F

Notebook

Here's where we post periodic updates on what we've been up to at Fathom. Reflections on the interesting stories that emerge from our client work, side projects, after-hours rabbitholes, and other miscellaneous threads of inquiry.

Let's Hear it for the Girls!
Alas, we've released another episode of our podcast, Especially Big Data. The episode, Let's Hear it for the Girls, dives into the many factors contributing to the dearth of women in tech-- most of which are not captured in numbers.
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Girls Who Code!
This year, Fathom celebrated Pi Approximation Day one of the best ways we know how-- by sharing our love of coding and technology with a visiting Girls Who Code group!
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Busted in Numbers
Last week we launched a project with ProPublica that investigated the hundreds of innocent people in Houston, Texas, who have been wrongfully convicted for drug crimes since 2003. You can gain some background on the piece, "Busted," in Elaine's recent blog post. Like most of our projects, though, much of the story lives in the details.
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A New Beginning
Fathom got started on one floor with just two people and two desks. Eventually our team grew and added a second floor, which became our official conference room. As we continued to grow in numbers, we also continued to explore other interests, often peripherally related to design, development, and analysis. Six years passed, and we realized we were using our conference room simultaneously as a classroom, workshop space, poster shop, 3D printing studio, kitchen, and living room. We knew it was time for a move.
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Case Dismissed...or Not
Since 2003, more than 300 innocent people have been wrongfully convicted for drug crimes in Houston, Texas. We partnered with ProPublica on their recent article, "Busted," that delves into the story of one innocent woman, Amy Albritton, who was arrested in 2010 at a traffic stop. She was pressured to plead guilty for drug possession, and to this day lives with a felony conviction for a crime she did not commit. Amy is just one individual representing the outcome of the systemic failures of the U.S. criminal justice system.
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Lights, Cameras, Action!
Teaching and outreach are a really important part of our work. They help us stay connected to our local community, and give us an opportunity to see how people outside the office think about code and design. We also get to share different things we’re learning about. Over the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to help at both Scratch Day and a Girls Who Build workshop.
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Poverty isn't Permanent
We're excited to announce the latest installment of the Robin Hood Poverty Tracker. About two years ago, we worked with teams at Robin Hood and the Columbia Population Research Center to create a visualization that outlined the complexities of poverty and hardship in New York City. Now, two years later, we're able to show how the population of New Yorkers experiencing financial disadvantage has changed over time. While many think of poverty as a persistent state of being, the latest visualization shows how New Yorkers of every age, race, gender, and education level move in and out of financial hardship.
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MIT 4.s50: Information Design
This week, while students across MIT's campus are studying for their final exams, wrapping up projects and research, and getting ready to head into the summer, those of us in the Fathom office are catching our collective breath and taking some time to reflect on the amazing semester spent teaching "Information Design: Exploration, Navigation, and Understanding."
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Millions of women need birth control
Hundreds of millions of women worldwide lack the freedom or the means to decide if, when, or how often they'll have children. In the United States alone, 4.72 million married women want to stop or delay having kids, but don't have birth control. Our most recent visualization for No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project explores where married women lack the means to plan the number or timing of their children. In the policy world, the issue is described as the "unmet need for family planning," but you can think of it as the disconnect between a woman's reproductive intentions and her contraceptive behavior.
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Real-time Workshop
James and I recently returned from a whirlwind road trip to SUNY New Paltz, to present at their inaugural Design Week. It was an exciting opportunity to share Fathom’s work with the wonderful students and faculty at New Paltz, and to conduct an introductory workshop on coding and information design.
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