Living

18 posts
Sorting out what’s meaningful and what’s not

A few weeks ago, the New York Times Upshot team published a set of charts exploring the relationship between school quality, home prices and commute times in different regions of the country. The following is the chart for the New York/New Jersey region. (The article and complete data visualization is here.) This chart is primarily a scatter plot of home prices against school quality, which is represented by average test...

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Attractive, interactive graphic challenges lazy readers

The New York Times spent a lot of effort making a nice interactive graphical feature to accompany their story about Uber's attempt to manipulate its drivers. The article is here. Below is a static screenshot of one of the graphics. The illustrative map at the bottom is exquisite. It has Uber cars driving around, it has passengers waiting at street corners, the cars pick up passengers, new passengers appear, etc....

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Light entertainment: Colorful circle of life

World Economic Forum can do better than this...  

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Involuntary head-shaking is probably not an intended consequence of data visualization

This chart is in the Sept/Oct edition of Harvard Magazine: Pretty standard fare. It even is Tufte-sque in the sparing use of axes, labels, and other non-data-ink. Does it bug you how much work you need to do to understand this chart? Here is the junkchart version: In the accompanying article, the journalist declared that student progress on NAEP tests came to a virtual standstill, and this version highlights the...

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Depicting imbalance, straying from the standard chart

My friend Tonny M. sent me a tip to two pretty nice charts depicting the state of U.S. healthcare spending (link). The first shows U.S. as an outlier: This chart is a replica of the Lane Kenworthy chart, with some added details, that I have praised here before. This chart remains one of the most impactful charts I have seen. The added time-series details allow us to see a divergence...

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First ask the right question: the data scientist edition

A reader didn't like this graphic in the Wall Street Journal: One could turn every panel into a bar chart but unfortunately, the situation does not improve much. Some charts just can't be fixed by altering the visual design. The chart is frustrating to read: typically, colors are used to signify objects that should be compared. Focus on the brown wedges for a moment: Basic EDA 46%, Data cleaning 31%,...

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The state of the art of interactive graphics

Scott Klein's team at Propublica published a worthy news application, called "Hell and High Water" (link) I took some time taking in the experience. It's a project that needs room to breathe. The setting is Houston Texas, and the subject is what happens when the next big hurricane hits the region. The reference point was Hurricane Ike and Galveston in 2008. This image shows the depth of flooding at the...

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Happy new year. Did you have a white Christmas?

Happy 2016. I spent time with the family in California, wiping out any chance of a white Christmas, although I hear that the probability would have been miniscule even had I stayed. I did come across a graphic that tried to drive the point home, via NOAA. Unfortunately, this reminded me a little of the controversial Florida gun-deaths chart (see here):   In this graphic, the designer played with the...

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