Tag Archives: charting

The Supreme Court’s Recent Liberalism

Last week the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Affordable Care Act, better known colloquially as Obamacare, and said that the federal tax subsidies are, in fact, constitutional. But, this piece is not so much about that one individual ruling, but rather the surprising trend of the recent Roberts’ court terms to skew liberal instead of the expected conservative. In this Upshot piece from the New York Times, an interactive graphic backs up the article explaining just what has been going on in the Supreme Court.

The court has been conservative for decades

The court has been conservative for decades

Credit for the piece goes to Alicia Parlapiano, Adam Liptak, and Jeremy Bowers.


Today’s blog post is not so much about a single piece of content, but rather a site of content. Today we look at Atlas, a new chart site from Quartz that at launch is designed to showcase chart-only content from Quartz. They state the later goal is for curated content from contributors. The charts are all made from Quartz’s in-house chartbuilder tool, an open-source platform they use to build the charts you see in a lot of their articles. And now all over Atlas.

Below the fold, the charts begin

Below the fold, the charts begin

The other nice thing about Atlas is its focus on extensibility, i.e. how you the audience can reuse the content. You can share it, you can download the data, you can link to it. You just probably shouldn’t call it your own. At launch, nothing looks too fancy. But, as a nice reminder folks, the fancier your charts get, the more likely it is that they will be harder to read and understand.

Credit for the piece or site goes to Quartz.

FIFA’s Revenue and Spending

If you did not hear about it the other day, the head of FIFA resigned. That is kind of a big deal because football (in the rest-of-the-world sense of the word) is kind of a big deal. But the organisation that runs it is generally seen as wholly corrupt. So this BBC piece takes a look at the revenue and spending—at least so far as we know about it.

Sort of a Sankey diagram

Sort of a Sankey diagram

Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.


I just returned from my trip to Kansas City last night. Kansas, if you did not know it, exists within what people call Tornado Alley. That means they receive a lot of tornadoes. But what are tornadoes beyond the plot points of mid-90s action films? Basically complicated micro-weather systems. So complicated we still don’t entirely understand them. But the National Post looks at explaining what we do know.

Inside a tornado

Inside a tornado

Credit for the piece goes to Andrew Barr and Mike Faille.

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.