• Exponential water tank

    March 31, 2014  |  Infographics

    Exponential water tank

    Hibai Unzueta, based on a paper by Albert Bartlett, demonstrates exponential growth with a simple animation. It depicts a man standing in a tank with finite capacity and water rising slowly, but at an exponential rate.

    Our brains are wired to predict future behaviour based on past behaviour (see here). But what happens when something growths exponentially? For a long time, the numbers are so little in relation to the scale that we hardly see the changes. But even at moderate growth rates exponential functions reach a point where the numbers grow too fast. Once we confirm that our predictions about the future have failed, very little time to react may be left.

    All looks safe at first, because the water rises so slowly, but it seems to rise all of a sudden. Oh, the suspense. What will happen to cartoon pixel man?

  • Beer me, Minnesota

    March 14, 2014  |  Infographics

    Beer me Minnesota

    The Star Tribune has a fun interactive that recommends Minnesota brews, based on five key beer characteristics. Use sliders to enter your preference of bitterness, aroma, etc and the results come in radar graph form.

    Whether you're a creature of habit or always up for something new, this tool will help you get to know what’s brewing in Minnesota. We’ve catalogued more than 100 beers from 36 Minnesota breweries and sorted them by five characteristics.

    I fully expect someone to expand this to the rest of the world.

  • Surviving on minimum wage

    February 17, 2014  |  Infographics

    Surviving on minimum wage

    As most of us know, it's not easy getting by on minimum wage, and in some places it's not possible. The New York Times provides a calculator to see how challenging it can be.

    A simple visual on the right shows dollars made per year, one box per dollar colored green initially and then red to signal debt. It's a good way to make the numbers more relatable. Select a state, enter expenses, and watch dollars disappear, and most likely you'll end up in the red early.

  • Olympic event explainer videos

    February 10, 2014  |  Infographics

    Olympics coverage by NYT

    Winter Olympic events are filled with subtleties that if you know about them, can help you appreciate athletes' skills and the sports a bit more. The New York Times published three explainer videos to help you do just that. So far, there's one on slopestyle, which has roots in the Winter X Games, another on the luge, which is freakin' dangerous, and the halfpipe, from Shaun White's perspective. The features are a nice combination of video, graphics, and narrative.

    If you're watching the Olympics, do yourself a favor and bookmark NYT Olympic coverage.

  • Olympic events placed in New York for scale

    February 5, 2014  |  Infographics

    Bryant park ski jump

    The New York Times published a fun piece that places Winter Olympic events in the city. Events include the luge in Times Square, ski jump in Bryant Park, and speed skating down Broadway.

    The Winter Olympics sometimes gets flack for being the thing in between the more popular Summer Olympics, but I think it has a lot to do with scale and perception of the events. People know how fast they run, but don't always get how steep the mountains are. I used to go downhill skiing, and from a distance the hills didn't look especially daunting, but when I stood at the top of the black diamond, it looked pretty scary.

  • History through the president’s words

    January 30, 2014  |  Infographics

    History through the Presidents Words

    The Washington Post visualized the use of specific words throughout the years during State of the Union addresses.

    Since 1900, there have been 116 State of the Union addresses, given by 20 presidents, with some presidents giving two addresses a year. Studying their choice of words, over time, provides glimpses of change in American politics—"communism" fades, "terrorism" increases—and evidence that some things never change ("America" comes up steadily, of course. As does "I.").

    For some reason the interactive won't load for me now (It did yesterday.), but there's also a PDF version that you can download. Although the PDF only goes back to 1989 Bush, so try for the interactive version first. It was an interesting one. Update: Works again.

    Can you believe it? We made it through an entire SOTU without a single word cloud. Come to think of it, I can't even remember the last time I saw one. I almost feel cheated.

  • State gun laws since Newtown

    December 12, 2013  |  Infographics

    Gun laws by NYT

    The New York Times explored state gun bills since Newtown.

    In the 12 months since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., almost every state has enacted at least one new gun law. Nearly two-thirds of the new laws ease restrictions and expand the rights of gun owners. Most of those bills were approved in states controlled by Republicans. Those who support stricter regulations won some victories — mostly in states where the legislature and governorship are controlled by Democrats — to increase restrictions on gun use and ownership.

    Each chart shows the timeline of a bill and rounds of legislation. A law is signed when the line reaches the top, where green represents looser gun restrictions and orange represents tighter.

  • Rocky movie breakdown

    December 9, 2013  |  Infographics

    Rocky morphology

    Fathom Information Design watched all six Rocky movies, classified segments into dialogue, training, montages, pre-fight, fight, and credits, and then visualized it. Rocky Morphology is the result.

    It's interesting to see the battle between dialogue, montage and fighting throughout each film. Dialogue beats out training and fighting in the first two Rocky films, but fighting and montage occupy the most time in Rocky III and Rocky IV. Rocky V favors dialogue over fighting — undisputedly slowing its pace next to the previous films. In the final round, Rocky sticks with dialogue over fighting but — "it ain't over 'till it's over" — Rocky delivers one last montage and fight scene to close out the series and complete the Rocky Morphology.

    Needs more montage. Maybe we'll get it in Grudge Match, because as we all know, that has instant classic written all over it.

  • Artist temperaments

    December 6, 2013  |  Infographics

    Artist temperaments

    Just for kicks, Jimmy Chen plotted artists on a subjective arrogance-vs-genius scale. Above is the one for singers.

  • Bourbon family tree

    November 15, 2013  |  Infographics

    Bourbon family tree

    Colin Spoelman for GQ illustrated an educated guess of the bourbon family tree.

    This chart shows the major distilleries operating in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana, grouped horizontally by corporate owner, then subdivided by distillery. Each tree shows the type of whiskey made, and the various expressions of each style of whiskey or mash bill, in the case of bourbons. For instance, Basil Hayden's is a longer-aged version of Old Grand-Dad, and both are made at the Jim Beam Distillery.

    This is important.

  • Why traffic waves and congestion happen

    November 14, 2013  |  Infographics

    Why-traffic-waves-happen

    You're on the freeway, traffic is moving along, and for no apparent reason everyone slows down. And eventually, for no apparent reason, traffic starts back up again. What the what? Lewis Lehe and Matthew Green explain why these waves occur with a couple of interactives.

    The simplest explanation for why traffic waves happen is that drivers have relatively slow reaction times: if the car in front of you suddenly slows down, it’ll likely take you a second or so to hit the brakes. The slower your reaction time, the harder you have to brake to compensate and keep a safe distance. The same goes for the car behind you, which has to brake even harder than you did in order to slow down faster. And so on down the road, in a domino-like effect.

    Hit the brakes in the simulation, and you'll see what happens. Naturally this is a simplified version of traffic conditions and assumes some things about how people drive and react, but you'll get the idea.

    It might remind you of this real world experiment a few years ago.

  • The safest time to drive

    November 8, 2013  |  Infographics

    Safest day to drive

    As we've seen, there are more fatal car crashes during the weekend and summer months, which is some time between May and September in the United States. The Guardian took a different approach to look at road fatalities in Australia.

    The bottom section is your standard bar charts that show an average, but on top are mini-simulations that represent the averages. Small cars move in the background and squares appear on top to at different volumes. I originally thought the cars actually collided with each square, but it looks like they're independent of each other. Nevertheless, an interesting approach.

  • Quarterback streaks

    September 30, 2013  |  Infographics

    Quarterback streaks

    Mike Bostock, Shan Carter, and Kevin Quealy for The New York Times explore quarterback streaks in the National Football League since 1970. The longest streak for each team is highlighted yellow, and you can search for your favorite players either by mousing over streaks or via the dropdown/search menu.

    Be sure to also check out the chart iterations of the interactive. First, a couple of bar graphs in R for a visual summary, and then 17 sketches later, out comes the finished product.

    I'm surprised that many of the longest streaks took place in the 1970s and 1980s. You'd think with today's rules, there'd be more in the latter half of the timespan. Then again, trades and quarterback rotations aren't the same as they were back then either.

  • Science fiction starships, an extensive size comparison

    September 27, 2013  |  Infographics

    Spaceships, size comparison

    A while back we saw a size comparison of random spaceships. That one pales in comparison to this extensive version by Dirk Loechel. It's got ships from Star Wars, Star Trek, EVE, Babylon 5, Starship Troopers, Titan A.E., and oh so much more.

    Be sure to see the full-sized version here. [via Kotaku]

  • Planet and moon resizer

    September 24, 2013  |  Infographics

    Moon resizing

    It can be difficult to imagine the scale of planets and moons, because (1) they're really big and (2) they're far away. From where we are, the stars look pretty small, but in reality, they shiny objects might be several times larger than our own planet. In this straightforward interactive, Brian Lukis shows how planet and moon sizes compare. Simply select between the apparent view and the absolute to see how perspective seemingly changes size.

  • Learn to make animated information graphics

    August 22, 2013  |  Infographics

    Graham Roberts, a graphics and multimedia editor at The New York Times, is teaching an online class on how to make animated information graphics and design storyboards. It's a chance to learn from one of the best. Plus, the first 30 people who use the code "YAUDATA" get 50 percent off, which is a steal.

  • Extensive timelines of slang for genitalia

    August 16, 2013  |  Infographics

    Euphemisms

    The title says it all. Jonathon Green, a slang lexicographer, has two new timelines. The first is an interactive timeline that shows slang for male genitalia going all the way back to the 1300s up to present. Colors and shapes represent different parts.
    Continue Reading

  • A second on the Internet

    August 9, 2013  |  Infographics

    Every second online

    In a straightforward view of online activity, Designly shows the approximate number of tweets, likes, votes, and so forth that happen in one second. There's a lot of stuff going on, as you might guess. The tickers for each activity are a nice touch.

  • Size comparison of everything

    August 8, 2013  |  Infographics

    Size comparison of everything

    If you're like me, you often wonder how big the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is relative to Godzilla or how Godzilla compares to King Kong. Wonder no more. Sixteen-year-old deviantART user Lexinator117 compared the size of everything. The giant graphic is a mix of fictional characters and objects with a handful of real-life, like the Statue of Liberty and the Mayflower.

  • Internet critique as infographic music video

    July 31, 2013  |  Infographics

    I'm not entirely sure how to interpret this music video from Franz Ferdinand, but I'm taking it as a critique on internet culture, with less-than-meaningful charts playing a part. There are lots of colors, geometric shapes, and pictograms flying around the band, with no information attached. I guess that's about right. [Thanks, @augustjoki]

Unless otherwise noted, graphics and words by me are licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC. Contact original authors for everything else.