An interesting new visualization tool called Leg/Ex (short for Legislative Explorer) comes from the University of Washington Center for American Politics and Public Policy. It's an interactive visualization that allows anyone to explore actual patterns of lawmaking in Congress. To use it, go to the website and click the "Launch" button.. Choose any year/Congress back to 1973. Then hit Play and and watch the tiny points of light (bills introduced) fly to their various committees until the committees start to look like little nuclei (bills are coded blue for Dems, red for Reps, yellow for Inds). You can also choose from 19 major topics and many minor topics and watch the numbers increase like a sports ticker on the bottom of your screen. You can search by individual member, see members ranked on an ideology scale, explore by State, and lots more possibilities.