Axis

84 posts
Funnel is just for fun

This is part 2 of a review of a recent video released by NASA. Part 1 is here. The NASA video that starts with the spiral chart showing changes in average global temperature takes a long time (about 1 minute) to run through 14 decades of data, and for those who are patient, the chart then undergoes a dramatic transformation. With a sleight of hand, the chart went from a...

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What do I think about spirals?

A twitter user asked how I feel about this latest effort (from NASA) to illustrate global warming. To see the entire video, go to their website. This video hides the lede so be patient or jump ahead to 0:56 and watch till the end. Let's first describe what we are seeing. The dataset consists of monthly average global temperature "anomalies" from 1880 to 2021 - an "anomaly" is the deviation...

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Improving simple bar charts

Here's another bar chart I came across recently. The chart - apparently published by Kaggle - appeared to present challenges data scientists face in industry: This chart is pretty standard, and inoffensive. But we can still make it better. Version 1 I removed the decimals from the data labels. Version 2 Since every bar is labelled, is anyone looking at the axis labels? Version 3 You love axis labels. Then,...

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Easy breezy bar charts, perhaps

I came across the following bar chart (link), which presents the results of a survey of CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers) on their attitudes toward data analytics. Responses are tabulated to the question about the most significant hurdle(s) against the increasing use of data and analytics for marketing. Eleven answers were presented, in addition to the catchall "Other" response. I'm unable to divine the rule used by the designer to sequence...

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Best chart I have seen this year

Marvelling at this chart:   *** The credit ultimately goes to a Reddit user (account deleted). I first saw it in this nice piece of data journalism by my friends at System 2 (link). They linked to Visual Capitalism (link). There are so many things on this one chart that makes me smile. The animation. The message of the story is aging population. Average age is moving up. This uptrend...

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Start at zero, or start at wherever

Andrew's post about start-at-zero helps me refine my own thinking on this evergreen topic. The specific example he gave is this one: The dataset is a numeric variable (y) with values over time (x). The minimum numeric value is around 3 and the range of values is from around 3 to just above 20. His advice is "If zero is in the neighborhood, invite it in". (Link) The rule, as...

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To explain or to eliminate, that is the question

Today, I take a look at another project from Ray Vella's class at NYU. (The above image is a honeypot for "smart" algorithms that don't know how to handle image dimensions which don't fit their shadow "requirement". Human beings should proceed to the full image below.) As explained in this post, the students visualized data about regional average incomes in a selection of countries. It turns out that remarkable differences...

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Displaying convoluted indices

I reviewed another batch of projects from Ray Vella's class at NYU. The following piece by Carlos Lasso made an impression on me. There are no pyrotechnics but he made one decision that added a lot of clarity to the graphic. The underlying dataset gauges the income disparity of regions within nine countries. The richest and the poorest regions are selected for each country. Two time points are shown. Altogether, there...

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Asymmetry and orientation

An author in Significance claims that a single season of Premier League football without live spectators is enough to prove that the so-called home field advantage is really a live-spectator advantage. The following chart depicts the data going back many seasons: I find this bar chart challenging. It plots the ratio of home wins to away wins using an odds scale, which is not intuitive. The odds scale (probability of...

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Tongue in cheek but a master stroke

Andrew jumped on the Benford bandwagon to do a tongue-in-cheek analysis of numbers in Hollywood movies (link). The key graphic is this: Benford's Law is frequently invoked to prove (or disprove) fraud with numbers by examining the distribution of first digits. Andrew extracted movies that contain numbers in their names - mostly but not always sequences of movies with sequels. The above histogram (gray columns) are the number of movies...

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