Google Zeitgeist 2010: Year in Review

Google employees put together this video of the struggles, achievements, deaths, milestones, deaths, heroes, and other major “etceteras” that made 2010 the year it was. I hope you enjoy this review of the past year.

Is there any information you would add to or subtract from this montage of 2010?

YouTube Rewind 2010: Year in Review

What were the most popular videos on YouTube in 2010 across all categories? Employees at YouTube put together this compilation of the greatest hits of 2010, below.

You can watch all of the top 10 videos, as well as other video hits of the year, via a timeline of the year 2010 at The top hits of the year by subject are available at


Do you have any favorites that were posted/created in 2010 but that did not make any of these lists?

2010 — the Year Mobile Connected the World

I’ve only had a smart phone for 10 months, and yet I cannot imagine how I lived without it. Therefore, for your viewing pleasure, I have posted this animation from themobilefuture on the mobile phone in the year 2010. The animation is by

The authors cite the following statistics (sources not listed):

Massive increase in apps downloaded:
– FIVE BILLION apps downloaded – up from 300 million in 2009

Whopping expansion of location-based services
– FIVE MILLION Foursquare users — up from 200,000 users in 2009

Surge in mobile social media platforms
– 347 PERCENT growth in Twitter mobile usage
– 200 MILLION mobile Facebook Users
– 100 MILLION YouTube videos played on mobile devices everyday

Can you imagine life without your mobile phone?

The Bible Christmas Story

Do you like your religion with a dose of humor? What about the Christmas Story — yes, the one about the birth of the baby Jesus.

Adam Hoggatt created this reverent but tongue-in-cheek animation of the Bible’s Christmas Story. I love the part where Mary drops the bucket into the well when Joseph tells her that they are to be married. And when the Angel finally admits he is “sore afraid”.

I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

Christmas Unwrapped- The History of Christmas

How do you determine the origins of something, especially a religious holiday that is celebrated worldwide, and that has been celebrated for centuries? How can you tame all of that data and information, and determine what is “true” and “not true” in terms of the holiday’s origins in the mists of time?

In the documentary below, Christmas Unwrapped, The History Channel attempts to explain the origin of Christmas customs. (Not Christmas itself — Christmas customs.) Some customs began in pre-Christian pagan Europe, while others are more contemporary. I have posted the full documentary in five sections below.
Continue reading “Christmas Unwrapped- The History of Christmas”

The (Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall) Solstices Explained, Science Version

Winter solstice, spring solstice, summer solstice, fall solstice explainedUPDATE, 19 December 2013: This year’s winter solstice/December Solstice in Universal Coordinated Time is on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 17:11 UTC. If you want to find the data and time specific to your geographical location, please visit Time and Date). And now, back to the post from 2010….

Do you remember why we have a winter solstice (also referred to as an equinox)? I don’t. I know I studied this in grade school, but my memory of the “why” is a bit short after all these years!

This year’s winter solstice “will occur at 23:38 (or 11.38pm) Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on December 21, 2010” ( I looked up information about the winter solstice. The video below explains the data behind the four seasons most of us experience in the northern and southern hemispheres.

Do you remember all of this information about the solstices from your science teachers in K-12?

If you would like more information about the science and cultural norms regarding the various solstices, please look at

The Data Behind Online Retailing

How do you brand yourself online? If you run a business, do you provide your customers with an online mechanism by which they can provide comments about your products and services publicly? If so, do you believe online feedback has a positive or negative effect on your company? How much shopping vs. online research do you do, especially during November and December?

GOOD Magazine examines the online marketplace in the video below, which is from January 2010. They write:

More and more of our shopping is happening online. And in the digital marketplace, shoppers write and read millions of reviews each year, transforming the way we make buying decisions—and how companies make their products. Welcome to the information-saturated world of internet retail.

Here’s what GOOD has to say about the positive side of social networking, including how smart companies use customer feedback to create a better product, and thus increase sales.

The negative side of the online marketplace is when you regularly provide your customers with a bad experience, and yet maintain good search rankings because of the number of reviews written (albeit, bad ones)…until Google finds out and writes an algorithm just for you! [Via Fortune.]

In the past week, an article posted by the New York Times brought to light a strategy by the owner of an eCommerce store who used a ‘specific’ tactic to get better rankings in the search engine for his website. What did this person do to boost his rankings in Google? He used a tactic of providing the POOREST customer service possible to get customers to write negative reviews and complaints in various websites helping him actually acquire links!

What do you see as the positives of social networking and customer feedback? The negatives? What do you think of the feedback loop from customer to producer to customer — can you think of instances when it hasn’t worked as well as GOOD claims? For example, what did you think of social media’s power to kill The Gap’s new branding?

Note — added later (20 December 2010) :: IEEE had the following news byte via

Social media is generating considerable interest for business success. In an article in Harvard Business Review [“What’s Your Personal Social Media Strategy?” 88(11):127-130, November 2010], Soumitra Dutta discusses his belief that today’s leaders must embrace social media. He also discusses strategies for successful implementation. Should you decide to implement social media in your business strategy, an article by Donna Hoffman and Marek Fodor discusses a new way of measuring the benefits of an organization’s social media marketing investment, and provides strategies on how to implement this new kind of measurement [“Can You Measure the ROI of your Social Media Marketing?” MIT Sloan Management Review, 52(1):41-49, Fall 2010.]

Billshrink: Christmas By the Numbers

How much has consumer spending during the holiday season changed since the Great Recession began? How does the date of Christmas relate to a Roman pagan holiday? Did you know that a real Christmas tree costs less than a fake one?

Billshrink examines some of the data behind our start-of-winter frenzy with the infographic Christmas By the Numbers A Look at the Facts and Figures Behind the Most Wonderful Time of Year. Data sources are listed at the bottom of the infographic.

To view a larger image of the infographic, please click on it and click on it again on the new page.

Billshrink: Christmas By the Numbers A Look at the Facts and Figures Behind the Most Wonderful Time of Year

Do any of the data surprise you? I know my home state, North Carolina, has a large Christmas tree industry, but I didn’t realize the state ranks second nationally in Christmas tree production.

[Via Billshrink.]