Yesterday I wrote about the failure in a Politico piece to include Alaska and Hawaii in a graphic depicting the “entire” United States. After I had posted it, I recalled an article I read in the Guardian that looked at the shape of the United States, using the term “logo map”. It compared what many would consider the logo map to the actual map of the United States.
I warn you, it is a long read. But it was worth it to try and reframe the idea of what does the United States look like?
Credit for the piece goes to the Guardian graphics department.
Today’s piece is a nice little graphic from the Economist about the oil and natural gas industry in the United States. We have a bar chart that does a great job showing just how precipitous the decline in Chinese purchases of oil and liquid natural gas has been. Why the drop off? That would be the trade war.
The second graphic, on the right, is far more interesting. The data comes from BP, so the proverbial grain of salt, but it compares expected GDP and demand for energy by source from a baseline model of pre-Trumpian trade war policies to a future of “less globalisation”. Shockingly (sarcasm), the world is worse off when global trade is hindered.
You all know where I stand on stacked bar charts. They are better than pie charts, but still not my favourite. If I really want to dig in and look at the change to, say, coal demand, I cannot. I have to mentally remove that yellow-y bit from the bottom of the bar and reposition to the 0 baseline. Or, I could simply have coal as a separate bar next to the other energy sources.
Credit for the piece goes to the Economist Data Team.
Following up on yesterday’s post about the facts on tariffs, today we look at an article from Politico that polled voters on their feelings about trade and trade policy. Now the poll dates from the beginning of June and unfortunately a lot of things have changed since then. But, the data overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that voters, at that time at least, do not support placing tariffs on goods coming into the US.
Let’s take a look at another component of the article, however, a chart exploring the infamous trade deficit. First of all, trade deficits do not work like how the president says they do—but we will come back to that in another post. In short, trade deficits are neither good nor bad. They are just one way of describing one facet of a trade relationship between two countries.
This piece looks at the trade balance between the United States and China.
Now, from the topical standpoint, it does a really nice job of showcasing how our imports have surged above our experts. From a topical standpoint, however, we do not know if this is a total trade deficit or just in goods, like the president prefers to talk about, or in goods and services, the latter of which accounts for way more than half of the US economy.
From a design perspective, I have a few thoughts and the first is labelling. The chart does label the endpoints of the data set, 1985 and 2017. But aside from a grey bar representing the Financial Crisis, there are few other markers to indicate the year. In smaller charts, I often do this myself, because space. But here there is enough space for at least a few intervening years to be labelled.
Secondly, the white outline of the red line. I have talked before of a trend to showcase a line over other lines with that thin stroke. But this is the first time I can recall the effect being used over an area filled with colour. Is it necessary? Because the area is light and the line dark and bright, probably not.
Then the outline appears on the text in the graphic, in particular the labels of imports, exports, and the trade deficit label. The labels for the imports and exports likely are necessary because of that light grey used for the text. But, as with the line for the trade deficit, its label likely provides sufficient contrast the thin white outline isn’t necessary.
This past Sunday I had a nice treat in the New York Times. They printed a piece looking at the state of the US-Mexican border wall as it is today. And not only was it an article, but it was a full-page article.
There isn’t a lot to say about it in particular. But what I really did like was the decision by the designer to tilt the map at an angle. Normally we would see a straight east-to-west, right-to-left map, but here the axis is more southeast-to-northwest, right-to-left map. And that creates a nice space for text in the lower left area, which the designer here did in fact use for the main block of text.
Yesterday, President Trump asked why there had been no discussion about the causes of the Civil War.
No, that is not a joke.
Well, Mr. President, turns out that there has been quite a bit of discussion over the last few years. And the broad consensus?
Note the above, with the darker shaded counties representing those with greater percentages of the population held in slavery. What do most of those states have in common with the Confederacy? That they are in the Confederacy.
To be clear, the Union was not perfect. Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri remained part of the Union, but were states where slavery was legal. In fact both Kentucky and Missouri had two governments. Kentucky provides a great example of the fault line with the pro-Union capital of Frankfort situated in the low-slavery east whereas the Confederate capital was located in western, high-slavery Kentucky.
But the point stands. Slavery was the link between Confederate states and Confederate-aligned parallel governments in Union states. So, Mr. President, when you are asked about the cause of the Civil War, now you know the answer.
Credit for the piece goes to E. Hergeshimer of the US Census Bureau.
So here’s how this week was supposed to go. I was going to write about the Northern Irish election Monday and then Tuesday was going to be a piece from the New York Times that looked at the public’s concerns facing an incoming president. This piece I was going to save for later. But then Sunday night North Korea tested several missiles and flew them into the Sea of Japan. Sort of felt appropriate to move this one up a couple of days.
As you know, I like infographics and diagrams about military things. And in an article about the US cyberwar against North Korea, the New York Times included these graphics to provide context about the scale and scope of the North Korean missile programme.
I don’t have the URL for the page on-hand, but if you can find it. The article is well worth the read.
This is an old map that saw the light of day a while back. Featured on Vox, the map supports the notion that some white people are whiter than other white people. The map explores immigrant populations. Using a map for spatial arrangement of integrated components, the data looks at immigrants’ ethnic origins, their workforce breakdown, and their recent growth.
Credit for the piece goes to FS Howell. (I presume.)
The United States has a long history of deploying troops overseas. How long? And where to? Well, ABC (as in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) mapped out every US deployment dating back to 1798. I captured the year 2014, but if you are curious, you should check it out for yourself.
A neat little bonus, watch the growth of the borders of the United States from 1798.
A few weeks ago, one of my coworkers, sent me a link to a Newcastle Ale campaign video asking what would America be like if Britain had won the Revolutionary War. Anybody who knows me really well knows I am an Anglophile. I say mobile instead of cell phone, from time to time I switch from apartment to flat or truck to lorry or elevator to lift. So naturally I checked out the campaign site and what did I find? A map of place names if the Americans had not won the war. You can search for your residence or hometown and see what the Brits would have named it.
Though this ignores the fact that most of where I am from was actually named by the Brits. West Chester was originally called Turk’s Head, but after the a bunch of boundary changes that separated the British named Chester from my area, Turk’s Head was renamed West Chester because it is west of Chester, located on the Delaware River. Anyway, place names are cool. Happy Friday, everybody.
Credit for the piece goes to the design team behind the ad campaign.
Last week I was asked what was the population of Canada. I first said 30 million. I then figured that was too small so I said more like 50–60 million. Turns out I was closer to being correct the first time. A Google search that cites the World Bank among its sources listed the population as nearer to 35 million. But what does that mean?
Over at I Love Charts, the United States was broken down into units shaped by the size of the population of Canada. Roughly, the United States = 10 Canadas.
Credit for the piece goes to an unknown individual. If discovered, I would appreciate being informed.