From the post:
Google+ Ripples [plus.google.com] is the first data visualization project from the elusive Big Picture Group, organized around (previous IBM Visual Communication Lab pioneers) Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg. It is a working demonstration how aesthetics and functionality can still be effectively be merged.
The ‘Ripple Diagram’ shows how a post spreads as people (publicly) share it using the Google+ service, with arrows indicating the direction of the sharing. A timeline at the bottom of the diagram allow the ripple to animate, revealing how this post was shared over time. People who have reshared the post are displayed with their own circle. Inside the circle are people who have reshared the post from that person (and so on). All circles are roughly sized based on the relative influence of that person.
Awesome graphics! You need to visit if for no other reason than the graphics!
As far as the content/idea, with just a little bit of tweaking and better tracking, the title could read: Revealing How Information is Shared over Time. Think about it, there were a limited number of people party to the mission against bin Laden and according to the Sec. of Defense, there was a deal to no reveal some information about the mission. But by the following Monday (that was on Sunday), the deal fell appart as everyone leaked to the news media.
Now, just imagine that you have all the phone records for all the persons who were party to any or all of that information. Plus records of most of the people they could have spoken to overnight. Does that sound like over time you will be able to find the leakers?
Particularly with a topic map to flesh out contacts of contacts, merging phone numbers, etc.
Nothing new as Jack Park would say, you could do the same thing with pencil and paper but with a topic map you can combine numerous occasions of leaking to establish patterns, etc. Something to think about.