Bee Kit

The Bee Kit

Meghan Kokoski, Nina Lutz, Nikki Waghani

The data says that the bee population is on the decline and this has a larger effect than just the cost of honey. We wanted to tell this story because many people are aware that the bee population is declining, but they lack the “so what”, and can be unsure of how to help the situation. According to FOX news, “The honey bee contributes to a third of the country’s food supply”. This comes mainly in the forms of fresh fruits and vegetables.

For our data visualization, we used the historical bee data to create a simple, yet powerful map. The map displays outlines of the states which currently (2017) have 60% or more of their pre-crisis populations. Based on research we determined the bees were at healthy rate in 1990, thus we used the historical data from 1990 to calculate the population differences.  

We envision our map being the attention grabbing sign for an activist group at a farmer’s market. The data visualization will have a titled overlaid asking “Is your state on this map?” This will intrigue shoppers at the farmer’s market to come to the booth. At the booth bee care packages will be handed out. Included in these packages are items that can help individuals do their part to improve the bee population. There will be seeds, bee-friendly local honey, a water basin, and information on how to take further measures.  


We believe the farmer’s market will be an effective place for our visualizations because the audience, farmer’s market shoppers, are primed to care about the bee crisis. Without bees to pollinate produce, the fresh fruits and vegetables found at a farmer’s market would cease to exist.

Shopper that were aware of the bee crisis would welcome the bee kit and further information on how to help. Though, if shoppers were unaware of the importance of bees, they will be drawn in by the visualization and learn about the connection. They will have an interest, because as farmer’s market shoppers, they already enjoy the benefits of bees.

Global Warming Jenga Participatory Game

Global warming is inevitable, but if we play the game right, the results won’t be as catastrophic.

Completed tower top view

My data game is a modified version of Jenga. There are 3 stakeholders; environmentalists (pink pieces), politicians (green pieces), and human factors (representing fossil fuel companies, etc) . While staying in the confines of their roles, the players want to prevent the tower from falling as long as possible.

Completed tower
Completed tower and environmentalist starting pieces.

Player rules…

  • Each round, the factors player must remove any tile.
  • The politician player must remove or move one green tile each round.
  • The environmentalist can remove or move one tile every other round. Every other round they may add to the tower at their discretion. The environmentalist starts with 3 extra pink tiles to do this.
Tower foundation.

What these rules represent…

The factors player represents the human factors constantly adding instability to the system. It is the job of the other two players to counteract this.

While politicians have a lot of power, they can’t change the system completely by performing additions. Also they are confined to moves that are dictated by their constituents and party (they can only move the green tiles). Therefore, their stabilizing effort is very slow and, could be, destructive.

While environmentalists have the power and knowledge to do good and help the system, this is slowed down by politics and destructive human factors. Furthermore, they have less influence than corporations or politicians, and therefore less tiles.

Partial tower.

Player learning…

The first surface level learning comes from the pieces themselves, which all have different facts on them. The environmentalist tiles also have suggestions on them.

The color coded pieces with facts for the game.
A suggestion to help the problem.
An example of a piece fact.

However the deeper level is understanding how these role confines actually represent the current system and the issues within it.

The GoBoston Hackathon

Team: Kevin Zhang, Nina Mary Lutz, Jingxian Zhang

We looked at the GoBoston 2030 dataset and were intrigued by some of the ideas proposed by Boston residents, which ranged from practical problem in transportation system like bus ticket price to innovative technologies like flying cars. With all these inspiring ideas and questions, suppose there is a GoBoston 2030 Civil Engineering Hackathon to encourage young innovators to explore future transportation in Boston. To attract participants and help them explore the GoBoston questions as well as contribute more ideas, we decide to build an website visualizing what people from different Boston regions focus on about future transportation. Our audience are young entrepreneurs and inventors in Boston, and our goal is to get them to join us at the GoBoston 2030 Civil Engineering Hackathon where we will build the future together.

Users will start their exploration by seeing some personal stories from people live in different regions in Boston about their future demand in transportation. When entering the interface, users can see a map of Boston with photos and keywords in different regions representing people and their stories (Figure 1). By clicking a photo, users will be able to read more about the story and see a word cloud about what else of future transportation people in this region pay attention to (Figure 2). The word cloud is generated from the questions related to this region in GoBoston 2030 dataset. Users can also click a keyword in the word cloud to see questions containing the keyword or under a specific theme (if the keyword is a theme name).

By presenting photos and personal stories, we wish to draw users’ attention to what people really need through vivid stories. When users’ attention is drawn to one region, the word cloud can serve as a port to support future exploration about other ideas related to this region.

Data Log: 2/11/17, Nina Lutz

Discrete Events:
  • Ordered stuff on Amazon
  • Ordered stuff on Instacart
  • Watched some YouTube videos
  • Make a Dominos order for a dorm event
  • Paid my credit card, and with my card for the things above
  • Splitwised my friend Joyce when she paid for the Uber to go to lunch with friends
  • Splitwised other friends when I paid for lunch
  • Used Lyft to get us back from lunch
  • MIT printer authentication when I printed some forms
  • Watched some Netflix
  • Blogged this post
All day: 
  • Steps counted on my phone
  • Background syncing on apps (DropBox, Evernote, Creative Cloud, iCloud) while I was doing my work on my computer
  • Social media (Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Tumblr, Snapchat)
  • Emails throughout the day
  • Text messages throughout day
  • Various MIT ID taps as I traveled through the dorms
  • Certificates and password keychain access when I was visiting certain sites
  • Various logs from my terminal when I was utilizing it to do different commands and write small pset scripts throughout the day
  • Internet history, caching, cookies, etc

No Ceilings Data Viz Review

No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project was a project done by Fathom studio for the Gates and Clinton Foundations as part of the 20th year anniversary of the UN’s movement to promote international gender equality. The project focuses on several visualizations of different datasets regarding gender inequality. These are of various sizes and complexities.

The homepage features a large visualization that draws the user in to interact with. It shows the gap of men and women in the workforce in different countries.   I like how familiar and chart like it looks, but its design is still very striking and the interactivity is seamless.

There are also mobile visualizations, which are also quite striking. For example, this one looks at child bride rates in different countries. While it is simple, it’s very effective and engaging.

This same visualization can be shown on a desktop.

There is also a map where you can see several different visualizations. This is both on mobile and desktop and serves as a control panel for many of the datasets that have their own visualizations.

Overall, this website is meant for a wide range of people, but specifically geared towards younger people (thus the stress on mobile visualization) and policy makers. I found it very effective because not only are the visualizations appealing they are also quite layered and have a natural flow for the user to follow the story and delve deeper into the data. And the power of focusing on multiple platforms is definitely very effective in terms of practicality.