I’ve been stockpiling Opal Fruits, which young people tell me are now called Starburst, in anticipation of today’s election results.
This is like one-tenth of the stash. I don’t want to eat them though. You know what you’re going to get if you knock here at Halloween.
I took the New York Times’ hexbin cartogram, imposed a 6×8 rectangular grid and counted the most common party in each block. There was a little bit of fudging and chopping up the sweets. It is art, no? Here’s the video:
You know how people love maps with little shapes encoding some data? Hexagons, circles, squares? Jigsaw pieces? Opal Fruits?
Rip’t from the pages of the Times Higher Education magazine, some years ago.
Or small multiples?
You know how people love charts made from emojis?
Stick them together and what do you get?
This is by Lazaro Gamio. They’re not standard emojis. Six variables get cut into ordinal categories and mapped to various expressions. You can hover on the page (his page, not mine, ya dummy) for more info. Note that some of the variables don’t change much from state to state. Uninsured, college degrees, those change, but getting enough sleep — not so much. It must be in there because it seems fun to map it to bags under the eyes. But the categorisation effectively standardises the variables so small changes in sleep turn into a lot of visual impact. Anyway, let’s not be too pedantic, it’s fun.
This idea goes back to Herman Chernoff, who always made it clear it wasn’t a totally serious proposal, and has been surprised at its longevity (see his chapter in PPF). Bill Cleveland was pretty down on the idea in his ’85 book:
“not enough attention was paid to graphical perception … visually decoding the quantitative information is just too difficult”
On Twitter, @SirSandGoblin is tracking polls before the UK general election in the medium of cross-stitch.
You just have to look. This is clearly the work of a dataviz genius. I have nothing more to say.
This chart of population density across Europe by Henrik Lindberg has been very popular online this last week.
Long-standing readers will recall my stab at this but nowadays everybody just does it in ggplot2. It’s good to have options. While you’re at his Gist page, checkout his other stuff too.
It’s the world’s first ever hot air balloon plot. With the emphasis on the hot air.
This is from “The Global Epidemiology and Contribution of Cannabis Use and Dependence to the Global Burden of Disease: Results from the GBD 2010 Study” by Louisa Degenhardt and colleagues. I don’t really get the rationale for the mash up of pie chart with expanded stacked bars. Each of those is common enough by itself, although pies are pretty much never acceptable to the discerning datavizzer, but they map proportions to different visual parameters: angle and length. If you combine them, they just don’t work. Maybe the reason is that the focus is cannabis, and if they included alcohol in the bars it would swamp everything else. But… the stacked bars are actually smaller in height than the pie slice they supposedly expand on! Still, they could use a waffle plot, which is always a favourite of mine:
The other worry is that to make a mash-up, you have to get some bits out of analytics / spreadsheet packages and then get creative in some graphics package. That might just distort things a little. The pie is in tell-tale Stata default colors, while the bars are not; I suppose they were bolted together from different sources.
Here’s a graphic of a really deep oil well by Fuel Fighter via Visual Capitalist. This is rather reminiscent (ahem) of the long, tall graphics by the Washington Post (and the eerily similar one from the Guardian a few days later which they had to admit they had nicked) about flight MH370 at the bottom of the ocean. The WP graphic works because you have to scroll down, and down, and down, and down, and down (wow, that’s deep!), and down, and down (no way), and down before you get to the sea bed. Yes, all the usual references are there, hot air balloons and Burj Khalifas and Barad-Dûrs and what have you, but they don’t matter because it’s the scrolling that does it, giving you GU2 (“Conveying the sense of the scale and complexity of a dataset”) and GU6 (“Attracting attention and stimulating interest.”) The references don’t mean anything to me (or probably you); I may have seen the Burj Khalifa and thought it was amazingly tall, but I have no grasp of how tall and that is what matters: I’d have to have an intuitive feel for what 3 BKs are compared to the height of a jet aircraft, and I don’t have that, so why should I care about the references?
My problem with the Fuel Fighter graphic is that it doesn’t have that same sense of depth. The image file is 796 x 4554 pixels, which is an aspect ratio of 1:17. The WP image (SVG FTW) is 539 x 16030 or 1:30, which is pretty extreme! It feels to me like you’d have to get past 1:20 before it started to have enough impact.