Science

17 posts
Storm story, a masterpiece

The visual story published by the New York Times on hurricane Irma is a masterpiece. See the presentation here. The story starts with the standard presentation of the trajectories of past hurricane on a map: Maps are great at conveying location and direction but much is lost in this rendering - wind speeds, time, strength, energy, to name but a few. The Times then switches to other chart forms to...

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A pretty good chart ruined by some naive analysis

The following chart showing wage gaps by gender among U.S. physicians was sent to me via Twitter: The original chart was published by the Stat News website (link). I am most curious about the source of the data. It apparently came from a website called Doximity, which collects data from physicians. Here is a link to the PR release related to this compensation dataset. However, the data is not freely...

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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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Visualizing citation impact

Michael Bales and his associates at Cornell are working on a new visual tool for citations data. This is an area that is ripe for some innovation. There is a lot of data available but it seems difficult to gain insights from them. The prototypical question is how authoritative is a particular researcher or research group, judging from his or her or their publications. A proxy for "quality" is the...

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Chopped legs, and abridged analyses

Reader Glenn T. was not impressed by the graphical talent on display in the following column chart (and others) in a Monkey Cage post in the Washington Post: Not starting column charts at zero is like having one's legs chopped off. Here's an animated gif to show what's taking place: (you may need to click on it to see the animation) Since all four numbers show up on the chart...

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Randomness of scientific impact

A group of researchers wondered if there was a trend or predictability for when a scientist’s most impactful work came about. It’s random. [W]e studied the evolution of productivity and impact throughout thousands of scientific careers. We reconstructed the publication record of scientists from seven disciplines, connecting each paper with its long-term impact on the scientific community as quantified by citation metrics. We found that the highest-impact work in a...

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Why is this chart so damn hard to read?

My summer course on analytical methods is already at the midway point. I was doing some research on recommendation systems the other day, and came across the following chart: Ouch. This is from the Park, et. al. (2012) survey of research papers on this subject. It's the 21st century, people. The column chart copies the older-generation Excel design made infamous by Tufte, and since abandoned. Looking more closely, I suspect...

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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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Showing three dimensions using a ternary plot

Long-time reader Daniel L. isn't a fan of this chart, especially when it is made to spin, as you can see at this link: Like other 3D charts, this one is hard to read. The vertical lines are both good and bad: They make the one dimension very easy to read but their very existence makes one realize the challenges of reading the other dimensions without guidelines. This dataset allows...

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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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