scale

23 posts
Looking above the waist, dataviz style

I came across this chart on NYU's twitter feed.  Growth has indeed been impressive; the dataviz less so. Here's the problem with not starting the vertical scale of a column chart at zero: In a column chart, the heights of the columns should be proportional to the data. Here they are misaligned because an equal amount has been chopped off below 30,000 from all columns. The light purple that I...

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When your main attraction is noise

Peter K. asked me about this 538 chart, which is a stacked column chart in which the percentages appear to not add up to 100%. Link to the article here. Here's my reply: They made the columns so tall that the "rounding errors" (noise) disclosed in the footnotes became the main attraction. *** The gap between the highest and lowest peaks looks large but mostly due to the aspect ratio....

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Scale comparison of wildfires

The past few days in California has been non-stop rain, but the months before that, there was unprecedented wildfires in the state. Lauren Tierney, reporting for The Washington Post, provides an overview along with a scale comparison of 2017’s biggest fire against anywhere on the globe. Tags: California, fires, scale, Washington Post

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Mass exodus at human scale

Big numbers are too abstract in our minds to fully understand the scale of things. So, to show the full gravity of the hundreds of thousands of Muslims fleeing Myanmar’s Rakhine state, Reuters starts with the individuals and builds your intuition towards the true scale. Tags: human, scale

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Measuring things with ships

We might be in an age of big data, but people have been trying to convey large numbers for a long time. John F. Ptak takes a quick look through the archives for the size of big things compared to ships. “These units of measurement do seem a little odd, but they really have a capacity to humanize inescapably difficult numbers by putting them in context with a known entity,...

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Speed demon quartered and shrunk

Reader Richard K. submitted a link to Microsoft Edge's website. This chart uses three speedometers to tell the story that Microsoft's Edge browser is faster than Chrome or Firefox. These speedometer charts are disguised racetrack charts. Read last week's post first if you haven't. Richard complained the visual design distorting the data. How the distortion entered the picture is a long story. Let's begin with an accurate representation of the...

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Unintentional deception of area expansion #bigdata #piechart

Someone sent me this chart via Twitter, as an example of yet another terrible pie chart. (I couldn't find that tweet anymore but thank you to the reader for submitting this.) At first glance, this looks like a pie chart with the radius as a second dimension. But that is the wrong interpretation. In a pie chart, we typically encode the data in the angles of the pie sectors, or...

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Pints, water, fishes, pond

@apollo_0 on twitter asks me to comment on this, by Scientific Britain:   Here's my comment:  

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Solar System in a bottle

From Little Planet Factory, a Solar System in a bottle made to scale: A small bottle attempting to maintain the correct scale between the 8 planets of the solar system at a scale of 1:5,000,000,000. Much as in reality the entire bottle is almost entirely dominated by the volume (and mass) of the four gas giants while the four solid planets settle almost dust like in comparison at the bottom...

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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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