A few weeks ago a colleague sent me a link to IBM’s data visualization project called "Many Eyes." Basically its a community-based website that enables anyone to upload data, examine existing datasets, create visualizations, and comment on other datasets. Kind of like a playground for statistics nerds.
The visualization above is the chart showing the growth of US consumption of various fruits from 1970 to 2004, using US Department of Agriculture figures. There are datasets from the OECD, the wikipedia, universities and people’s personal troves of weird data (like the contents of their freezer.) The site actively encourages you to play around with the existing datasets and present them in new and compelling ways.
This is a great example of how a Web2.0 technology can be used to educate, inform and provoke discussions among people about important phenomena like global warming. Tools like this can help people develop from just passive readers of pretty pie charts into active consumers, critics and creators of information.