More on the Muslim Split in the Middle East

Yesterday we looked at the Economist’s work on breaking down the Sunni and Shia split throughout the Middle East. Let’s take a look at that again today, especially since the world’s largest Muslim nation dealt with a terror attack overnight. That’s right, Indonesia is actually the world’s largest Muslim country and it is also largely secular in nature. But, back to the Middle East where the New York Times put together an article exploring the two power blocs and the religious affiliations within.

A map of the region
A map of the region

The map provides a bit more detail on a few different sects that are relevant, especially the Wahhabists in Saudi Arabia.

Credit for the piece goes to Sarah Almukhtar, Sergio Peçanha, and Tim Wallace.

The Muslim Split in the Middle East

Turning away from selfies and returning to the upbeat world of the Middle East, today we look at a graphic from the Economist that breaks down the Middle East into the Sunni and Shia sects. See anything that looks familiar? Do you know how Saudi Arabia and Iran are feuding at the moment? Well, take a look at the predominant sect in each country.

Sunni vs. Shia
Sunni vs. Shia

Credit for the piece goes to the Economist’s Data Team.

Nuclear Tests

Last night, in the States’ time at least, North Korea purportedly tested a hydrogen bomb. How does this differ from their previous tests? Well, those were all nuclear fission bombs, this is a nuclear fusion bomb. (Admittedly, I am simplifying a lot here.) Hydrogen bombs, the H-bomb, are more powerful and more efficient in that they emit less radiation. They are still pretty bad news, though. That bit has not changed.

Anyway, the Washington Post put together a nice piece about nuclear weapons testing. The big feature piece is a map of test sites over time. What I really like about it, however, is that they chose to split the world at a different point—the Pacific Ocean opposite the Prime Meridian. I have occasionally argued for using such maps more often given the increasing relevance of Asia and the relative decline of Western Europe. So it is nice to see it put to good use here.

Nuking the Pacific
Nuking the Pacific

Credit for the piece goes to Kevin Schaul.

Syria’s Refugees

We go from one crisis to another, as we go back to Syria. This piece from Bloomberg is very nicely designed and is almost entirely in black and white. We often think that because computer, everything needs to be in a rainbow of shiny, shiny colours. But here we have places where the designers smartly used patterns and smart labelling to avoid the need for colour.

A fantastic black and white map
A fantastic black and white map

Credit for the piece goes to Cindy Hoffman, Dave Merrill, Chris Nosenzo, Mira Rojanasakul, and Blacki Migliozzi.

Climate Change in Charts

So yesterday we reimagined a less-than-stellar BBC chart. Today, we look at a good chart from the BBC about climate change, timed to coincide with the start of the Paris climate talks. This comes from an article with six charts related to climate change, but it is the best in my mind.

The trend…not so good.
The trend…not so good.

Nothing but nice design here with the use of colour to highlight the top ten hottest and coldest years over the last 225+ years. But it really comes alive when animated and tells the story how those coldest years occurred at the beginning of the set and the hottest are among the most recent years.

Credit for the piece goes to Emily Maguire,  Tom Nurse, Steven Connor, and Punit Shah.

A Royal Nation

You may recall a year and a half ago a post I wrote up about a New York Times piece looking at the fandoms of baseball in the United States. Well fresh off their hometown Royals’ World Series victory, the folks at the Kansas City Star revisited the graphic—driven by Facebook likes—to see if there had been any change. Sure enough, Royals Nation—or whatever they call it—has made inroads into what was before St. Louis Cardinals territory.

Missouri is a little more blue these days
Missouri is a little more blue these days

The only sad part about the article is that they talk of changes in adjacent states, e.g. Kansas, but have no maps for those.

Credit for the piece goes to Jay Pilgreen.

Making Sense of the Syrian Civil War

Well, I mean trying to is this piece by the Washington Post. Included are several diagrams at key phases of the conflict that attempt to show how the various parties interacted with each other.

Look at all the actors on stage…
Look at all the actors on stage…

Ultimately the key takeaway is that Syria is a mess and it is not getting any better. So let’s just add some more lines in there, am I right?

Credit for the piece goes to Denise Lu and Gene Thorp.

Sailing Through Southeast Asian Waters

Today the US sent a guided missile destroyer through what China claims—but few recognise as—its sovereign territory, twelve nautical miles off the coast of semi-artificial islands. This piece from Quartz illustrates just some of the overlapping claims of the Spratley Islands. In the end, nothing happened to the destroyer as China did not counter it with ships or aircraft.

Who owns what now?
Who owns what now?

Credit for the piece goes to the Quartz graphics team.

The Canadian Elections

Canada held an election yesterday. For your briefing on it, John Oliver did a great job on Last Week Tonight. But for the serious coverage, we have results.

Here we have the results coverage by the National Post. It’s your standard choropleth coloured by the victor in each riding, or constituency. From a design side, I find the pattern fill interesting and not something I have seen done before for a political map.

I just chose a place I had visited in Canada
I just chose a place I had visited in Canada

But I really like what the CBC did. They built an interactive application to cover the evening’s results as they arrived. This screenshot is for the riding in Fredericton, where my ancestors lived in the 19th century. (I had to have a connection to the ridings somehow.) In particular, I liked the ability to star ridings of interest and have them immediately retrievable. The CBC complemented that with a list of ridings to watch. It was a great resource for the evening.

Fredericton results
Fredericton results

But then they also covered the results with an article with interactive graphics. This is more your standard fare with choropleths, bar charts, and line charts. But they flow through the article quite sensibly. Overall, a solid results piece.

Party results per region
Party results per region

Credit for the National Post piece goes to the National Post graphics department.

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

Taking You All to School

Like the title said, it’s about time I took you all to school…by which I mean university scorecards from the US Department of Education. I used my alma mater, the University of the Arts, to show the design here. Basically you have several sections key to understanding a university from the student body to the financials to the graduates’ prospects.

The scorecard for UArts
The scorecard for UArts

Credit for the piece goes to the US Department of Education.