The Middle Class is Getting Poorer

At least relatively speaking. Today’s post is a Bloomberg article comprised primarily of charts with pithy titles summarising the data story. If listicle is a word for articles consisting of the Top-10 things about [whatever], do we start embracing charticle as the word for chart-driven stories? Even if we do, we should take note that this piece was not the work of one person, but four.

The Middle Class' share of wealth
The Middle Class’ share of wealth

The story captures my attention to and dovetails nicely into yesterday’s piece about a possible electoral path for Donald Trump to take the White House later this autumn.

Bonus points for the responsive nature of the post.

Credit for the piece goes to Andre Tartar, Mira Rojanasakul, Jeremy Diamond, and John Fraher.

Party Demographics

Alas, these are not the fun type of parties, but the two main US political ones. But overall, before some more primary and caucus votes tomorrow, I think this Wall Street Journal piece nicely captures and illustrates the changes in and the differences between the bases of the two parties.

The makeup of the two large US political parties
The makeup of the two large US political parties

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

Irish Coalition Government

As I alluded to yesterday, in addition to visualising Irish election results the Irish Times built a coalition builder.

The current coalition is far from a majority in the new Dáil
The current coalition is far from a majority in the new Dáil

The principle behind the visualisation is sound: how could a government be created? And so the user goes away and creates his or her fantasy government. From a design perspective, the piece is nice with bold, party-related colours and clear controls. The Irish Times also included a nice subtlety with independent TDs (members of the Dáil) as clicking the plus button does not add all ten, but one person at a time. That reflects the fact the independents are not a whole party but ten individuals.

But I personally keep returning to a single question: how realistic are these fantasies? I think an addition that would benefit the story-telling element of the piece would be a guided narrative. Start with the screenshot above, which presents the coalition from the previous Dáil. Clearly they are far from a majority. A guided narrative could explain the likelihood and possible priorities of a various number of plausible coalitions. It would also be able to exclude the more ridiculous pairings.

Credit for the piece goes to the Irish Times’ graphics department.

The Shape of the 32nd Dáil

Ireland calls its lower-house of parliament the Dáil and its prime minister taoiseach. When I visited Dublin, election season was in full swing and upon the first Friday of my return to Chicago, Ireland went to the polls to elect the 32nd Dáil. The vote resulted in a hung parliament, i.e. with no single party in control—there are more than two political parties. The Irish Times put together an interactive piece looking at the makeup of the new assembly. (There is also a coalition builder, but we will take a look at that separately.)

The Dáil by age
The Dáil by age

Credit for the piece goes to the Irish Times’ graphics department.

Fighting Off My Jet Lag

As I mentioned earlier this week, I visited London for work for a week and then took some rollover holiday time to stay around London and then visit Dublin. But now I am back. And this week that has meant all the jet lag. And while everybody experiences jet lag and recovers from it differently, I wanted to take a look at my experience. The data and such is below. But the basic point, it is about four days before I return to normal.

What is missing, unfortunately, is the Chicago-to-London data. Because anecdotally, that was far, far worse than the return flight.

My sleeping periods are in purple
My sleeping periods are in purple

Credit is my own.

How Much Warmer Was 2015

When I was over in London and Dublin, most days were cool and grey. And a little bit rainy. Not very warm. (Though warmer than Chicago.) But, that is weather—highly variable on a daily basis. Climate is longer-term trends and averages. Years, again, can be highly variable—here’s looking at you kid/El Niño. But, even in that variability, 2015 was the warmest year on record. So the New York Times put together a nice interactive piece allowing the user to explorer data for available cities in terms of temperature and precipitation.

You can see the big chart is temperature with monthly, cumulative totals of precipitation. (I use Celsius, but you can easily toggle to Fahrenheit.) Above the chart is the total departure of the yearly average. Anyway, I took screenshots of Philadelphia and Chicago. Go to the New York Times to check out your local cities.

Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia, PA
Chicago, IL
Chicago, IL

Credit for the piece goes to K.K. Rebecca Lai and Gregor Aisch.

T-shirt Sizes

It’s Monday, folks. And for most of us that means going back to work. Which means dressing appropriately. And that’s about as far as I’ve got introducing this subject matter, because I wear a dress shirt and tie everyday. Not a t-shirt. But we’re talking t-shirts. Specifically their sizing.

Threadbase is a New York startup looking to do some cool things with data about t-shirts. But that requires having data with which to play. And they are starting to do just that. Their opening blog post has quite a few data visualisations.

Comparing actual sizes via a dot plot
Comparing actual sizes via a dot plot

The dot plot above charts the sizes by dimension for various brands and makes. I might quibble with the particular colours as the red and purple are a bit on the difficult side to distinguish. Symbols could be away around the issue. But the only real issue is that on my monitors the full image runs long and I lose the reference point of the actual dimensions in inches.

But the piece is worth the read for the cyclical changes in dimensions.

Mostly it’s just a pity that I’m not a jeans and t-shirt sort of guy.

Credit for the piece goes to Threadbase.

Urban Homicide

Today we look at a really nice piece from the Washington Post on urban homicide. It combines big, full-width images that use interactivity to promote exploration of data. But as you can see in the screenshot below, the designers took care to highlight a few key stories. Just in case the reader does not want to take the time to explore the data set.

The growth rate is an interactive piece
The growth rate is an interactive piece

But the piece uses scale to provide contrast throughout the article. Because in addition to the three or four big graphics, a similarly well-thought-out and well-designed approach was taken towards smaller, inline supplemental graphics. Here is an example about the homicide rate for New York.

New York's homicide rate as an inline graphic
New York’s homicide rate as an inline graphic

What I really enjoy about these small graphics is the attention paid to highlighting New York against the background averages provided for context. Note how the orange line for the city breaks the grey lines. It is a very nice detail.

Overall, this is a really strong piece marrying written content and data visualisation.

Credit for the piece goes to Denise Lu.

Snowmageddon Round 2?

For those of you like myself from the East Coast—even if some of us have unfortunately moved away from civilisation—terms like Snowmageddon and Snowpocalypse draw upon memories of lots and lots of snow. So with all the hype about today’s snowstorm about to pummel the East Coast, the Washington Post took a look at the forecast range of snow and compared that to Snowmageddon.

Attack of the 6-ft tall snowman
Attack of the 6-ft tall snowman

Side note, as someone who it could be said uses a lot of purple in his work, I love the colour choices here.

Credit for the piece goes to Kat Downs.