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7 posts
Subreddit math with r/The_Donald helps show topic breakdowns

Trevor Martin for FiveThirtyEight used latent semantic analysis to do math with subreddits, specifically r/The_Donald. We’ve adapted a technique that’s used in machine learning research — called latent semantic analysis — to characterize 50,323 active subreddits based on 1.4 billion comments posted from Jan. 1, 2015, to Dec. 31, 2016, in a way that allows us to quantify how similar in essence one subreddit is to another. At its heart,...

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Lines that delight, lines that blight

This WSJ graphic caught my eye. The accompanying article is here. The article (judging from the sub-header) makes two separate points, one about the total amount of money raised in IPOs in a year, and the change in market value of those newly-public companies one year from the IPO date. The first metric is shown by the size of the bubbles while the second metric is displayed as distances from...

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Sorting out the data, and creating the head-shake manual

Yesterday's post attracted a few good comments. Several readers don't like the data used in the NAEP score chart. The authors labeled the metric "gain in NAEP scale scores" which I interpreted to be "gain scores," a popular way of evaluating educational outcomes. A gain score is the change in test score between (typically consecutive) years. I also interpreted the label "2000-2009" as the average of eight gain scores, in...

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How will the Times show election results next week? Will they give us a cliffhanger?

I don't know for sure how the New York Times will present election results next week; it's going to be as hard to predict as the outcome of the election! The Times just published a wonderful article describing all the different ways election results have been displayed in the past. tldr; The designer has to make hard choices. Some graphics are better at one thing but worse at another. If...

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Confusion is not limited to complex dataviz

This chart looks simple and harmless but I find it disarming. I usually love the cheeky titles in the Economist but this title is very destructive to the data visualization. The chart has nothing to do with credit scores. In fact, credit scoring is associated with consumers while countries have credit ratings. Also, I am not a fan of the Economist way of labeling negative axes. The negative sign situated...

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A multidimensional graphic that holds a number of surprises, via NYT

The New York Times has an eye-catching graphic illustrating the Amtrak crash last year near Philadelphia. The article is here. The various images associated with this article vary in the amount of contextual details offered to readers. This graphic provides an overview of the situation: Initially, I had a fair amount of trouble deciphering this chart. I was searching hard to find the contrast between the orange (labeled RECENT TRAINS)...

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Which way to die, the Bard asked #onelesspie

Happy Pi Day! In honor of Xan Gregg, I take aim at another pie chart today. This monstrosity was found on Vox (link):   The data pose a major challenge here: almost all the numbers are equal to one. This could potentially be fixed by aggregation. Or one can pick a more appropriate chart form, like a text cloud: One can grumble about the imprecision of the text cloud, especially...

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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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Enhanced tables, and supercharged spreadsheets with in-cell tech

Old-timer Chris P. sent me to this Bloomberg article about Vanguard ETFs and low-cost funds (link). The article itself is interesting, and I will discuss it on the sister blog some time in the future. Chris is impressed with this table included with the article: This table indeed presents the insight clearly. Those fund sectors in which Vanguard does not compete have much higher costs than the fund sectors in...

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Familiar characters in film and the words used to describe them

Stereotropes, made by the Bocoup Data Visualization Team, explores the many tropes in films and the the adjective used to describe them. Some are unique to a trope and some words span multiple tropes and genders. Some of the greatest reflections on society take place in film, through complex characters, often falling into familiar patterns called "Tropes". Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can rely on as being...

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