Second Day at The Times

Posted to The Times  |  Nathan Yau

Ok, so I said I would update after my first day, but I got home around 8p, and was just too tired to do anything. I forgot what it’s like to continuously work for 8 hours a day. It’s 9:30p right now, and honestly, I’m ready to pass out.

My first two days have been interesting, and it’s very clear that I have a lot to learn, in terms of visualizing graphics. I have yet to create an actual graphic. Rather I’ve been sifting through Iraq data, looking for stuff that’s interesting, and then putting it in a spreadsheet. I was also given an article to read that could possibly benefit from a graphic, but it turns out that the writer already got some amazing photos and a small map, so that was a no-go.

I think my strength is R, so I’m going to try to improve (um, learn) mapping in R. I think if I can do that, I will be of much more help. I was asked today if I could do maps, but unfortunately, I’ve only done very basic things, and the task was time-sensitive. Sigh.

Am I rambling? I feel like I’m rambling. I need to sleep. But I need to learn R. Alright then.

On a completely random note, I was able to see Matthew Carter, a master font designer, who has designed fonts like Georgia and Verdana, speak today. I never really put much thought into type faces, but wow, there’s a whole lot that goes into it. A lot of subtleties that involve making more text fit on a page without cluttering or techniques to make text easier to read on a newspaper or from a magazine.

Oh yeah, I also saw my idols — the IBM Visual Communications lab. I didn’t get a chance to talk to them though, but they looked like a friendly bunch.

Favorites

Reviving the Statistical Atlas of the United States with New Data

Due to budget cuts, there is no plan for an updated atlas. So I recreated the original 1870 Atlas using today’s publicly available data.

Life expectancy changes

The data goes back to 1960 and up to the most current estimates for 2009. Each line represents a country.

A Day in the Life of Americans

I wanted to see how daily patterns emerge at the individual level and how a person’s entire day plays out. So I simulated 1,000 of them.

Watching the growth of Walmart – now with 100% more Sam’s Club

The ever so popular Walmart growth map gets an update, and yes, it still looks like a wildfire. Sam’s Club follows soon after, although not nearly as vigorously.