Current Events in Data Collection and Visualization

The news provides lots of opportunities to connect ECS topics to the "real world."  

As we were starting the data collection lesson, a NYT article addressed the French response to revelations about the NSA collecting French citizens' phone metadata,

It was a good basis for discussion about data aggregation, the use of such data by the NSA (and other agencies) to create maps of social networks and the way "computer stuff" can impact other realms, in this case, the diplomacy between the US and France (and how that might have other real world implications.)

The article "Why the NSA Wants your Metadata" ( ) contains two social network maps, one (included below) based on phone data from two 9/11 suspects and another which uses membership in colonial clubs to identify some key instigators of the American Revolution.