Jonathan Harris just blew off everyone's socks @ TED with a presentation of his upcoming project "Universe". He's an artist that works primarily digitally, and amongst other things, he develops programming systems that sample large quantities of data and express them in mindbending ways. Here's one example:
according to his site, number27.org,
"We Feel Fine is an exploration of human emotion."
"Since August 2005, We Feel Fine has been harvesting human feelings from a large number of weblogs. Every few minutes, the system searches the world's newly posted blog entries for occurrences of the phrases "I feel" and "I am feeling". When it finds such a phrase, it records the full sentence, up to the period, and identifies the "feeling" expressed in that sentence (e.g. sad, happy, depressed, etc.). Because blogs are structured in largely standard ways, the age, gender, and geographical location of the author can often be extracted and saved along with the sentence, as can the local weather conditions at the time the sentence was written. All of this information is saved.
"The result is a database of several million human feelings, increasing by 15,000 - 20,000 new feelings per day..."
For the full story, and more of Jonathan's projects, visit Number27.org.