Tag Archives: information design

Ebola

I really enjoy reading articles where graphics accompany the text and not just for the want of graphics. While the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is tragic, the data allows for some nice visualisation pieces. Additionally, one could say that the United States is victim to quite a bit of scaremongering as a result of a few isolated cases of Ebola in Dallas, Texas. Spoiler, an Ebola outbreak is not really a threat to the United States or Western Europe. Perhaps to relieve some of said scaremongering, the New York Times has a nice article titled Ebola Facts that outlines just that, the facts about Ebola. And guess what? The article is accompany by a number of useful inline graphics.

Ebola outbreaks

Ebola outbreaks

Credit for the piece goes to the New York Times’ graphics department.

Drinking by Decile

Happy Friday, everybody. I’m looking forward to a pint. But thanks to some research, as an American, I might actually be looking forward to 10 pints if I fall within the highest decile of American drinkers. They imbibe on average over 73 alcoholic drinks per week. Yep, that means over 10 per day. Bottoms up, Merica. The Washington Post brings up the graphic summary of the study.

Drink deciles

Credit for the piece goes to Christopher Ingraham.

Hitting a Baseball

Tonight is Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. For those of you who do not follow baseball, this is the semi-finals for the national championship called the World Series. Anyway, hitting a baseball is hard because you have so little reaction time. The Wall Street Journal has an article about how some baseball teams are beginning to experiment with neuroscience. The idea is to better train hitters to recognise pitches earlier, in essence, giving them said reaction time. The article is accompanied by an illustration showing just how little time there is to hit a pitch.

Think quickly

Think quickly

Credit for the piece goes to Mike Sudal.

Ebola Treatment Centres

Ebola is still a thing. And it is still getting worse. Or rather, with deaths and/or infections in both Europe and the United States, we are finally paying a bit more attention to it. We have no cure for Ebola, but we still need to treat people for symptoms, but most importantly we need to isolate those infected from the broader population. How and where is this done? Thankfully, the BBC put together an interactive graphic illustrating a typical treatment centre. Each main section is a clickable link that explains the functions and key points to the different areas.

A treatment centre

A treatment centre

The article goes on to explain in more detail what is going on and does so with photos and also a map of treatment centres in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.

Wakey, Wakey

It’s time to get up. Whether or not you hear the explicitly Monday morning or if’s meant by your alarm shouting at you, who really enjoys waking up Monday? A lot of the reluctance to wake up may have to do with when one goes to bed. One of my colleagues sent me a post over on Huffington Post that looks at Jawbone’s data visualisation of bedtimes across America.

Cities stay up late—not surprising. What I do find interesting is that in the rural and suburban, i.e. principally non-major city counties, there seem to be some interesting things going on. In particular, look at the shift in bedtime across the Eastern–Central and Central–Mountain time zones in particular. It’s a pretty clean break. And then within the Central timezone we have another shift. I wonder how much of this has to do with the needs of farming daylight hours. And that because the sun does not really set according to our clocks, the later sunset times in the western portions of timezones shift those bedtimes later. Like I said, interesting.

Then from the data side of things, I wonder if “thousands of users” across the 3000+ counties of the US are distributed sufficiently to achieve meaningful samples in many of those rural/suburban counties. And then what about those who have to work night shifts? How does that impact the data set?

Nighty, night

Nighty, night

Credit for the piece goes to Brian Wilt.

Comparing Geographic Area

Sometimes we need to compare the sizes of things. For Americans, this is obviously best done by comparing everything to America. Thankfully for geography, we now have Comparea to get a better sense of scale. Though, I am highly suspicious about this particular comparison. I think they have it backwards.

These numbers are clearly reversed

These numbers are clearly reversed

Credit for the piece goes to Comparea.

The Evolution of Art

I work in the field of graphic design—or visual communications design for those of you younger whippersnappers. Regardless of what you call it, the field itself generally did not become a discipline until the early parts of the 20th century. Obviously, painters and illustrators were performing many of the tasks in the 19th century and before then. But design comes from art, from painting and drawing. How old are those?

Well recent discoveries have just pointed to some really old paintings in Indonesia that rival the ages of what we already know in the cave paintings in France. The significance is that this means art likely did not spread from Europe to Asia as once thought. It either developed independently or stems from an earlier African ancestry. For the purposes of this blog, the writeup I found included an illustration of how these dates were determined.

Indonesian cave paintings

Indonesian cave paintings

Credit for the piece goes to the original authors of the Nature report.

The State of Gay Marriage in the States

I have been fairly out of the loop of the news the last few weeks, but I did at least catch one of the headlines: gay marriage in the States is more legal than ever. Between Supreme Court stays and Appeals Court rulings, gay marriage is now legal in more than 50% of the country—at least by number of states. The Wall Street Journal does a nice job in this static graphic showing just how far equality has come.

Marriage equality

Marriage equality

Credit for the piece goes to Randy Yelp.

Losing Ground

If you want a better understanding of the difficulties facing Louisiana in the coming years and decades, you should start with Losing Ground. It’s a very nice experience that integrates data and narrative along with maps and written word and spoken word to show how badly the wetlands have degraded.

A look at Leeville, LA

A look at Leeville, LA

Credit for the piece goes to Bob Marshall, Al Shaw, Brian Jacobs, Della Hasselle, Ellis Lucia. Edmund Fountain.

Falling Costs of Medicare

Medicare is one of those things that everybody has feared in terms of its impact on our long-term debt and deficit. The New York Times looks at the falling projections over time through a nice, animated line chart. The accompanying article places the cause for these to two factors. First, technical reductions that mean behaviour changes among medical care professionals and patients. Second, to spending reductions through the Affordable Care Act.

Falling spend on Medicare per recipient

Falling spend on Medicare per recipient

Credit for the piece goes to Margot Sanger-Katz and Kevin Quealy.