Tokyo vs Cairo: Comparing Obama’s Foreign Policy Speeches

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 17:02


Above is data derived from a visual text comparison tool [] developed by artist Jer Thorp using Processing v.1.0. The tool enables a simple comparison of two texts based on their word usage.

In this case the comparison is made between two open addresses delivered by President Barack Obama: on the far left his speech in Cairo in July 2009 and the far right his speech in November 2009 in Tokyo.

Words shared by both texts are positioned in the middle – the biggest of which were the words used more frequently – and on the outer edges are the words that were used exclusively on one of the separate occasions. The data also reveals when, on average, each word was used in each text.

Both addresses are connected through shared words such as ‘America’, ‘world’, ‘common’, ‘human’ and ‘responsibility’ while disparities can be found with more isolated words; in the Cairo case ‘Islam’, ‘Palestinians’ ‘faith’ and ‘communities’, and in the Tokyo case ‘economy’, ‘China’, ‘North Korea’, ‘security’, ‘agreement’ ‘growth’ and ‘prosperity’.

It gets really interesting if you look closer at the eight images on Jer Thorp’s blprnt blog because a sort of word pattern emerges that seems almost indicative to political strategy. This analysis makes Thorp’s tool an innovative and lightweight method for users to clarify, question or strengthen their original perceptions of written content.
The source code as well as compiled applications for Mac, Linux & Windows of this project will be released soon.

Incidentally, Jer Thorp originally put this tool together to compare the content of a pair of articles he had read on the same subject – sport related head injuries -but written from different angles. Read full story here

Here below video realized on how the tool behaves using data from the head injury story: Two Sides of the Same Story: Laskas & Gladwell on CTE & the NFL

Two Sides of the Same Story: Laskas & Gladwell on CTE & the NFL from blprnt on Vimeo.

First spotted on: Information Aesthetics

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3 Responses to “Tokyo vs Cairo: Comparing Obama’s Foreign Policy Speeches”

  1. blprnt says:

    November 17th, 2009 at %I:%M %p

  2. blprnt says:

    November 17th, 2009 at %I:%M %p

  3. says:

    November 17th, 2009 at %I:%M %p

    RT @blprnt: Seriously… Jan Thorpe?

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