Long-distance Amtrak

Today’s post is not super complex, but we all know I am a sucker for transit. Especially Amtrak. Back home on the East Coast, it runs both quickly and reliably along the Northeast Corridor and the Keystone Corridor. But as this graphic from the Wall Street Journal shows, that does not quite hold up for the longer distance Amtrak routes. Why? Freight trains.

Long distance is always difficult
Long distance is always difficult

Credit for the piece goes to the Wall Street Journal graphics department.

Europe’s Far-right Parties

On Sunday, Austria narrowly elected a former Green Party leader as president over the leader of the Freedom Party, a far-right party that surged in part because of the impact of Europe’s migrant and refugee crisis. The New York Times took a look at just how often and by how much far-right parties have succeeded in European countries in recent years.

There's more red than there used to be
There’s more red than there used to be

What I really like about this piece is that while they could have stopped at the above graphic, they opted to not. Some of the graphics above then introduce a section specific to the politics of the particular country, e.g. France and the rise of the National Front and Marine Le Pen.

France in detail
France in detail

Credit for the piece goes to Gregor Aisch, Adam Pearce, and Bryant Rousseau.

Don’t Go, Big Papi

Today’s graphic is not terribly complicated, but it is near and dear to Boston Red Sox fans. This is David Ortiz’s final year as he announced his retirement at the year’s outset. And of so course FiveThirtyEight examined Big Papi’s chances of getting into the Hall of Fame.

Please don't go…
Please don’t go…

Credit for the piece goes to Rob Arthur.

Where Is Pennsyltucky?

So last week I mentioned Pennsyltucky in my blog post about Pennsylvania’s forthcoming importance in the election. And then on Friday I shared a humourous illustrated map of Pennsylvania that led into an article on Pennsyltucky. But where exactly is it?

Luckily for you, I spent a good chunk of my weekend trying to find some data on Pennsylvania and taking a look at it. You can see and read the results over on a separate page of mine.

Where is Pennsyltucky?
Where is Pennsyltucky?


You may remember my post from Wednesday talking about the likely importance of Pennsylvania in the forthcoming election. I referenced an article from Philadelphia Magazine, which opened with a great map of Pennsylvania. I find the map very much worth sharing, especially on a Friday. I love the island life.

Take note of the other island off to the east, it is another good one on which I have spent many a years of my life. But, yes, anything generally west of the straits is a very, very different experience.


Credit for the piece goes to Mario Zucca.

The Decline of the Middle Class in America

Last week the New York Times published a great piece on the shrinking middle class and they used a series of small multiples to tell the story. They broke the story up into several sections, based on the trends in the data, e.g. in the screenshot below the designer sorted by areas where the middle class fell but upper class rose.

A wide view of the graphic
A wide view of the graphic

From the responsive design side of things, the piece works well on narrower screens too, because the design choice of small multiple tiles permits the piece to stack and rearrange tiles.

A narrow view of the graphic
A narrow view of the graphic

Credit for the piece goes to Quoctrung Bui.

Is Pennsylvania the Tipping Point?

Today we look at a piece that focuses on my native (and favourite) state: the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Along with Virginia, Massachusetts, and Kentucky, we self-identify as a commonwealth and not a state.) FiveThirtyEight examines how Pennsylvania and its shifting political preferences might just be the key (get it? keystone) to the election for both candidates. The crux of the article can be seen in the map, but the whole piece is worth the read. If only because it mentions Pennsyltucky by name.

Shifting states
Shifting states

Credit for the piece goes to David Wasserman.

Comparing Economic and Political Freedom

Today’s post is just a little scatter plot today of my own creation. I was interested to see which countries fall outside the mainstream when it comes to economic and political freedom, as measured by the Heritage Foundation and Freedom House, respectively.

Those are certainly not the only indices that I could have chosen, however, they were admittedly the easiest to find and use. Despite the fact the one dataset still contained data on such mythical places as Czechoslovakia, East Germany, and the Soviet Union.

That all said, my apologies for the graphics not quite being super clean. I am working on some new things and so this post is at best only a partially successful experiment.

Freedom and Liberty

Economic Freedom


Both Economically and Politically Free

Economically Free but Politically Not


New Zealand






Saudi Arabia











Neither Economically nor Politically Free

Politically Free but Not Economically

North Korea










Political Freedom


Heritage Foundation

Freedom House

Brendan Barry




Pedro Martinez Was A Great Pitcher

Last week FiveThirtyEight posted a nice article about the best pitchers in baseball. Turns out Pedro Martinez rates pretty highly among them. The late 90s and early 00s were great for Red Sox pitching.

Pedro was great
Pedro was great

Credit for the piece goes to Neil Paine and Jay Boice.