It’s Five O’clock Somewhere

Infographics and interactive pieces need not always be about data. Sometimes they can help you find things far more practical than levels of Canadian defence spending or changing demographics. Sometimes they can help you find new summer cocktail recipes. Like this piece from the New York Times.

Journalist
Journalist

And if you’re me, you can add the experiments to your running tally of drinks as new data points.

Credit for the piece goes to Jacky Myint, Emily Weinstein, Des Shoe, and Tony Cenicola.

A Nine-story Log Cabin

It’s like a log cabin. But taller. A lot taller. The New York Times reports with an infographic on a nine-story block of flats (apartment building for us Americans) in London called the Graphite Apartments that was built almost entirely of timber.

Log cabin
Log cabin

Credit for the piece goes to Mika Gröndahl.

New York Times Lies About Science

In a rare infographic misstep, the New York Times published an incorrect diagram detailing the centre of the Earth.

Centre of the Earth
Centre of the Earth

Clearly, anyone who knows anything about science knows that it is not a solid core of iron at the centre of the Earth, but dinosaurs. And I see no dinosaurs in this diagram.

Credit for the piece goes to Jonathan Corum, Ritchie S. King, and Frank O’Connell.

Examining Growth in the G-20

On Sunday the New York Times featured a small graphic highlighting the disparity in growth rates across the G-20 if broken into the ‘core’ G-8 and then what one might call the emerging markets of the G-11.

NYT Coverage of G-20 Growth
NYT Coverage of G-20 Growth

The charts are small yet compelling in telling the story of how the two different groups are performing. However, I was left wanting to better understand the comparisons between the sizes and growth of the various countries. The areas of circles are difficult to compare and aggregates mask interesting outliers. So, using what I imagine to be the same data from the IMF, I took a quick try at the data to create my own infographic.

My G-20 Size and Growth Graphic; click for the full-size view
My G-20 Size and Growth Graphic; click for the full-size view

Indeed, interesting stories began to appear as I plotted the data. Russia is a member of the G-8, but perhaps has more in common with the G-11. After all, Russia’s growth was nearly 500%. Similarly interesting were Canada and Australia. The former, a G-8 country, was the only G-8 country besides Russia to have greater than 100% growth. And Australia, certainly not an emerging market in most senses, experienced nearly 300% growth. Whereas the emerging markets of Mexico and South Korea lag behind the rest of the G-11.

Then, when plotting the sizes of the economies, China was no surprise as the second-largest economy. However, that Brazil has managed to already surpass the G-8 economies of Italy, Russia, and Canada was a bit shocking. And Brazil looks nearly ready to surpass the UK, but for its apparent recent downturn. Also interesting to note are the Financial Crisis dips in GDP across most countries. Some countries, like China, unsurprisingly did not suffer greatly. However, that Japan and South Africa kept on a steady pace of growth was unexpected.

All of that would have been missed but for a slightly deeper dive into the IMF data. And a few hours of my time.

Congratulations, College Grads. Now Pay Up.

It’s that time of year when young men and women step outside into the big, real world and realise just how much money they owe to various creditors. Yay. The problem, however, has continued to get worse for students. This interactive infographic by the New York Times explains just how so by comparing student debt to costs.

The overall view of indebtedness
The overall view of indebtedness

While the bubble chart is also available in map form—though I don’t find that particularly useful myself—the more interesting added layer of complexity comes from the data displayed when the user selects a specific university.

Debt at Penn State, which I attended for all of two semesters
Debt at Penn State, which I attended for all of two semesters

Credit for the piece goes to Jeremy White, Andrew Martin, Andrew W. Lehren, and Archie Tse.

School Segregation in New York

This weekend the New York Times looked at segregation in New York City schools by mapping the least (and most) diverse and offering quick comparisons to other large cities. (Is it really a surprise that the country’s largest cities also would need the largest demographic shifts to create diverse education environments?) Probably the best thing, seemingly as always, in the piece is the annotations that provide stories and context and explain the outliers that are all otherwise visualised in the infographic.

School segregation in New York
School segregation in New York

Credit for the piece goes to Ford Fessenden.

Playing Politics

The election campaign for the presidency has begun in earnest. The President launched his official campaign over the weekend and Mitt Romney’s nomination is all but official. So what to do over the next six months? Lots of television adverts—thankfully I’m thinking of cutting my cable—and random events that shape public opinion. And, thanks to the New York Times, you can now play politics by dragging states into either the Obama camp or the Romney camp or you can read through the Times’ take on different scenarios.

Split Electoral College, my own scenario
Split Electoral College, my own scenario

Personally, I am going for the politically fascinating split electoral college route. Bonus points if you know what happens in this scenario—no cheating. And extra bonus points to the Times for splitting up the electoral votes of both Maine and Nebraska, look up what Obama did in 2008 to see how this can happen.

Nope, It’s Just Clouds in the Shapes of Birds and Planes.

Supporting an article about how the clouds are the last great hope for the climate change skeptics, the New York Times published an interesting infographic that looks at cloud cover and insolation, the amount of solar energy that irradiates the planet.

The main feature is an animation of a year’s worth of cloud cover. The mapped data begins to clearly show the difference between air circulation over the oceans and over land, with the interface between the two creating the rough outlines of the continents.

Cloud map
Cloud map

Supplementing the animation are four small multiples of different measures that look at energy and its conservation across the planet.

Energy maps
Energy maps

Credit for the piece goes to Jonathan Corum.

Kickstarter Fundraising

Kickstarter has been around for a little while now, financing some interesting projects. The New York Times has an infographic about how much each project earned. And while there is nothing particularly fancy about each, they are all scatter plots, the quirk is that the time and value axes have been reversed from their customary positions. While unusual, it supports the longer range for the monetary figures and the short range for the three years of Kickstarter history.

Kickstarter fundraising
Kickstarter fundraising

Furthermore, the data is broken out into different industries, e.g. design, food, and dance, that have adjusted value scales to make intra-industry comparisons easier. Nothing fancy, but an attentive care to the detail of the data.

Let’s Talk About the Weather

Global warming is probably not the worst-branded concept out there, but it is not particularly effective. Mostly because it implies the world will warm and warm evenly. In truth, some parts will get colder, some parts drier, some parts wetter, and yes, some parts warmer. Hence the better term is climate change.

In the US, we have a tendency to be rather skeptical of climate change and the degree to which, if not whether entirely, it is due to mankind. So, the New York Times released the results of a survey about whether Americans believe recent weather events are related to global warming—their word choice, not mine.

Survey on global warming
Survey on global warming

While not all bars sum to 100, probably due to rounding, note how the bars are all aligned against the point of divergence between the scales of agreement and disagreement and then sorted according to agreement.