Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Ashley Wang, Kimberly Yu, Margaret Yu

The data say that honey consumption in the U.S. is increasing, but the yield per bee colony is declining in the U.S. We want to tell this story because bees are very important for the pollination of approximately one third of the United States’ crop species, including a variety of fruits and nuts. Given the inversely proportional relationship between honey consumption and yield per bee colony and the phenomenon of colony collapse disorder, beekeepers should be well-informed of the situation of bee colonies in their state. Our audience is potential hobbyist beekeepers. Our goals are to provide beekeepers with information about trends in yield per colony in their state as well as resources for becoming a beekeeper.

We looked at USDA datasets from the years 2000 – 2016 as well as the winter loss rate from the years 2007 – 2016 and yearly honey consumption data from the USDA. From the winter loss rate data, we see that the number of bee colonies is decreasing at higher rates.

We used Tableau to create a time series of the yield per bee colony in the United States between the years 2000 – 2016. The hex tiles represent the honeycomb constructed by bees, and each hex tile corresponds to a U.S. state. The golden-yellow hues represent the amount of honey and the yield per bee colony. The darker the hue, the higher the yield.

Presenting the data as a time series using hex-tile maps provides the audience, potential hobbyist beekeepers, with relevant information on how productive/healthy bee colonies are in different states.

Clicking on a state will reveal more detailed statistics on metrics such as production, stocks, and average price per pound as well as resources such as links to websites for beekeepers in a specific state and general beekeeping resources. We included this user interaction because we feel that potential hobbyist beekeepers could benefit greatly from learning about the details of beekeeping within a specific state.

National Honey Bee Day (the third Saturday of August) would be a promotional day where Amazon would display the slides on their website and have a sale on bee starter kits, and grocery stores can set up a special booth selling honey and bee starter kits as well as displaying screens with the slides.

Margaret’s Data Log for Sunday 2/12/17

Data created and captured in digital form on Sunday, February 12, 2017:

  • number of steps in Apple Health app on my iPhone
  • sent emails
  • saved pins to my Pinterest
  • took pictures which were saved as image files in my phone’s Photos
  • added events to the Calendar app on my phone
  • sent fb/text messages
  • filled out whenisgood form online
  • got a greenbox from dining, which was logged in techcash.mit.edu
  • created shared documents in Google Drive
  • bought pocket tissue from La Verdes, a transaction logged by the cashier into the computer
  • tapped my ID to get into McCormick Hall
  • logged progress on homework assignments in My Study Life web app
  • clicked ‘Going’ on a Facebook event
  • downloaded some files to my laptop
  • internet browsing history
  • wrote this blog post, which is saved in WordPress

The Rhythm of Food

Google searches on the universal topic of food can tell a very interesting story about food trends. I recently came across The Rhythm of Food, a collaborative effort between Google News Lab and Truth & Beauty to explore patterns in food trends based on Google searches over the years starting from 2004. 

The one-page website provides a scrollable, rather adventurous experience of viewing food trends, starting with the rise and fall of certain diets, cuisines, and recipes between 2004 and 2016. Scrolling further yields a circular timeline for the apricot fruit with annotations that explain how to interpret the timeline. The popularity of Google searches for the food item is measured by a Google Trends score collected weekly.

Apricot circular timeline with annotations
Apricot circular timeline with annotations

A visitor to the website can view food trends by month to see what’s trending at a specific time of year. A visitor can also discover specific food trends with a more advanced search.

advanced search for food trends
advanced search for food trends

It is hard to simply stumble upon this website, and given the large collection of food items with timelines, I think this data presentation is for people curious about the seasonality of a specific food item or looking to discover food trends in general.

The website does a good job of presenting the data as a story. Each food item has its own story in the form of a circular timeline and the website presents the data visualizations in a story-like way that encourages the viewer to keep scrolling to answer questions like “What are the most common patterns?” Some timelines even have special annotations for events that triggered sudden popularity. Personally, I wish there was also a way to compare seasonal popularity between different food items in a single interactive visualization.