated visualization of wind currents, is cool enough to make you want to get a tropical storm up in here, pronto.

There are already pretty straightforward ways of checking out wind direction, if you're curious about such things, but spend 15 seconds looking at the mapping system they unveiled on Twitter yesterday and you'll be hooked. The currents change way more often than you'd think -- and, though the underlying information is updated only once an hour, I predict an impending addiction to zooming in on Florida when the winds really kick up in a few months.

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