News "Rivers"; Datavis Inspiration River; Exploring Ancient Martian Rivers
Today's (hopefully) infrequent Saturday post brought to you by a week of brutal travel, machinations surrounding some personal news I can share in a few weeks, and COVID-19 catching up with #3 😔.
Simply put, a news river is a minimally formatted, continuously updated, chronological list of headlines with links to full story content. These rivers may have a short article snippet, and may also sport a small graphic, but the focus should be on minimalism and quick consumption.
Rivers differ from RSS feeds in that the consumer (you/me) goes to the news source, rather than the news source being slupred up by a reader application. The news river may also sport an RSS feed link, but it doesn't have to.
News rivers are a decade's old concept that are still in active use today, though not as widespread. I use them to keep up with tech, cyber, and general news, though mostly via the RSS versions of rivers that have one. However, I encounter so many "tab-junkies" these days, that it's clear some folks just want pull information to them vs have it pushed. In view of this, I thought it'd be helpful to share some of the rivers I find most useful.
One of the most famous news rivers is Hacker News (often abbreviated to "HN"), a social news website focusing on computer science and entrepreneurship.
Each HN entry has a thread, and the link may not be to an external source, but it usually is. The community voting system helps to indicate what's en vogue in the daily zeitgeist.
Memeorandum's river is an auto-generated summary of the stories that U.S. political commentators are discussing online right now and is a great for political news wannabe-wonks (like me).
It has a sibling river that focuses on tech news.
Legible News ("LN") sits somewhere between a continuous river and daily, annotated aggregator. In their own words:
Legible News is news that makes you smarter. It was built in 2018 to deal with the shortcomings of US-based news organizations. Why do news websites not link directly to source materials? Why do they insist on loading extraneous images, videos, pop-ups, advertisements, and other crazy stuff that gets in the way of reading the news? Is everything really breaking coverage?
One great feature of LN is that the curators add source links (usually to Wikipedia) to stories that have none (which is most stories, these days).
Datavis Inspiration River
These continuous streams of information are not limited to "just the facts". One that I find very inspirational (as it pertains to data visualization ideas) is Datawrapper's river. Datawrapper itself is "a tool created by a team of 17 people. We work together to create the best charting tool for everyone who wants to show their data in beautiful charts and maps."
The Datawrapper River is a place to exchange charts and maps with other Datawrapper users. After adding a chart to the River, anyone can use it and customize the chart in Datawrapper before publishing it on their website in their own style.
You can read more about it in their well-crafted FAQ and burn countless hours paging through recent additions. I added a range chart visualization shortly before posting this newsletter edition. If you find it, drop me a note on Twitter (@hrbrmstr)!
Exploring Ancient Martian Rivers
NASA’s Perseverance Rover and it's companion space helicopter, Ingenuity, has been mapping the surface of Mars for over a year, and has finally reached the ancient Martian river delta it was built to explore.
This latest mission, dubbed the "Delta Front Campaign", began this week and has many goals, including scoping out the best route to ascend the Three Forks river delta.
You can read more about this latest mission [over at NASA](Exploring Ancient Martian Rivers).
Today's flow has come to an end. If you follow other news/inspiration "rivers" drop a link (or two!) in the comments. Remember, the only rule is to be kind to each other. ☮