I think there are people who still go to the Department of Motor Vehicles without an appointment. Because who doesn't like a good session of waiting in line? Lucky for you, Gene Ekster put together a simple time series that shows the average wait time throughout the day.
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Best time to visit DMV

R site updated
The R site has a new face. It looked dated for years — maybe decades — so I'm glad it got a refresh (with further updates in the coming months I assume). I felt like the old look was such a turn off that I had to reassure newcomers that even though the site looks like crap, the computing language itself is in fact not crap.
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How to Make and Use Bar Charts in R
The chart type seems simple enough, but there sure are a lot of bad ones out there. Get yourself out of default mode.
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Probably not a heat map
A heat map is a grid of numbers colored by value. I wrote a quick tutorial on how to make the now common statistical visualization. But at some point in the past few years, a heat map came to mean a geographic map with stuff on it. Cartographer Kenneth Field explains what these maps with stuff on it actually are and provides you with the "more established, more accurate and perfectly good terms."
Extra point for incorporating The Simpsons:
Heat maps have become a popularist way to label a surface representation of data that occurs at discrete points. On one hand the search for a better way of showing point based data which avoids death by pushpin is a sound cartographic approach. Imagine simply looking at a map of points and trying to make sense of the patterns. Chief Clarence 'Clancy' Wiggum would certainly struggle to make sense of the pattern of crime in Springfield just from coloured dots.

Where to Find Jeopardy! Daily Doubles
In 2014, Jeopardy! fans criticized contestant Arthur Chu for skipping around the board instead of opting for the traditional top to bottom selection of clues. He was on the hunt for Daily Doubles, and as the 74time winner Ken Jennings pointed out, Chu's strategy was a good one. It's in a good player's best interest to remove the major elements of chance.
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Madden ratings formula
In football video game Madden, NFL players are scored based on skill, which determines how they play in the game. Neil Paine, with graphics by Reuben FischerBaum, describes more than you ever thought you wanted to know about the scoring process in an indepth look for FiveThirtyEight. At the heart of the process is Donny Moore, who is in charged of most of the (subjective) number assignments.
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rvest: R package to scrape web data
Inspired by the Python libraries RoboBrowser and BeautifulSoup, the rvest package by Hadley Wickham helps you scrape web data via R in a similar way.
Parse tables into data frames, navigate around a website, and of course, extract bits from a page. I'll stick to BeautifulSoup, but I'm saving this for later. I'm sure it'll come in handy sooner rather than later.

Spreadsheets for life
Planet Money goes back to a 1984 article by Steven Levy that discusses this new thing called a spreadsheet. It was taking the place of the paper version that accountants manually edited, added to, and taped together.
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Texas hold ‘em win probabilities
Software engineer Chris Beaumont visualized the strength of opponent hands in Texas hold 'em, given any other hand. This is based on counting about 1.3 trillion possible combinations.
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Gambler’s perspective on sports team win probabilities
Michael Beuoy's win probability model plotted on FiveThirtyEight starts all NBA teams at a 50% chance of winning. Then the probability of winning a game increases and decreases from there. However, practically speaking, we know something about the teams before each game, and we don't give even chances to the worst and best team at the zerominute mark.
So Todd Schneider took a different approach to minutebyminute win probability — from a gambling perspective. Each line in the time series starts closer to the end probability as gamblers wager based on what they think the final outcome will be.
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Every NBA team’s chances of winning, by game minute
Michael Beuoy made a win probability model for NBA teams and games, based on playbyplay data from 2000 to 2012. The basic calculator lets you punch in the game state, such as time left and the score difference, and it spits out the probability of a win.
Or, for a teamcentric view, you can see the chart from Beuoy and Allison McCann for FiveThirtyEight, which plots the average probability using the same model. Steady rise means a steady pull towards a win, whereas spikes and steeper, positive slopes mean a tendency towards scoring spurts.

Identifying cheaters in test results, a simple method
Jonathan Dushoff had issues with students in his population biology class cheating on his exams. One year there was suspicious behavior, but Dushoff and the proctors weren't able to prove the students cheated as it happened. So he looked closely at the test results to find the guilty students.
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Bayes’ theorem explained with LEGO bricks
Bayes' theorem is covered in introduction to statistics and probability courses, but I think a lot of people starting out don't understand it conceptually. They see a formula that you plug numbers into. Here's an example using LEGO bricks that clarifies the confusion, hopefully.

White House appoints first US Chief Data Scientist
Did you hear the news? The White House officially appointed DJ Patil as the federal government's first ever Chief Data Scientist. Awesome.
Here's Patil, with an introduction by President Barack Obama, on what's in store and a recruitment note for the US Digital Services.
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A photo of everything touched, for 11 years
Artist Alberto Frigo took a picture of every object he used with his right hand for the past 11 years. Averaging 76 photos per day, the project — Images of the artifact used by the main hand — is lowtech, with just a small, handheld camera. No internet connection, tagging, or documentation. Just a stream of photos.
Frigo aims to do this until age 60, so he has only 25 more years to go. Yep.

Top 1% earners versus bottom 90%
Quoctrung Bui for Planet Money plotted average income for the top one percent of earners against the average income of the bottom 90%, from 1920 to 2012. Through the 1970s, the animation shows rising income for the bottom and relatively static for the top and then vice versa after that.
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Making an Interactive Map with Category Filters
Let readers focus on the regions they care about to make their own comparisons and conclusions.
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Impact of vaccines throughout history
Not that anyone who does not vaccinate their kids cares, but Tynan DeBold and Dov Friedman for the Wall Street Journal show the change in number of cases for various diseases after a vaccination is introduced.
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Loading Data and Basic Formatting in R
Oftentimes, the bulk of the work that goes into a visualization isn't visual at all. That is, the drawing of shapes and colors can be relatively quick, and you might spend most of your time getting the data in the format that you need (or just getting data in general).
This can be especially frustrating when you have your data, you know what you want to make, but you're stuck in the middle. This tutorial covers the basics of getting your data into R so that you can move on to more interesting things.
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Automated Tinder and the Eigenface
Because using Tinder takes up oh so much time swiping, swiping, and swiping, Justin Long made a bot that swipes and starts conversations for him. Step 1: Use his existing preferences to create two Eigenfaces, commonly used in face recognition, that represent a yes and a no. Step 2: Automate everything else with the Tinder API.
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