Want to know everything about your town or job? This site will show you

mit data usa 0001
MIT Media Lab's DataUSA visualizes U.S. data
Welcome to Data USA! MIT Media Lab has released Data USA, an open source data visualization engine loaded with all publicly available U.S. data. The promise is that we can find what we want fast instead of laboring through tons of data with different interfaces on thousands of government sites. If you’ve tried accessing government databases to get commercially unbiased data, as I have, the experience is often cumbersome. But that may change.

For example, if you’ve considered moving for a job transfer, your experiences likely have been like mine as you try to figure out what different towns and cities are really like to live in. With typical online government databases you first have to figure out if what you want is really there, learn how to navigate the interface, and finally search for data that’s often in tables and lists that aren’t very clear. This is where Data USA to the rescue.

The data visualization project was sponsored and supported by consulting and auditing firm Deloitte, according to The New York Times. Deloitte not only provided the funding, but also “expertise on how people use government data sets in business and for research.”

So if you decide to search on a city or town, you just type the name in the center screen query box and click “Search.” I looked at Boulder, Colorado and learned that the population is 102,002, it’s the 295th of 29,509 census designated places, median household income is $58,062, and the media age is 28.3. That’s nice, but it’s not all. First off, the background image shows the Rocky Mountains, which border the hip little city. At the bottom of the screen there are menu icons for About, Economy, Demographics, Education, Housing & Living, and Health & Safety.

See also: MIT biologists have developed a programming language for bacteria

It’s easy to find the data on public health, traffic patterns, energy consumption, family incomes, and many other topics, but Data USA isn’t just about data, it’s about visualization. When you click on a location’s sub-menus the data comes back fast but it may take a couple of seconds for the graphs to appear. The category is typically summarized or described in a short sentence or two but the data is converted to simple-to-understand graphs. Most of the graphs I saw were horizontal or vertical bar charts. The graphics are not over done or glitzy, in my opinion, but very easy to understand.

Research always has been about finding accurate information. Thanks to Data USA, it appears that info is going to be even easier to understand.

Smart Home

Is Amazon tweaking its search algorithms with a new A.I.-driven shopping site?

Amazon is testing a new shopping site, Amazon Scout, which combines a visual aesthetic with customers' ability to like and dislike products, collecting more data on users' habits and preferences.
Social Media

Facebook is paying cash rewards if you find vulnerabilities in third-party apps

As part of efforts to put the Cambridge Analytica scandal and related issues behind it, Facebook said this week it's expanding its bug bounty program to include third-party apps and websites that could potentially misuse its data.

5G may spur the return of smartphones locked to specific carriers

5G is set to bring faster speeds and higher data caps to our smartphones and tablets. Unfortunately, those smartphones and tablets may be locked to the carrier they are originally purchased from.

Security flaw on modern PCs could leave your encrypted data exposed

Hackers can revive the decade-old cold boot attack to steal your data by exploiting weaknesses in a modern PC's or Mac's firmware, researchers discovered. The hack requires attackers to have physical access to your PC.

10 viral video celebrities from the past and where they are now

Ever wonder what happened to William Hung after his less-than-stellar American Idol audition? We take a look at 10 of the most popular viral video celebrities and see what they are up to today.
Movies & TV

Tired of Netflix? Here's where to find free movies online, legally

We've spent countless hours digging around the web to find the best sites for streaming free movies online. Not only are all of these sites completely free to use, they're also completely legal and trustworthy.
Smart Home

Tannenbaum in a box? You can order a real, 7-foot-tall Christmas tree from Amazon

If you have fond memories of going out with your family and searching for the perfect Christmas tree, well, Amazon wants to create its own holiday tradition, This year, you'll be able to order a real, seven-foot tree from Amazon.

Will Chrome remain our favorite web browser with arrival of newest version?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Safari, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.
Social Media

Facebook expands fact-checking net to try to catch doctored photos and videos

Facebook is now fact-checking images and video along with articles, using third-party organizations. New A.I. helps flag potential fakes for human review, but user flags and comments still help recognize what content might not be accurate.
Emerging Tech

Stay up-to-date on Hurricane Florence’s path with these apps and websites

Looking to track Hurricane Florence's path towards the U.S. coast? This list of the best hurricane apps and websites with help you stay ahead of this or any future storm, and stay safe.

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.

From true crime to comedy, here's our list of the best podcasts around

When you aren’t in the music mood, podcasts can be your ear candy. Whether you love to stay up-to-date on the latest news or want to know what’s happening in sports, you’ll find something on our must-listen-to podcast roundup.
Social Media

How to run a free background check

There are plenty of legitimate reasons for carrying out a background check, and not all of them are creepy. Here are several methods that allow you to run a thorough background check on someone online, whether you need to vet a potential…

Is your Wi-Fi screwing up again? Here's our list of the best wireless routers

Check out the best wireless routers for a variety of homes and apartments. We've collected the top routers for wireless management, 4K streaming, professional gaming, Wi-fi on a budget, and much more. Take a look at our top pick, then check…