Well, Iraq is in the news again. Basically because the Islamist insurgency in Syria has now crossed the border—to be fair, though, that happened awhile back—and taken control over swathes of northern Iraq. Part of that swath includes the city of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city with a population of almost 2 million.
The New York Times has been putting together a series of maps to explain the background of why this is happening (hint: that Shia–Sunni divide we talked about years ago, well it’s back) as well as where this is happening.
The Shia–Sunni–Kurdish divide
Credit for the piece goes to Sarah Almukhtar, Jeremy Ashkenas, Bill Marsh, Archie Tse, Tim Wallace, Derek Watkins, and Karen Yourish.
America loves its gun. The big draw of this piece from the Washington Post is the illustration of the guns used in the mass shootings and whether each was legally or illegally acquired. But more interesting from a data visualisation standpoint are the charts below. They show the numbers of killers, victims, and then the demographics of the killers.
Killers and Victims
Credit for the piece goes to Alberto Cuadra, Richard Johnson, Todd Lindeman, Ted Mellnik, and Kennedy Elliott
Today’s piece is hit and miss. It comes from the World Economic Forum and the subject matter is the use of Twitter across Africa. I think the subject matter is interesting; mobile communication technology is changing Africa drastically. The regional trends shown in the map at the core of the piece are also fascinating. Naturally I am left wondering about why certain countries. Does spending on infrastructure, GDP per capita, disposable income levels have any sort of correlation if even only on a national and not city level?
How Africa tweets
But what really irks me is the content that wraps around the map. First the donut chart, I think my objections to donuts—at least the non-edible kind—are well known. In this case, I would add—or sprinkle on—that the white gaps between the languages are unnecessary and potentially misleading.
Secondly, the cities are eventually displayed upside down. Thankfully the labels are reversed so that city names are legible. However, the continually changing angle of the chart makes it difficult to compare Douala to Luanda to Alexandria. A neatly organised matrix of small multiples would make the data far clearer to read.
In short, I feel this piece is a good step in the right direction. However, it could do with a few more drafts and revisions.
Racism is a long-standing problem for humanity. But in the wake of the Donald Sterling scandal in the NBA, the New York Times put together a graphic looking at white attitudes towards blacks in the United States. The data reveals that while racist views are down from highs decades past, there is still a substantial amount.
Racism in America
From a design standpoint, I would have probably added some sort of axis label. Additionally, I would have removed that topmost segment and used the space for the labelling.
Last Friday, we looked at how one individual defined the state of Florida. Today, we look at how FiveThirtyEight attempted to get lots of people to define the Midwest.
Defining the midwest
Personally, as someone from Philadelphia I tend to side with the author of the article, Walter Hickey. He writes he’s “from New York, and [he] generally consider[s] anything west of Philadelphia the Midwest.” That’s pretty much the truth.
In the votes held this past weekend, the separatists in Donestk and Luhansk claim they received a mandate for independent states. However, according to polls conducted by Pew a few weeks back, most of Ukraine, with the notable exception of Crimea, wants to remain united as a single country. In fairness, this poll was conducted after Russia annexed Crimea but before the deaths of pro-Russian separatists in Odessa and Mariupol. (Anecdotally, those events have driven some to the separatist camp.) The map below is part of the Pew report. However, I have an issue with it that, again in fairness, might not be solvable given whatever raw data with which Pew was working.
Who wants secession? Only Crimea.
The map colours each oblast, roughly equivalent to a US state, according not to the results of the survey, but rather to which region the oblast belongs. For example, Kirovohrad is the same colour as Donetsk. Donetsk, however, is the epicentre of the unrest in Ukraine whereas I have at least seen no reports of unrest in Kirovohrad. Are they really reporting the same desire of unity or secession? Would the map not be clearer if each oblast was reported independently?
My guess is that results like these are clear to the Kremlin. And so I think while Donetsk and Luhansk will remain Ukrainian, Crimea will likely remain Russian.
Credit for the piece goes to the Pew Research Center’s graphics department.
I am pretty much a sucker for small multiples. And so today I present a good one from the Washington Post. The story starts looking at the broad, national scope of the issue. And from there it breaks home ownership down by state.
Home ownership by state
Credit for the piece goes to the Washington Post’s graphics department.
One of the main arguments used by Vladimir Putin to support any possible intervention in Ukraine is the suppression of the rights of Russian language speakers. The Economist wisely decided to wholeheartedly endorse the underlying principle of Putin’s logic and redrew the world map accordingly. You should read the article.
Linguistic empires of the world
Credit for the piece goes to the Economist’s graphics department.
Today’s post is a small interactive map—nothing fancy there—about indoor plumbing. As it turns out not every home in the United States has it. Of course, last weekend I ended up driving through those dark counties in western Pennsylvania. And I can believe it. And I can definitely say I saw a few outhouses.
Lack of indoor plumbing in western Pennsylvania
Credit for the piece goes to Christopher Ingraham.