Tag Archives: charting

Others’ Coverage of Amtrak 188

Tuesday I posted my late-night work on Amtrak No. 188′s derailment, (now with a few minor updates, including the speed information released this afternoon) so you could all get a sense of what happened yesterday. Of course, in the last 24 hours, we have seen a lot of news outlets covering the story.

The New York Times has a nice piece mapping out the details of the accident. Of particular interest, they included a map showing the parts of the Northeast Corridor equipped with positive train control. That is a system designed to prevent trains from exceeding their speed limits.

Positive train control implemented on the Northeast Corridor

Positive train control implemented on the Northeast Corridor

The Washington Post has two nice pieces. The first, below, incorporates both illustration to simplify the wreck site for the audience and then photographs to provide context of just how destroyed some of the train cars are, the first in particular.

Using both illustrations and photographs

Using both illustrations and photographs

The Post, however, also has a supplemental piece that looks at Amtrak’s accidents over the last ten years. This is the most data-centric piece of all that we are looking at, but that is okay. Most of the story is not reliant on data, but rather illustrations and diagrams trying to piece everything together.

Comparison of derailments vs. vehicle collisions

Comparison of derailments vs. vehicle collisions

Lastly, the BBC has an article with several small graphics looking at US train risks. Spoiler, American trains, while safe, are far less safe than those in Europe and Asia. Here, though, the map looks at accidents along the Northeast Corridor.

Amtrak accidents

Amtrak accidents

Credit for the New York Times piece goes to Gregor Aisch, Larry Buchanan, Bill Marsh, Haeyoun Park, Sergio Peçanha, Julie Shaver, Joe Ward, and Karen Yourish.

Credit for the Washington Post piece on the derailment goes to Bonnie Berkowitz, Patterson Clark, Alberto Cuadra, Todd Lindeman, Denise Lu, Katie Park, and Gene Thorp.

Credit for the Washington Post piece on Amtrak accidents goes to Dan Keating and Lazaro Gamio.

The UK General Election

Well for those of you among my British audience, today is the big day. Can Malcolm Tucker save Nicola Murray from—wait, nope, that’s fictional British politics. But that doesn’t mean today’s results won’t be exciting. For those of you now from the UK, a majority of my readers, the UK is looking at what is called a hung parliament. In other words, nobody will win a majority of seats, which means that smaller parties will need to be included in a coalition government, a sort of fairly new—but also not really—development in British politics.

We could dive deep into all of these, but I have not the time. But, let’s start with the Guardian. They have a nice set of polling and prediction guesstimators. What is really nice, however, is the seat changing graphics. These show you where the gains and losses are predicted to originate.

The Guardian's predictions

The Guardian’s predictions

The BBC has a much less involved piece. This is the only thing I can find. However, the BBC will undoubtedly have interesting visuals during their live broadcast of the results. Jeremy Vine can always be counted on for weird presentational things. Oh, and they have the swingometer.

The BBC's poll tracker

The BBC’s poll tracker

Back in April we looked at the Fivethirtyeight predictions. And we might as well throw the latest screenshot up and compare that to the Guardian and the BBC.

Fivethirtyeight's updated predictions

Fivethirtyeight’s updated predictions

The Economist has a nice poll tracker with some simple controls for some simple filtering. But, these are, like the BBC’s, without an impact of number of seats. The Economist does, however, offer a separate build-your-own-majority calculator. 

What the Economist shows on their Election homepage

What the Economist shows on their Election homepage

The New Statesmen has built a site dedicated to May 2015, and their current predictions are as follows below.

New Statesmen's predictions

New Statesmen’s predictions

The only drawback to all of these pieces is that I will be busy coaching softball tomorrow night. So I will be unable to watch the BBC’s coverage of election results. And that is most unfortunate, because British politics are far more fascinating than the bland and boring two-party politics of the United States.

Credit for the Guardian piece goes to Caelainn Barr, Helena Bengtssoni, Chia-Jung (Apple) C.Fardel, Seán Clarke, Cath Levett, Alberto Nardelli, and Carlo Zapponi.

Credit for the BBC piece goes to the BBC graphics department.

Credit for the Fivethirtyeight piece goes to Matthew Conien and Ritchie King.

Credit for the Economist piece goes to the Economist’s graphics department.

Credit for the New Statesmen piece goes to the May 2015 graphics team.

The Coal Century

The other day I misread a poster on the road that “The Cool Century” for “The Coal Century”. That is the origin of today’s title. The origin of today’s piece, however, is Bloomberg, which looked at the impact of some new environmental regulations on the coal industry vis-a-vis dozens of coal power plants.

Coal plants

Coal plants

Basically, you have a map with plant size indicated by the dot size, and the type of plant by the colour of the dot. The line chart to the right shows total coal capacity. Overall, it’s a nice, clear, concise graphic. Two buttons give the user immediate access to the story: the pre-regulated environment—see what I did there?—and then then post-regulated one.

Credit for the piece goes to Eric Roston and Blacki Migliozzi.

Who Are the Red Sox?

As Massachusetts and Maine celebrate Patriots’ Day, the Boston Red Sox are set to play their earliest game of the year with an 11.00 start time. (Yes, there is also a marathon today.) So after two weeks or twelve games, the question people want answered is what Red Sox do we get this year? FiveThirtyEight looked at what they called roller-coaster seasons of late, primarily using a box plot graphic to show just how much whiplash Boston fans have endured of late.

Projected vs. actual wins

Projected vs. actual wins

So who are the Red Sox this year? The cellar dwellers of 2012 and 2014? Or world champions like in 2013? Who knows?

Credit for the piece goes to Neil Paine.

Predicting the UK General Election Results

(To be fair, I forgot to schedule to publish this post before I left somehow.)

Your humble author is still on holiday. So, today, you can enjoy a nice interactive piece from FiveThirtyEight that predicts the results of the 7 May general election. Of particular interest, the box part of the plot that shows the 90% confidence range.

Dot plotting the results

Dot plotting the results

The piece also has a choropleth map. My only feature request(s) would be to have a zoom feature for urban constituencies and/or to have a search field that allows the user to see the predicted results for a specific constituency.

Credit for the piece goes to Matthew Conlen and Ritchie King.

Friday Baseball Drinking

Your humble author is out of town today. And unfortunately he is not watching a ball game. But if he were, he would be drinking a beer. And even more unfortunately, his favourite team and favourite ballpark has the most expensive beer. And most unfortunate, the other two teams he is perhaps most likely to watch have the…same most expensive beer. Business Insider charted the prices and the price per ounce. To be fair, I am often too busy scoring a game to get drunk during a game.

It's expensive getting drunk at Fenway. And Citizens Bank. And Wrigley.

It’s expensive getting drunk at Fenway. And Citizens Bank. And Wrigley.

Credit for the piece goes to Business Insider.

Baseball’s Pace of Play

So now the baseball season is in full swing, one of the things we will be looking for is shorter duration for games. As I have probably said many times before, I enjoy the long games. But there are none longer than Red Sox–Yankees match-ups so take that with a grain of salt. I am spoiled. Anyway, in time for the season, over at Time they plotted the 2014 winning percentage and average length of game for all Major League teams.

Winning isn't based on pace of play

Winning isn’t based on pace of play

Clearly from this chart we can see that neither playing slowly nor playing quickly has any correlative impact on a team’s winning percentage. Teams are spread out all over. But, in many ways, baseball is all about timing and getting inside the head of the pitcher or the batter. And one way to take the advantage is to mess up the other’s timing. By eliminating that element of the game—or at least attempting to—the game becomes a little bit duller.

Credit for the piece goes to Lon Tweeten.

Baseball in 2015

For most of us, baseball, the 2015 edition, began yesterday. For the Red Sox, it was an 8–0 victory over the Phillies in which Boston’s Clay Buchholz kept the ball down in the strike zone, where it is tougher for batters to make solid contact. Whereas Cole Hamels of the Phillies kept the ball up in the zone and thereby let the Boston lineup hit four home runs in five innings. (Boston added a fifth, a grand slam, in the ninth inning.)

But low strikes are nothing new. In fact, umpires increasingly have been calling low strikes as seen in this chart by FiveThirtyEight in an article looking at 2015′s trends in baseball. (Interestingly they also chart something on Cole Hamels.) It is not the most complicated chart, but it does serve as a reminder that for the next six months, baseball is back.

Pitch height over the last few years

Pitch height over the last few years

Credit for the piece goes to Rob Arthur.

Sex, Drugs, and Rock Oil

North Dakota’s economy has been booming because of shale oil. Most of that economic growth has been centred on what was the small city of Williston, North Dakota. Economic growth often leads to population growth, however, and that can at times lead to growth in less than wholesome economic activities. The National Journal took a look at the population growth in the area and what has been happening concurrently in a few metrics of the less wholesome sectors of the economy, i.e. drugs and prostitution. Turns out, they are both up.

Population growth in North Dakota

Population growth in North Dakota

Credit for the piece goes to Clare Foran and Stephanie Stamm.

It’s Melting! It’s Melting!

Spring has finally arrived. And that means that far to your humble author’s north, the sea ice in the Arctic is beginning to recede from its annual maximum coverage. However, this year’s coverage was the smallest since satellite records began in 1979. The New York Times covers the story in a nice article with two big data pieces. The first is a really nice map—not shown—that looks at this year’s coverage compared to average extents.

The really nice part, however, is a line chart of historical ice coverage from 1979 through to the current date. While the piece is not interactive, the annotations in the graphic do a nice job explaining the different lines and outliers. Overall, a solid piece.

Annual cycle of Arctic ice coverage

Annual cycle of Arctic ice coverage

Credit for the piece goes to Derek Watkins.