Review: Handbook of Data Visualization (Springer Handbooks of Computational Statistics)

5 Star, Communications, Decision-Making & Decision-Support

data visualoization935 pages, 569 Figures, 50 Tables, See Image, August 21, 2008

Chun-houh Chen

I gained access to this book free, via the sponsor of our non-profit's first year of operations, or I would not have bought it. It is a “great work” in the classic sense, and merits total respect. It must certainly be in the library of any university or college with ambitions to educate those who will lead the next wave moving us toward Web 3.0 and Web 4.0.

The publisher has been responsible about posting useful information (see inside the book, the second active link below the cover on this page) so I urge anyone thinking about this work, at this price, to print and attach the table of contents to their requisition.

The book does NOT make the leap to geospatially-referenced data or infinite end-user tagging of data, but it is certainly a foundation endeavor and I recommend it on that basis.

The other books being read by our senior “working” technologist include:
A New Ecology Perspective by Sven Jergensen et al (Elsevier, not on Amazon that I can find)
Information Visualization: Beyond the Horizon
Building Trustworthy Semantic Webs

Most of what we are reading these days are research reports that are outrageously priced and really should be affordable books and also free online, but most authors are too willing to give away their intellectual property for a pittance at tis time. Personally, I am betting on humans linked with low cost information sharing and group sense-making tools, and I am NOT holding my breath for automated fusion, machine learning, artificial intelligence, or machine sense-making.

I admire, very much, the more affordable books on visualization offered by Amazon, and urge the individual reader to spend on more of those than on this one overly expensive basic reference (I would have priced it at $90).

See the image I have loaded under book cover for a sense of the nuances Earth Intelligence Network is exploring.

Review: Information Visualization–Beyond the Horizon

4 Star, Communications, Decision-Making & Decision-Support

info visualizationEssential Reference, Slightly Disappointing for Me Personally, August 21, 2008

Chaomei Chen

I had already decided to grade this a four instead of five, in part because it makes me cranky when world-class authors such as the author of this book neglect other world-class pioneers because of their unwillingness to do a proper search outside their own narrow boundaries. I refer of course to Dick Klavens, Brad Ashford, and Katy Borner, whose Maps of Science are online and spectacular. Even Eugene Garfield, the inventor of citation analysis, gets short shrift.

That aside, the book is an essential reference. While it makes the needed point, that first generation visualization was about showing structure and relationships, and second generation visualization needs to be more dynamic and depict evolutionary and revolutionary changes and mutations (and I would add, provide early warning of anomalies and emergent patterns).

The last chapter, 8, on Detecting Abrupt Changes and Emerging Trends, is very interesting, but heavy on mathematics, and lacking in great detail, which reminds me this is really an overview text, and should be valued in that light. Two examples of fraud detection that I have personally seen as representative of the power of visualization include Dr. Bert Little's discover of $79 million in crop insurance fraud among roughly seven insurance agents and 20+ specific farmers; and the brilliant work of Dr. Simon J. Pak and Dr. John S. Zdanowicz who found $5o billion a year in import-export tax fraud (and Colombian coffee cans marked one pound and weighing 1.5 pounds) through their exploitation of public Department of Commerce databases.

This book has been assigned to our senior working technical person along with three others listed below.
A New Ecology: Systems Perspective, Sven Jorgensen et al (Elsevier, 2007), not on Amazon that I could find
Handbook of Data Visualization (Springer Handbooks of Computational Statistics) (Springer Handbooks of Computational Statistics)
Information Visualization: Beyond the Horizon
Building Trustworthy Semantic Webs

For myself, I put the book down thinking to myself, citation analysis is all well and good, but how do we integrate co-visualization of content, geospatial, money (e.g. “true costs” of each aspect or attribute)?

I continue to admire the work of Peter Morville, such as Ambient Findability: What We Find Changes Who We Become. His name does not appear in the index either. See also: Keeping Abreast of Science and Technology: Technical Intelligence for Business

Review: Serious Games–Games That Educate, Train, and Inform

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Education (General), Education (Universities), Games, Models, & Simulations, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Government/Secret), Intelligence (Public)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Superb Overview for both Novice Games, and Non-Gamer Sponsors of Games,

February 25, 2007

David Michael, Sande Chen

This book is exactly what I hoped for when I ordered it from Amazon. In fact, it is much more. The first part, in three chapters, talks about new opportunities for game developers, defines serious games, and talks about design and development issues.

Then the book surprises. It has entire chapters on EACH of the following: Military Games, Government Games, Educational Games, Corporate Games, Healthcare Games, and a chapter on Political, Religious, and Art Games.

Following final thoughts, the book surprises again. The appendices are world-class. Appendix A is a tremendous listing of Conferences (13 in all), and Organizations (6), Contests (1, Hidden Agenda, $25K prize–we need MORE); web sites (6, less impressive than I hoped), and publications (5). Appendix B is a survey with results, and Appendix C is a very fine bibliography as well as a very helpful Glossary of terms in the field, and an index.

Ever since I saw the US Army sponsor the Serious Games summit, and then saw the emergent success of Games for Change, I realized that we were at the beginning of a major explosion of innovation that could change the world.

In my view, Serious Games need to become the new hub for life-long education, for inter-cultural understanding, and for simulating belief systems, including evil belief systems, at both the macro and micro neuroscience levels. The Earth Intelligence Network was just created this year in order to feed free real-world public intelligence to all Serious Gamers as well as to Transpartisan policy and budget developers.

In my humble opinion, Serious Games is the next big leap in the global Internet, especially when integrated with the Way of the Wiki such that open source software standards can allow games on every threat, every policy, every budget, every location, to interact and to empower the public with tools for sense-making and consensus-building that were once limited to a small elite.

This book was everything I hoped for, and much more. I am not now and never intend to be a game developer. I want to see Serious Games expand from isolated toy-like games that focus on one small issue in isolation, to a vibrant “Co-Evolution” Sphere that in an increasingly accurate representation of the Earth, past, present, and future. This book is my ground zero in observing this field, and I have very high hopes for the future of Serious Games.

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