scale

33 posts
Ridings, polls, elections, O Canada

Stephen Taylor reached out to me about his work to visualize Canadian elections data. I took a look. I appreciate the labor of love behind this project. He led with a streamgraph, which presents a quick overview of relative party strengths over time. I am no Canadian election expert, and I did a bare minimum of research in writing this blog. From this chart, I learn that: the Canadians have...

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Using rates for more relatable Covid-19 numbers

With millions of Covid-19 deaths worldwide, and hundreds of thousands in the US, the absolute counts have been a challenge to relate to for a while. The Washington Post leaned into rates to communicate scale at the individual level. 1 in 500 Americans died from Covid-19 so far. Tags: coronavirus, rate, scale, Washington Post

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Ranking data provide context but can also confuse

This dataviz from the Economist had me spending a lot of time clicking around - which means it is a success. The graphic presents four measures of wellbeing in society - life expectancy, infant mortality rate, murder rate and prison population. The primary goal is to compare nations across those metrics. The focus is on comparing how certain nations (or subgroups) rank against each other, as indicated by the relative...

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Start at zero improves this chart but only slightly

The following chart was forwarded to me recently: It's a good illustration of why the "start at zero" rule exists for column charts. The poor Indian lady looks like a midget in this women's club. Is the average Indian woman really half as tall as the average South African woman? (Surely not!) The problem is only superficially fixed by starting the vertical axis at zero. Doing so highlights the fact...

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Distorting perception versus distorting the data

This chart appears in the latest ("last print issue") of Schwab's On Investing magazine: I know I don't like triangular charts, and in this post, I attempt to verbalize why. It's not the usual complaint of distorting the data. When the base of the triangle is fixed, and only the height is varied, then the area is proportional to the height and thus nothing is distorted. Nevertheless, my ability to...

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Scale of a mouse plague

There’s a mouse plague in Australia right now. The words alone don’t express the scale and seriousness of this problem, but this Washington Post piece sure does. The combination of video, photos, and graphics clearly demonstrates the scale. It starts with a pair of mice and escalates quickly from there — and might give you the willies along the way. Tags: Australia, mouse, plague, scale, Washington Post

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Plotting the signal or the noise

Antonio alerted me to the following graphic that appeared in the Economist. This is a playful (?) attempt to draw attention to racism in the game of football (soccer). The analyst proposed that non-white players have played better in stadiums without fans due to Covid19 in 2020 because they have not been distracted by racist abuse from fans, using Italy's Serie A as the case study. The chart struggles to...

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Tip of the day: transform data before plotting

The Financial Times called out a twitter user for some graphical mischief. Here are the two charts illustrating the plunge in Bitcoin's price last week : (Hat tip to Mark P.) There are some big differences between the two charts. The left chart depicts this month's price actions, drawing attention to the last week while the right chart shows a longer period of time, starting from 2012. The author of...

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Coping with the big numbers

Connie Jin, who works for NPR and updates a Covid-19 dashboard, talks about in comic-form feeling numb to the large numbers and hot to deal. It comes back to the individual. Tags: comic, Connie Jin, coronavirus, NPR, scale

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Reading this chart won’t take as long as withdrawing troops from Afghanistan

Art sent me the following Economist chart, noting how hard it is to understand. I took a look, and agreed. It's an example of a visual representation that takes more time to comprehend than the underlying data. The chart presents responses to 3 questions on a survey. For each question, the choices are Approve, Disapprove, and "Neither" (just picking a word since I haven't seen the actual survey question). The...

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