Relative size of the planets

D3 Visualisation

I think my first serious attempt to do anything using D3 (click the image for the programmatic version) was probably the hardest thing you could have tried to do in it. As far as I can tell, D3 is designed in such a way that it is ideal where all of the elements in a visualisation can be computed independently of each other. In this chart, the position of the subsequent node is a function of the current node's value, not just its position in a list.

To do this, seems to need global variables to keep track of things (well I suppose I could hide them in a function and do the translation up front, but not ideal and I can't help wondering if there's a better way of doing it). As far as I can tell, there are no 'fold' type functions in D3, although I am new to it; perhaps I haven't found it yet.

Botanic Gardens

Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh

Princes Street Gardens is a public park in the centre of Edinburgh, Scotland, in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. The Gardens were created in two phases in the 1770s and 1820s following the long draining of the Nor Loch and the creation of the New Town.

Inverleith, Edinburgh

Inverleith (Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Lìte) is an inner suburb in the northern part of Edinburgh, Scotland, on the fringes of the central region of the city. It is an affluent suburb. Its neighbours include Trinity to the north and the New Town to the south, with Canonmills at the south-east and Stockbridge at the south-west. Like a great many places in and around Edinburgh, the name comes from the Scottish Gaelic Inbhir Lìte elie , meaning "Mouth of Leith", such is the case with Inverness, meaning mouth of the River Ness etc. Some documents refer to the area as "Inner Leith".

Light in Window
Botanic Gardens

The Botanic Gardens

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) is a scientific centre for the study of plants, their diversity and conservation, as well as a popular tourist attraction. Originally founded in 1670 as a physic garden to grow medicinal plants, today it occupies four sites across Scotland — Edinburgh, Dawyck, Logan and Benmore — each with its own specialist collection. The RBGE's living collection consists of more than 13,302 plant species, (34,422 accessions) whilst the herbarium contains in excess of 3 million preserved specimens.

The City, Leith and the River Forth

Edinburgh is a city in south east Scotland, situated on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. It is the capital city of Scotland, a constituent country of the United Kingdom. With a population of 495,360 in 2011 (up 1.9% from 2010), it is the largest settlement in Lothian and lies at the centre of a larger urban zone of approximately 850,000 people.

Edinburgh and the River Forth
Edinburgh and the River Forth

Elie, Fife: Across the Forth

Elie and Earlsferry is a town and former royal burgh in Fife, Scotland, situated within the East Neuk beside Chapel Ness on the north coast of the Firth of Forth, eight miles east of Leven. The burgh comprised the twin villages of Elie and Earlsferry, which were formally merged in 1930 by the Local Government Act of 1929. More photographs here...

Where The Mind Is Without Fear...

I need to be looking into (in more detail):

  • SASS for preprocessing CSS; use of variables etc. An initial look (this page is using it), suggests that it can solve a few problems that basic CSS3 cannot, for example: using varibles to define your colour palette and stopping having to define them all over the place. That said, it does dive into mixins and inheritance. I can't help feeling that perhaps this is going a bit over the top - these mechanisms don't even work well in programming languages never mind in something that really should be much simpler (perhaps not!) like document layout. I will do some more reading and figure out what I think. Initial thoughts are that it is still useful if I keep it simple and only solve the problems that need solved (i.e. use of variables)
    • After using this a few days, I am beginning to think I'm overengineering it: No problem in computer science cannot be solved with another layer of indirection, as Dijkstra said, for a joke. Yes, it lets you define variables, which is kind of nice, but really, it's just a stylesheet: a search and replace would do. And of course the down side is that you always have to have the program running that translates your file into a CSS file
  • D3 kind of obviously, based on my first post up there. It is quite amazing what can be achieved in a few lines of code and I've always been interested in the convergence of art and science, particularly computers; indeed, in the early days, despite being more science than art, computing always had so much mystery associated with it (because they were so inaccessible back then) that it became art in of itself. I've got my head around the basics of D3, but need to stick at it so as I can knock out these things in five minutes flat. First thing should be rewriting the planets visualisation to be a simpler program and to allow users to edit the data and make their own. Also want to add in HTML tooltips to show actual names and values. If I can ever work out a sensible algorithm for placing the text on a bubble whose size means that the label is off the screen (as it is with Neptune above), I should do that too
  • Fela Kuti, who I have some of, but I suspect I will really like, if I spend some time listening to a bunch of the records
  • The Empire Exhibition, in Glasgow, 1938. My Grandfather used to talk about this a lot and he would have liked to have seen these colour photographs of it; I guess it must have made a big impression, which is not surprising given the amazing modern look of it, and that it was on his doorstep