Jumping The Great Firewall
This project visualizes censorship and online expression on the twitter–like micro–blogging platform Weibo.
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This project visualizes a relatively new phenomenon: online free expression in China. It examines some innovative strategies employed by users of Weibo, a Twitter–like micro–blogging platform, in order to avoid government censorship bloggers post images as text. Images are much more difficult for automated search programs to analyze, which allows image-based content to spread more widely before it is detected and removed. Taking advantage of this, some users now turning writing into images, taking screenshots of their own and others' controversial posts before they're removed, then posting and re–posting them. The project visualizes Weibo posts that were posted and deleted between September 8th to November 13th, in 2013.

Use of the Internet in China is policed — watched over, censored, and punished — by a human and technological program that has been nicknamed 'The Great Firewall'. The aim is to keep politically unacceptable or "sensitive" content (words and articles about the Tiananmen Square massacre, for example) invisible to Chinese Internet users. Twitter and Facebook are largely blocked, as are many news outlets and human rights web sites; web searches are seriously curtailed; sensitive words are blocked; and online postings and other content is routinely removed, blog posting removed. For many Chinese users who wish to access blocked web sites, the only option is a Virtual Private Network (VPN), a virtual leap over the Great Firewall.

We examined a different strategy that has emerged in Weibo blogging, where users can insert images directly into their postings, without links. Images are much more difficult for automated search programs to analyze, which allows image-based content to spread more widely before it is detected and removed. Taking advantage of this, some users now turning writing into images, taking screenshots of their own and others' controversial posts before they're removed, then posting and re–posting them. Visualized here are many such deleted posts from September 8th to November 13th, in 2013.

Research for this investigation was conducted in collaboration with a team at the Spatial Information Design Lab and the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, in partnership with Pen American Center and ProPublica. The ProPublica article, called China's Memory Hole: The Images Erased From Sina Weibo" uses a similar methodology to ours.

Research for this investigation was conducted in collaboration with a team at the Spatial Information Design Lab and the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, in partnership with Pen American Center and ProPublica. 

 

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Port to Port
Using D3 as an interactive web platform we designed a map interface that is scaled globally while embedded with local stories about energy movement from port to port.
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A visual exploration of energy shipping routes around the world.

90% of all goods worldwide are moved by ship, but shipping is mostly invisible. More than 300 million Metric Tons of energy are shipped in and out of the United States each year, in 60,000 shipments.

This project presents the ports and paths of the 2.7 billion Metric Tons of energy shipped through more than 90 US ports from 2002 - 2012. 

Using data assembled by Thomson Reuters, Port to Port maps global oil shipping routes as well as other forms of energy navigating ocean territories to and from the United States.

Using D3 as an interactive web platform we designed a map interface that is scaled globally while embedded with local stories about energy movement from port to port. Data can be viewed across time, which reveal changes in patterns of movement as the geopolitics, price of oil, and conditions at specific ports change.

In collaboration with Thomson Reuters Research Unit.

U.S. and foreign ports by amount of imports.

 

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