French Politics, Elections, and Data Visualisations.

The US is not the only country with elections in 2012. Actually quite a few other places have had them, will have them, or are in the midst of having them. The latter includes France, which had the first round of its presidential election earlier this week.

To put it simply, France has a first round to narrow the whole field to just two candidates—lots of democracies outside the US have multiple party systems that mean more than just two parties—and then a second round between the last two. Nicholas Sarkozy was thought likely to win the first round and then lose the second, but he instead lost the first outright. He still isn’t expected to do well in two weeks’ time. But, the French media of course produce infographics just as US, Canadian, and British media do. Except unlike the last three, French infographics tend to be in French and I tend to not read them because, well, I cannot.

But pictures and colours make it easier. Socialists like red. Centre-right like blue.

From Le Figaro comes a map of the results. The island-looking thing on the right is Paris, beneath that Corsica, and then the bottom are the various overseas territories and departments that all vote.

Election results by French department
Election results by French department

The question with French presidential elections—and in fact any country that has run-off elections—is what happens to the voters of the losers? For whom will they vote in the second round? Le Figaro also has an interactive piece that allows the user to play out different scenarios based on how many voters will not show up and of those who do, how they split their vote. Again, it’s in French, so I had to assume some things when playing around with the controls and then know a few things about French politics.

Scenario builder for Round 2
Scenario builder for Round 2

From Le Monde, another respected French media source that I have featured on more than one occasion, come some simpler visualisations of the results but with some nice features for comparison. The first is obviously a look at the 2007 results. (Anybody recall Segolene Royal? Her ex-husband/partner is Francois Hollande…the guy running for the Socialists this time round.)

Election results of 2007
Election results of 2007

But another interesting view is that of the results strictly from 2012’s first round.

Election results 2012, Round 1
Election results 2012, Round 1

But with the added feature of comparing those results per party to their performance in 2007.

Round 1 comparison, 2012 to 2007
Round 1 comparison, 2012 to 2007

There are always interesting things going on in politics when it comes to data visualisation and infographics. We just have to look outside the US from time to time.

It’s Neither a Bird Nor a Plane. It’s a Space Shuttle. On Top of a Plane.

I loved the space shuttle. I mean how awesome is it that the lead ship of the class is named after the Enterprise from Star Trek. But seriously, it was a brick with little stub wings for gliding. It was not meant for flying. So now that all the shuttles are all retired—that’s a whole separate issue—how do they get from Kennedy Space Center to the various museums and installations?

Piggy back rides. On massive 747s. The Los Angeles Times made an infographic to explain just how the process works.

How to attach a space shuttle to a 747
How to attach a space shuttle to a 747

Credit for the piece goes to Tom Reinken, Raoul Ranoa, and Anthony Pesce.

North Korean Missile Technology (Or Lack Thereof)

North Korea wanted to launch a missile, but failed miserably in doing it. Richard Johnson at the National Post created an infographic, prior to the missile’s launch, that looked at what the North Koreans wanted to do.

Unha-3 plan
Unha-3 plan

The Short and Winding (Mountain) Road (vs. the Long and Straight Midwest Interstate)

Last weekend I visited Ganister, Pennsylvania to see family, meet some old family friends, do some research, and generally just get out of Chicago. After I arrived, I realised I wasted an opportunity to tell the story of the drive out. So, I made a mental note to record some data on the long drive back. This infographic is the result.

My return from Ganister
My return from Ganister

Who Survived and Who Perished the Sinking of the RMS Titanic

The anniversary of the RMS Titanic’s sinking led to a flurry of graphics related to the sinking, two of which I covered last week. Today’s is from the National Post and looks at the people onboard, most of whom died. Specifically, it breaks out the survivors and those who perished into their class—by berth not birth—and age. It also shows how empty most of the lifeboats were when they launched.

The casualties of the RMS Titanic
The casualties of the RMS Titanic

Credit for the piece goes to Richard Johnson.

Let’s Talk About the Weather

Global warming is probably not the worst-branded concept out there, but it is not particularly effective. Mostly because it implies the world will warm and warm evenly. In truth, some parts will get colder, some parts drier, some parts wetter, and yes, some parts warmer. Hence the better term is climate change.

In the US, we have a tendency to be rather skeptical of climate change and the degree to which, if not whether entirely, it is due to mankind. So, the New York Times released the results of a survey about whether Americans believe recent weather events are related to global warming—their word choice, not mine.

Survey on global warming
Survey on global warming

While not all bars sum to 100, probably due to rounding, note how the bars are all aligned against the point of divergence between the scales of agreement and disagreement and then sorted according to agreement.

A Profile of Canada’s Immigrants

On the back burner of infographics to post is this piece from the National Post. The early data indicates that most of Canada’s high population growth rate comes from immigrants to the country. And while those details are not yet available, the piece looks at the 2006 data for an indication of from which places the immigrants are likely to come.

Cropping of immigrant origins
Cropping of immigrant origins

Credit for the piece goes to Richard Johnson.

Today is a Happy Happy Joy Joy Story

For the past two posts I focused on the sinking of the RMS Titanic, an historical event that has always been of some interest to me, but is not always the most uplifting of subjects. When in high-school, I once had an English teacher who took to heart our complaints that our literature selection was rather dark and depressing. So after finishing yet another such story, he had us turn to a specific page in our reader. The title of that day’s story was To the Gas Chambers, Ladies and Gentlemen; it was a story about the Holocaust.

Here is today’s uplifting story. What would happen if a dirty bomb was detonated in lower Manhattan. Courtesy of the National Post.

A dirty bomb in New York
A dirty bomb in New York

Credit for the piece goes to Richard Johnson.

How the RMS Titanic Sank

On 14 April 1912—that is 100 years—RMS Titanic avoided slamming bow-on into an iceberg. But her turn allowed the iceberg to slice a long gash beneath the waterline and the North Atlantic gushed into watertight compartment after watertight compartment. Several hours later over 1500 people would be dead.

The BBC has published several articles about the sinking in the lead-up to the anniversary. This one is an illustration through small multiples of how the Titanic sank, from the bow slipping beneath the waves to the point at which the liner split in two to the stern rising vertically out of the water before it too plummeted to the seabed.

How the RMS Titanic sank
How the RMS Titanic sank

At the end of the graphic is an exploration of the wreck and a small chart showing the scale of the depth at which the wreck now sits, slowly deteriorating.

Credit for the painting goes to Ken Marchshall.

Setting the Stage for the Sinking of RMS Titanic

Saturday will be the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. She struck an iceberg just before midnight—at the time the crew thought merely as a glancing blow—and within three hours she would be headed towards the seabed. By the time the survivors were all picked up, over 1500 people would die in what is perhaps the most (in)famous sinking in human history.

But, what about the iceberg? There are of course the reports that a ship scouring the sea for survivors after the sinking found the killer berg. But how did it get there? The New York Times put together an infographic exploring the science behind how the RMS Titanic might have ended up colliding with what originally was part of (probably) a Greenlandic glacier.

The Titanic Iceberg
The Titanic Iceberg

Also in the piece are explanations of how it is possible that the SS Californian did not come to the rescue of the stricken RMS Titanic.

Credit for the piece goes to Mika Gröndahl and Joe Burgess.