Current Affairs

45 posts
Bubble charts, ratios and proportionality

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal about a challenger to the dominant weedkiller, Roundup, contains a nice selection of graphics. (Dicamba is the up-and-comer.) The change in usage of three brands of weedkillers is rendered as a small-multiples of choropleth maps. This graphic displays geographical and time changes simultaneously. The staircase chart shows weeds have become resistant to Roundup over time. This is considered a weakness in the...

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This Excel chart looks standard but gets everything wrong

The following CNBC chart (link) shows the trend of global car sales by region (or so we think). This type of chart is quite common in finance/business circles, and has the fingerprint of Excel. After examining it, I nominate it for the Hall of Shame. *** The chart has three major components vying for our attention: (1) the stacked columns, (2) the yellow line, and (3) the big red dashed...

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The windy path to the Rugby World Cup

When I first saw the following chart, I wondered whether it is really that challenging for these eight teams to get into the Rugby World Cup, currently playing in Japan: Another visualization of the process conveys a similar message. Both of these are uploaded to Wikipedia. (This one hasn't been updated and still contains blank entries.) *** What are some of the key messages one would want the dataviz to...

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Women workers taken for a loop or four

I was drawn to the following chart in Business Insider because of the calendar metaphor. (The accompanying article is here.) Sometimes, the calendar helps readers grasp concepts faster but I'm afraid the usage here slows us down. The underlying data consist of just four numbers: the wage gaps between race and gender in the U.S., considered simply from an aggregate median personal income perspective. The analyst adopts the median annual...

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Where are the Democratic donors?

I like Alberto's discussion of the attractive maps about donors to Democratic presidential candidates, produced by the New York Times (direct link). Here is the headline map: The message is clear: Bernie Sanders is the only candidate with nation-wide appeal. The breadth of his coverage is breath-taking. (I agree with Alberto's critique about the lack of a color scale. It's impossible to know if the counts are trivial or not.)...

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Powerful photos visualizing housing conditions in Hong Kong

I was going to react to Alberto's post about the New York Times's article about economic inequality in Hong Kong, which is proposed as one origin to explain the current protest movement. I agree that the best graphic in this set is the "photoviz" showing the "coffins" or "cages" that many residents live in, because of the population density.  Then I searched the archives, and found this old post from...

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SCMP’s fantastic infographic on Hong Kong protests

In the past month, there have been several large-scale protests in Hong Kong. The largest one featured up to two million residents taking to the streets on June 16 to oppose an extradition act that was working its way through the legislature. If the count was accurate, about 25 percent of the city’s population joined in the protest. Another large demonstration occurred on July 1, the anniversary of Hong Kong’s...

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Three estimates, two differences trip up an otherwise good design

Reader Fernando P. was baffled by this chart from the Perception Gap report by More in Common. (link to report) Overall, this chart is quite good. Its flaws are subtle. There is so much going on, perhaps even the designer found it hard to keep level. The title is "Democrat's Perception Gap" which actually means the gap between Democrats' perception of Republicans and Republican's self-reported views. We are talking about...

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A chart makes an appearance in my new video

Been experimenting with short videos recently. My latest is a short explainer on why some parents are willing to spend over a million dollars to open back doors to college admissions. I even inserted a chart showing some statistics. Click here to see the video.   Also, subscribe to my channel to see future episodes of Inside the Black Box. *** Here are a couple of recent posts related to...

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Morphing small multiples to investigate Sri Lanka’s religions

Earlier this month, the bombs in Sri Lanka led to some data graphics in the media, educating us on the religious tensions within the island nation. I like this effort by Reuters using small multiples to show which religions are represented in which districts of Sri Lanka (lifted from their twitter feed): The key to reading this map is the top legend. From there, you'll notice that many of the...

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