Using a century of data, we watch the shift of marital status in the United States.
Using the thermal signature, NASA provides a detailed view of the break:
The false-color image was captured by Landsat’s Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS). It shows the relative warmth or coolness of the landscape. Orange indicates where the surface is the warmest, most notably the mélange between the new berg and the ice shelf. Light blues and whites are the coldest areas, including the ice shelf and the iceberg.
It’s like something out of a movie.
This explainer video by Vox on the oil patterns on bowling lanes was oddly fascinating. The varying degrees of oil can change a professional bowler’s strategy as a tournament progresses.
I kind of want to be a professional bowler now. This whole data thing is probably a fad anyways.
Mimi Onuoha on the importance of paying close attention to the data collection process before making data-informed decisions:
The conceptual, practical, and ethical issues surrounding “big data” and data in general begin at the very moment of data collection. Particularly when the data concern people, not enough attention is paid to the realities entangled within that significant moment and spreading out from it.
I try to do some disentangling here, through five theses around data collection — points that are worth remembering, communicating, thinking about, dwelling on, and keeping in mind, if you have anything to do with data on a daily basis (read: all of us) and want to do data responsibly.
Garbage in, garbage out, as they say.
A giant iceberg broke off from Antartica. Like, really big. Quartz collected the comparisons made in various countries to make the numbers more relatable to readers.
As news traveled around the world that one of the largest icebergs ever observed had finally broken off from Antarctica, reporters were faced with a question of scale. Few among us can visualize just how large a 2,200 square-mile (5,698 square-kilometer) hunk of ice really is, so they had to come up with a reference their readers might recognize.
In the United States, the iceberg was the size of Delaware. In Spain, it was 10 Madrids. In India, it was one and a half times the size of Goa. Big.
Although, being from the U.S., I have to admit “the size of Delaware” still doesn’t do much for me. A quick look at Google Maps… it takes about two hours to drive the full length of the state. Okay, I think I got it.
Update: You can also overlay the iceberg on a map in an area of your choosing using Xaquín’s interactive.
The American Time Use Survey asks people what they do during the day. Activities are split into categories. One of those is sports and leisure, which is further broken down into more specific things like biking and basketball. Henrik Lindberg charted the relative peak times for these subcategories using overlaid area charts.
Lindberg made it in R, and you can grab the data and code here.
The continental United States gets a total solar eclipse on August 21, so Denise Lu for The Washington Post mapped out every total solar eclipse that will happen in your lifetime. Enter the year you were born and see the paths on the globe.
As you probably know, Twitter (and all social media) collects data about you and infers your likes, dislikes, wants, dreams, hopes, etc. Sam Lavigne set up a scraper to find out all the user segments, ranging from “buyers of cheese” to “households with people who have recently moved into a new home.” It can get pretty detailed. Lavigne then used this data to automatically generate an infinite ad campaign, on what else, Twitter.
Using this list I wrote a program, “The Infinite Campaign”, that automatically generates and posts an infinite series of video ad campaigns. The script randomly selects two behavior categories and one interest category from the ad creation page. It rephrases the descriptions of the categories, putting the statements in the second person. The Infinite Campaign then overlays those statements on top of automatically selected stock footage. Finally, it logs me in to Twitter, uploads the video, and auto-generates a new ad campaign, targeting the same behavior and interest categories used to generate the video.
The data is available for download, which includes the size of user segment and the data brokers involved.
By the way, you can opt out of some of the tracking in the privacy section of your Twitter settings. Obviously that doesn’t stop others from tracking you, but at least it’s something.
Chris Wilson for Time has a fun piece up that tests how well you can draw the states. The quiz asks you to draw the states, and you get a grade for each sketch. Your sketched states are then placed geographically on a map so you can see how horrible you are.
Researchers are building models to simulate the Earth’s core. From CNRS News:
Take a journey to the center of the Earth—as far as its outer core, at least—and you’ll find a swirling mass of metal, mainly iron, kept in liquid form by the region’s intense heat. Temperature and pressure variations across this layer cause the melted metal to rise in hotter zones and to sink in cooler ones—convection movements that generate electric currents through the metal, and in turn, magnetic fields. Pair these convective motions with the Earth’s rotation on its axis and you have a large-scale dynamo effect: the spinning aligns the convective motions which now cooperate to produce one big magnetic field, ultimately creating the shield that blocks out solar wind.
I’m still not entirely sure what I’m looking at, but I like it.
I always enjoy the data sketches that Mona Chalabi posts on Instagram. She takes typically everyday data and sketches them or uses props to communicate the actual meaning. Check them out if you aren’t familiar. In her most recent sketch, Chalabi used fruit to compare an empty bladder and stomach to a full bladder and stomach.
The administration tweeted a chart that shows the Senate Republican health care bill increases Medicaid funding. The line moves up, so it must be true, right? Well, it depends on what you compare to. The original simply compares over time — against the past. Vox compared it against what spending would be under current law.
Opting for the force-directed clusters route, Catherine Hanrahan and Simon Elvery for ABC News visualized Australian demographics at the scale of 100 people. Each dot is a person, and as you scroll, you get different breakdowns. It’s percentages, but treating each percentage point as a person makes it more relatable.
See also: Demographics in a world of 100.
During the election last year, The New York Times ran an uncertainty dial to show where the vote was swaying. Not everyone appreciated it. Many people hate it. The Outline disliked it enough to troll with an uncertainty dial of their own.
Personally, I like the dial, but I think it does require a certain level of statistical knowledge to not lose your marbles watching it.
The Census Bureau released estimates for demographic breakdowns for each county — in 2060. With these estimates as the baseline, Niraj Chokshi and Quoctrung Bui for The Upshot compared it against current population estimates. The result is a map of counties most resembling the past, present, and future.
Clark County, which occupies that corner of Nevada, is the county that most looks like the United States of 2060 in terms of race, Hispanic ethnicity, age and gender, according to new data from the Census Bureau. It was followed by Contra Costa and Solano Counties in California’s Bay Area.
Kind of looks like the inverse of white percentages.
Movies would have you believe that birth is random and unpredictable. (And if you haven’t been part of the birth process, you’d be surprised by how slow it actually is.) While uncertainty is always in play, there’s a certain cycle to it all. Zan Armstrong and Nadieh Bremer for Scientific American, using 2014 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, examined the regularity and the reasons for the spikes.
I like the greater/lesser than average split for contrast. The circle time series layout doesn’t always fit the data, but in this case the metaphor fits the cyclical aspect.
We all get a lot of emails, and there’s a large subset of them that almost instantly end up in the archive or the trash bin. In the past year, this subset seems to have really grown for me. They tend to follow a similar pattern to “submit infographic” probably 90 percent of the time. At this point, the patterns seem so regular that I can archive without ever opening the email. Here’s my deletion process.