Science and Technology News

Friday, September 14, 2012

"Follow the Money: Human Mobility and Effective Communities" (Images 1-3)



Image 1: "Follow the Money: Human Mobility and Effective Communities," by Christian Thiemann and Daniel Grady, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.

Ever wonder where your dollar bills travel after you plop them down for a cup of coffee? The website "Where's George?" allows you to do just that: Record your bill's serial number and then track its journeys as other people spend it across the country. But it's more than just a game, because every time a dollar is spent in a new place, it means someone moved it there. Thiemann and Grady have been using the website's data to study how people move within the United States.

They produced this video to explain their project and animate the results. Tiny bills stretch out from county to county on a map of the contiguous U.S. Some places, such as Los Angeles, Calif., have many bills passing through it from across the nation, while others, such as Anderson County in Tennessee--Grady's home--have just a few that mainly cycle locally.

This image was tied for First Place in the Non-Interactive Media (Screen Shots) category of the 2009 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge (SciVis) competition, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the journal Science. The competition is held each year to celebrate the grand tradition of science visualization and to encourage its continued growth. The spirit of the competition is to communicate science, engineering and technology for education and journalistic purposes.

Image 2: This screen shot is from the video "Follow the Money: Human Mobility and Effective Communities," by Christian Thiemann and Daniel Grady of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.  The screen shot was entered in the Non-Interactive Media (Screen Shots) category of the 2009 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge (SciVis) competition, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the journal Science. 

The SciVis competition is held each year to celebrate the grand tradition of science visualization and to encourage its continued growth. The spirit of the competition is to communicate science, engineering and technology for education and journalistic purposes.

 (Date of Images: September 2009)

Credit: Christian Thiemann and Daniel Grady, Northwestern University

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