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Visual Impact: Worldmapper.org February 24, 2010

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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Not to bombard you with reference resources today, but I stumbled across another great site that will easily keep you occupied for a while. Worldmapper.org provides more than 700 world maps (over half of which are available in PDF form) that showcase various statistics by resizing countries to visually show the impact of such statistics. There are even a few that are animated, and thus display the way the world has changed over a number of years. All of the maps link to excel spreadsheets with detailed statistics as well as sources. The organization is run by a group of college professors. I am going to include some of the most astounding maps below so you can see for yourself what an impact these can have, but make sure to check out the whole list of maps here.

Forest Loss - Click image for more info

Malaria Deaths - click for more info

Research and Development Employees - Click for more info

Nuclear Arms - Click for more info

Dataterrific: Time Travel in TV and Movies Visualized February 19, 2010

Posted by dataduchess in Uncategorized.
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In case you didn’t already know, let’s be clear about something: Information Is Beautiful – especially when it’s collected and displayed by David McCandless (and friends). This graphic can be found in his new book (available now from Amazon.UK) – but he generously has also shared it on his site!

You can find a HUGE version of the image directly on his website.

Early draft sketch

Also, he talks about how he (and his collaborators) went through 36 drafts before arriving at this final version in this post about his data graphing process. It’s incredibly impressive.

We’ve shown you some of McCandless’ work before, but it’s even more fascinating now, knowing how much work goes into the details of an infographic.

What do think? Are you impressed? Any information you think would make a compelling infographic?

(via A.V. Club)

Remember the Blackout in August 2003? December 23, 2009

Posted by dataduchess in Uncategorized.
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Yesterday’s post about the increase in visits to the New York Times website on the day of Michael Jackson’s death sparked an interesting comment from pupfiction about other notable days in recent history. I, in turn, recalled the Blackout of August 2003, including some some fascinating satellite images of the northeast from before and after the failure.

NOAA satellite imagery one day before the blackout.

NOAA satellite imagery the night of the blackout.













In trying to find the images shown above, I read the Wikipedia entry about the Blackout, and it was really interesting. Through an official investigation, they created a sequence of events that caused the blackout, and even traced the cause back to some overgrown trees near an Ohio power plant. This is worth reading.

I remember the blackout quite vividly: I lived in NYC at the time and was lucky enough to have only my regular 15-block walk home. My brother who was commuting to a summer job in the city was about to get on a subway when he felt the city shut down around him, and he turned and climbed the stairs back to the street before he could be trapped. He walked about 50 blocks to my apartment and then we set out to find a payphone (cell towers were overloaded, and I didn’t have a land line in my apartment) to call our parents and let them know we were together and safe. We spent the evening playing cards by candlelight, and turned a crazy event into a fun memory. The next morning, we ventured down to Grand Central, in the hopes that trains would be running, and fortunately we were able to get on one. We couldn’t buy tickets with no power in the station, but the conductors were just letting everyone on anyway… it was kind of nice that they just wanted to help people get home.

Do you remember where you were during the blackout? Did it affect you? Did the event turn out to be a positive, like it did for me?

How the Death of Michael Jackson Proved the Need for Quality Journalism December 22, 2009

Posted by dataduchess in Uncategorized.
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The Guardian’s Digital Content Blog picked up the awesome graphic linked to below. It shows the visits made to the New York Times’ website over the course of the entire 24 hour day June 25, 2009. This day is notable because of the death of Michael Jackson, and if you watch the time closely, you can see the spikes in visits in the minutes following the breaking of the news by TMZ.com, where people went to the New York Times site for confirmation, or more credible reporting. The Guardian uses this as proof that even with the seemingly unlimited access to news from all kinds of sites, there is still a need for reliable journalistic reporting. Whether you agree or not, you must admit, this is a neat visualization of the data. Do you remember how you heard about Michael Jackson’s death? Where did you go to find news coverage?

The New York Times site traffic, World View, June 25, 2009 from Nick Bilton on Vimeo.

What is the point of all this beautiful data? December 9, 2009

Posted by dataduchess in Amazing.
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From Gapminder.com

Click on the graph above to see a truly amazing collection of data. This graph plots the Income per person of every country vs. the Life Expectancy of a person born in that country, with the relative size of the data point reflecting the size of the population. But wait – there’s more. The circles are color coded by region to more easily distinguish among areas of the world. But wait – there’s still more – you can adjust the year shown on the graph to view data from any of the last 207 years. Or hit “Play” and watch the circles grow and shrink and move across the graph on their own. If you select one or more countries on the list, and hit the play button, you end up with a colored path across the grid charting the growth, income changes and life expectancy changes of just that country. Of course, I checked out the path for the United States and noticed a dip in the life expectancy trend in the early 20th century. Pupfiction made a guess that the seeming abnormality was a result of an epidemic of disease that had a significant impact on the country that year. That made sense to me at first, but then I was wondering if widespread disease could so significantly affect the life expectancy like that. To put it in modern terms for comparison, say the life expectancy of an American born in the US last year was 85. With technological and medical developments being made all the time, the age ought to be getting older and older – maybe 86 this year (hypothetically). BUT- the H1N1 virus (swine flu) is spreading quickly and fatalities are mounting. Perhaps the levels of swine flu do not yet compare with previous plagues, but could the potential for epidemic be enough to lower the the life expectancy of an American baby born today? The part where I get stuck is that the actual average age of people who die in a given year ought not be that strong of a factor in determining the life span of people born in that year – I do not know know how life expectancy is calculated, but I imagine there must be more to it than that.

Well – clearly you see this graph has challenged me to consider things I do not normally think about. Do you spot anything interesting that you can’t quite wrap your head around? Or something enlightening that makes you wonder about the data or what it represents? Do you think I must be crazy for loving a graph I do not understand? No matter what, though, you must admit – this graph is an impressive piece of work.

As the map grows dark… November 24, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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By now you know I love data visualization and that’s why I feel compelled to show this dynamic map of unemployment statistics from January 2007 to September 2009. The choice of colors from pale yellow to black  make a dramatic impact as the map turns darker and darker. For some reason this reminded me of Dagney Taggart’s view as she flew over the world at the end of Ayn Rand’s  incendiary novel, Atlas Shrugged.

Do My Eyes Deceive Me? November 21, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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You know that old rule that things happen in threes? Fact or fiction (or hindsight bias)? It seems to me that once the press notices interest in a certain topic or a certain occurrence they learn to focus on that particular issue, making us, the unsuspecting public, draw some weird inferences. David McCandless, the creator of InformationisBeautiful.net and author of Visual Miscellaneum, proves just that by this interesting chart comparing 2008′s drug poisoning deaths in the United Kingdom to popular press coverage. Take some time with this one.

What’s most interesting to me is the three drugs that gained over 100% of popular press coverage: ecstasy, cannabis, and aspirin. The reporting of aspirin deaths can probably be explained by the media’s well-known love of sensationalism, aspirin being as common and trusted as sliced bread in most households. But if ecstasy and cannabis, why not heroin and morphine? Why did the press inflate cannabis deaths by 484% when only 9% of  heroin and morphine deaths were reported (and only 2% of alcohol deaths??) ? This issue is compounded by the fact there were only 19 (“highly questionable”) deaths from cannabis and an astounding 897 deaths from heroin and morphine. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

Make sure to read the article on the graph here.

English Language Learners in the US November 12, 2009

Posted by dataduchess in education.
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Came across this NY Times interactive map of the US which illustrates the amount of people in an area that are learning English. Not too many surprises, with California and border areas having the highest percentages of ELLs (English Language Learners). But, I was surprised that NY didn’t have higher numbers, and also at the high numbers in the Northwest and Alaska… what languages are people natively speaking there if not English?

(via 2CoolTools)

When “links” were made of paper November 11, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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Here’s a great deconstruction of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” (CYOA) books we all remember so fondly from years ago. While the article is a bit lengthy, it makes interesting comparisons between CYOA books,  (paper) reference works and online links. The compilers of this information also look at the evolution of CYOA books over time, color-coding pages based on their purpose to better show lay-out and number of different endings, among other things.

Make sure to click “play” in the upper left-hand corner to enjoy a virtual CYOA!

Picture 5

So scary it’s humorous October 27, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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In the spirit of celebrating interesting visual displays of information, I bring you the US Debt Clock, a feat so dazzlingly dizzying that you’ll want to write Congress. When you mouse over different numbers, the source of the information shows up in the title bubble up top.

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