Variance

443 posts
How does the U.K. vote in the U.N.?

Through my twitter feed, I found my way to this chart, made by jamie_bio. This is produced using R code even though it looks like a slide. The underlying dataset concerns votes at the United Nations on various topics. Someone has already classified these topics. Jamie looked at voting blocs, specifically, countries whose votes agree most often or least often with the U.K. If you look at his Github, this...

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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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The gift of small edits and subtraction

While making the chart on fertility rates (link), I came across a problem that pops up quite often, and is  ignored by most software programs. Here is an earlier version of the chart I later discarded: Compare this to the version I published in the blog post: Aside from adding the chart title, there is one major change. I removed the empty plots from the grid. This is a visualization...

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Visualizing fertility rates around the globe

The following chart dropped on my Twitter feed. It's an ambitious chart that tries to do a lot. The underlying data set contains fertility rate data from over 200 countries over 20 years. The basic chart form is a column chart that is curled up into a ball. The column chart is given colors that map to continents. All countries are grouped into five continents. The column chart can only...

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Charts that ask questions about the German election

In the prior post about Canadian elections, I suggested that designers expand beyond plots of one variable at a time. Today, I look at a project by DataWrapper on the German elections which happened this week. Thanks to long-time blog supporter Antonio for submitting the chart. The following is the centerpiece of Lisa's work: CDU/CSU is Angela Merkel's party, represented by the black color. The chart answers one question only:...

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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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What metaphors give, they take away

Aleks pointed me to the following graphic making the rounds on Twitter: It's being passed around as an example of great dataviz. The entire attraction rests on a risque metaphor. The designer is illustrating a claim that Covid-19 causes erectile dysfunction in men. That's a well-formed question so in using the Trifecta Checkup, that's a pass on the Q corner. What about the visual metaphor? I advise people to think...

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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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Further exploration of tessellation density

Last year, I explored using bar-density (and pie-density) charts to illustrate 80/20-type distributions, which are very common in real life (link). The key advantage of this design is that the most important units (i.e. the biggest stars/creators) are represented by larger pieces while the long tail is shown by little pieces. The skewness is encoded in the density of the tessellation. So when the following chart showed up on my...

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