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The New York Times has published a really cool interactive census map up on its site. It has a number of different ways to sort and visualize the data including population change, population density, various demographics, housing, etc.  It also gives you an opportunity to view all data by state and zoom in on your own zip code.  It’s a very nice and simple tool.

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is always the big retrospective on the year. Who died, what books were great, what were the top news stories, best (and worst) TV shows, etc. It gets to the point where you experience year’s best list overload.  Not anymore!  Today I found a list of the best 2010 Year-End Lists.  Check it out here for one last look back at 2010.  There are a great mix of sources including the New York Times, Slate, Roger Ebert, the A.V. Club, Spin, etc.  One of the best is The New York Times’ year in pictures.

Google has released its Zeitgeist 2010, highlighting the search trends for the past year.  What’s up, what’s down, what do we care about? There’s a lot of information to look at here, but in a year that the United States saw mid-term elections and a host of other contentious issues the fastest rising queries included:

  1. iPad
  2. chatroulette
  3. iPhone4
  4. World Cup
  5. Justin Bieber

You can find additional trends for rising and falling terms across news, image, maps, etc. here.

It’s that time of year again, time to start thinking about Planningness.  W5 is once again sponsoring the planning community’s “unconference.” This year the event is taking place September 30th and October 1st in both Boulder, Colorado and Brooklyn, New York. W5 will have a contingent at both locations.

For those of you who didn’t go last year, the event is two days of talking, idea exchanging, and doing. In Boulder, the event will focus on innovation and making change happen.  In Brooklyn the sessions will focus on applying new modes of thinking to the work you’re currently doing.

We’ll post more about the speakers and sessions as details emerge on the Planningness website. For now, you can go buy your tickets here.

Here are a few pictures from last year’s event too.

It’s Census time again, that means that all 300 million or so Americans get to fill out a survey. The research geek in me loves it (even when the first two questions on the form are poorly designed enough to confuse me briefly). That being said, the New York Times City Room blog had an interesting post highlighting the trivia that is played if you call the Census Bureau and are put on hold.

Try it out, if you call 301-763-4636 you can hear bits on information such as how many Americans have dogs or cats, how many shelled peanuts we eat each year, a 152 year old patent for pencil erasers, etc.

The Times article has some of the scripts and recordings for those of you who don’t want to call and have to ask to be put on hold (or you an call the line dedicated to playing the messages without prompts or talking to people (301) 763 2222).