Cancer

From the Sydney Morning Herald, we have a link to an interactive infographic published by the Cancer Council of Australia, a non-profit that seeks to reduce the impact of cancer upon Australia. It is not the most graphical by way of charts, but offers the user “playful” interactions with statistics to better inform him or her about the causes and impacts of cancer. The format is also interesting in that it mimics the fad in infographics of the long, vertical scroll page. But here it is done to much better and ostensibly more useful effect. Useful in the sense of trying to help people.

Bowel cancer
Bowel cancer

 

Brotherly Love

From the New York Times we have a graphic that looks at homicides across several different US cities. And in Chicago, they are up significantly from this point last year. So too is Philly, but I like to think of that as an outpouring of brotherly love.

Homicides
Homicides

Opening the Window

The Washington Post brings us a look at the mess that is our Congressional representatives buying and selling stocks affected by the legislation they write, discuss, and upon which they vote. None of the charts in this piece are of themselves particularly complex—we are looking at a pie chart after all—but they do come together to tell a story of…wholly ethical behaviour…

Trading stocks
Trading stocks

Credit for the piece goes to Wilson Andrews, Emily Chow, David Fallis, Dan Keating, Laura Stanton, Sisi Wei, and Karen Yourish.

Exoplanets

Sometimes an infographic needs to put us in our place. Humanity is but one of many species on one of many planets in one solar system. Over at xkcd, we can see how only now are we beginning to expand our knowledge of how many other solar systems and planets there are (and that are just waiting to be discovered).

Exoplanets
Exoplanets

Credit for the piece goes to Randall Munroe.

Sometimes Small Infographics Are Most Important

This is certainly not the largest, nor the most glamorous infographic. But to drivers in Los Angeles, probably a very useful one. It is a diagram of forthcoming changes to a series of on- and off-ramps to Interstate 405 and Wilshire Boulevard.

Ramp changes
Ramp changes

Simple things like having a dangerous red for the soon-to-be-closed ramps set against the calmer, desaturated colours of the safer, separated ramps of the future highlight the important area of the shared lanes. I probably would have called those areas out with something more than a black, many-pointed star, but it does still work.

Credit for the piece goes to Tia Lai and Anthony Pesce.

Where Your Bacteria Live

People are nothing more than dirty stinking apes. Especially when it comes to microbes. On Monday the New York Times published an infographic that visualised the data on the prevalence and abundance of different microbes across a sample of over 200 individuals. That is to say the visualisation looks at where microbes are most common and just how common they are in that location.

Microbes
Microbes

Revisiting the End of the Shuttles

This is a post that goes back a little bit in time, but that I stumbled upon and found worth a post. Last summer the United States ended the Space Shuttle programme by retiring all of our orbiters. And of course this prompted many to attempt infographics about the history of bringing liberty and freedom to space.

Amidst the fond farewells, I missed this interactive piece from the Philadelphia Inquirer about the history and the future of Americans in space.

Interactive history
Interactive history

The interactive piece contains three separate sections. The first looks at the individual Americans who made it into space. The second compares the Space Shuttle to the Russian Soyuz craft that we now must use to get into space. The third looks at the future, and what we might use.

But, the Inquirer also had a print edition to worry about, and published a static version of the piece. Is it perhaps a bit cluttered, yes, but the addition of the photographs and the annotations (even though the annotations are available as rollover conditions in the interactive piece) makes the print version more welcoming to explore and read at leisure. Additionally, the difference in scale of the three segments of the piece give a clear importance to the individuals rather than to the technology. This distinction is lost in the interactive piece because each segment is the same size and receives the same scale of treatment.

Static shuttle
Static shuttle

Credit for the interactive piece goes to Kevin Burkett and Rob Kandel. Credit for the print piece goes to Kevin Burkett.

Greece vs. Germany

It appears as if the Greeks, who voted in parliamentary elections for the second time in as many months, have narrowly voted for pro-bailout parties. But whether the pro-bailout parties can put aside their other political differences and form a coalition government remains to be seen.

Until we see that, thanks to the National Post, we can see an infographic comparison between Greece and Germany, arguably the worst and the best European economies.

Greece and Germany compared
Greece and Germany compared

I appreciate the mirror approach, but wonder if the comparisons might not have been clearer if measured directly? Or what would have happened without the mirror approach and compared the two countries in single but slightly larger charts? Regardless, one can easily see that Greece has some serious problems.

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

Oil.

Oil, sweet oil. How we depend upon you for modern civilisation. BP published a report on world energy that Craig Bloodworth visualised using Tableau.

Oil production
Oil production

The piece has three tabs; one is for production, another consumption, and a third for reserves. (The screenshot above is for production.) But when I look at each view I wonder whether all the data views are truly necessary?

In production for example, is a map of a few countries truly informative? The usual problem of Russia, Canada, the US, and China dominating the map simply because they are geographically large countries reappears. Furthermore the map projection does not particularly help the issue because it expands the area of Siberia and the Canadian arctic at the expense of regions near the Equator, i.e. the Middle East. That strikes me as counter-intuitive since some of the largest oil producers are actually located within the Middle East.

A map could very well be useful if it showed more precisely where oil is produced. Where in the vastness of Russia is oil being sucked out of the ground? Where in Saudia Arabia? In the US? Leave the numbers to the charts. They are far more useful in comparing those countries like Kuwait that are major producers but tiny geographies.

Lastly about the maps (and the charts), the colour is a bit confusing because nowhere that I have found in my quick exploration of the application does the piece specify what the colours mean. That would be quite useful.

Finally, about the data, the total amount of oil produced, but more importantly consumed, is useful and valuable data. But seeing that China is the second largest consumer after the US is a bit misleading. Per capita consumption would add nuance to the consumption view, because China is over three-times as large as the US in population. Consequently, the average Chinese is not a major consumer. The problem is more that there are so many more Chinese consumers than consumers in any other nation—except India.

A bit of a hit and miss piece. I think the organisation and the idea is there: compare and contrast producers and consumers of oil (and consumers of other energy forms). Alas the execution does not quite match the idea.

Credit for the piece goes to Craig Bloodworth, via the Guardian.

Frack You, Gas Hole.

And not in the polite Galactica way, but more in the let’s drill you, rocks, and split you open. I could go in further detail about the injection of fracking fluids, but let’s leave the double entendre alone and talk about Marcellus Shale. It’s a layer of rocks in the dirt that contain natural gas. It’s a pain in the gas production industry (sorry) and thus is only economically viable when fuel prices are high.

So in the 21st century with high fuel prices, energy companies are hydraulically fracturing (fracking) the rock to suck out all the natural gas. But this might be (probably is) causing environmental problems and thus human health problems. Ergo the controversy. This has now reached New York and so the New York Times created a simple map with some key layers of information to explain the controversy there.

NY Marcellus
NY Marcellus

Note the useful layers of depth of the shale and where those intersect (or do not) with areas that have banned or endorsed fracking.

Western Pennsylvania has had similar problems, and the Philadelphia Inquirer has had an interactive special on their website up for a little while now. And by interactive infographic I mean largely just a play-through of static images. Unfortunately, the online content is not of the best resolution and leaves much to be desired. Fortunately the graphics would appear to be quite informative especially as part of a series. A pity they are not entirely legible.

Location
Location

Credit for the Inquirer piece goes to John Tierno.