environment

55 posts
Superb tile map offering multiple avenues for exploration

Here's a beauty by WSJ Graphics: The article is here. This data graphic illustrates the power of the visual medium. The underlying dataset is complex: power production by type of source by state by month by year. That's more than 90,000 numbers. They all reside on this graphic. Readers amazingly make sense of all these numbers without much effort. It starts with the summary chart on top. The designer made...

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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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Fashion industry’s environmental impact

For Bloomberg, Rachael Dottle and Jackie Gu look at the current state of the fast fashion industry, which uses petroleum-derived polyester in most of the clothing: Almost every piece of clothing we buy is made with some polyester, the data shows. Although the dataset is made up of mostly fast fashion retailers, it’s not just fast fashion that loves polyester. Lululemon joggers? Polyester, nylon and elastane. Gucci skirt? Polyester. I...

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Speaking to the choir

A friend found the following chart about the "carbon cycle", and sent me an exasperated note, having given up on figuring it out. The chart came from a report, and was reprinted in Ars Technica (link). The problem with the chart is that the designer is speaking to the choir. One must know a lot about the carbon cycle already to make sense of everything that's going on. We see...

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Metaphors, maps, and communicating data

There are some data visualization that are obviously bad. But what makes them bad? Here is an example of such an effort: This visualization of carbon emissions is not successful. There is precious little that a reader can learn from this chart without expensing a lot of effort. It's relatively easy to identify the largest emitters of carbon but since the data are not expressed per-capita, the chart mainly informs...

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Seeing CO2 is a playable data visualization

Seeing CO2, by design studio Extraordinary Facility, is a playable data visualization that imagines if carbon dioxide were visible. You drive a car around collecting bits of information about carbon dioxide in our environment, and along the way, you’ll see volumes of CO2 compared against well-known structures. Pretty great. Tags: carbon, environment, Extraordinary Facility, game, scale

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Reading an infographic about our climate crisis

Let's explore an infographic by SCMP, which draws attention to the alarming temperature recorded at Verkhoyansk in Russia on June 20, 2020. The original work was on the back page of the printed newspaper, referred to in this tweet. This view of the globe brings out the two key pieces of evidence presented in the infographic: the rise in temperature in unexpected places, and the shrinkage of the Arctic ice....

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Dreamy Hawaii

I really enjoyed this visual story by ProPublica and Honolulu Star-Advertiser about the plight of beaches in Hawaii (link). The story begins with a beautiful invitation: This design reminds me of Vimeo's old home page. (It no longer looks like this today but this screenshot came from when I was the data guy there.) In both cases, the images are not static but moving. The tour de force of this...

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Locating the political center

I mentioned the September special edition of Bloomberg Businessweek on the election in this prior post. Today, I'm featuring another data visualization from the magazine. *** Here are the rightmost two charts. Time runs from top to bottom, spanning four decades. Each chart covers a political issue. These two charts concern abortion and marijuana. The marijuana question (far right) has only two answers, legalize or don't legalize. The underlying data...

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