Using both satellite images and ground surveys, The New York Times maps the damage due to the fires in Santa Rosa. Crazy. I live a couple of hours away from the area and I still could smell the smoke.
See also Nicolette Hayes’ more personal map.
George Mauer highlights how a hacker might access other people’s data by putting an equal sign in a CSV file, so that an import to Microsoft or Google Sheets runs a value as a formula, even if it’s quoted as a string.
The attacker starts the cell with their trusty = symbol prefix and then points IMPORTXML to a server they control, appending as a querystring of spreadsheet data. Now they can open up their server log and bam! Data that isn’t theirs. Try it yourself with a Requestb.in.
The ultra sinister thing here? No warnings, no popups, no reason to think that anything is amiss. The attacker just enters a similarly formatted time/issue/whatever entry, eventually an administrator attempts to view a CSV export and all that limited-access data is immediately, and queitly sent away.
Three weeks in, much of Puerto Rico is still without power. Denise Lu and Chris Alcantara for The Washington Post map the lights at night, based on satellite composite data from NASA.
With more than 80 percent of the island’s 3.4 million people still without power, residents have relied on portable generators as workers across the island try to repair the damaged electrical grid.
In the days after Maria, many residents struggled to access gasoline, food, water, money and a cellphone signal to contact family members.
Frequency trails, or currently better known as joyplots, is a visualization method to show multiple distributions at once. Taken individually, each distribution is shown as a density curve, and they overlap each other for a three-dimensional effect. Luis Carli provides an interactive explainer for the method.
I haven’t been able to put my finger on it, but I think there’s something about the overlapping that sort of serves as a visual signal to compare. It seems more direct than small multiples or non-overlapping densities? Or, are people just appreciating the novelty for now?
Gerrymandering doesn’t sound like an especially sexy topic, but it’s an important one to pay attention to. District lines are drawn in roundabout ways sometimes to favor a party. This used to be a manual process, but math and computing has made it much easier to sway these days. Olivia Walch explains how math can be used to swing line drawing to a more equal process.
See also the gerrymandering game for another point of view.
Many stories don’t follow a linear format. There are flashbacks, or multiple timelines run simultaneously. Story Curves is a research project that tries to visualize the back and forth.
Signs asked 150 people to draw famous logos — Apple, Starbucks, Burger King, etc. — from memory, and they compiled the results. It’s a relatively small sample size and drawing accuracy was judged subjectively, so I’d put this more in the fun category than an actual study, but I like the spectrums.
The Teachable Machine from Støj, Use All Five, and Google is a fun experiment that lets you “teach” your computer. Your webcam is used as an input device, and using deeplearn.js, you can make three classifications that change the output. Use different hand gestures, faces, or movements to signal differences, and you can see probabilities change in real-time.
It’s hard to believe this stuff runs so smoothly in the browser now. I remember learning this back in college. The training and usage in some heavy software package was laborious.
I didn’t know who LaVar Ball was, and suddenly, it was non-stop sports news about the Ball family. If you’re unfamiliar, LaVar Ball is the father of a now professional basketball player. Before his son was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, Ball garnered attention for saying trollish things like he could’ve beat Michael Jordan one-on-one in his heyday.
Anthony Olivieri for ESPN outlines the rise of the loud talker using a simple tweet count and line chart as the backdrop.
Triangulate, a fun tool made by Michael Freeman, lets you upload a picture and it randomly assigns points to output something that looks pixelated but with triangles. Give it a try.
BuzzFeed describes how an article on Daily Mail — that falsely reported claims and data about climate change — went viral. Seven months since publishing, the British site finally admitted they were wrong, long after they got all their clickbait traffic I am sure.
This doesn’t surprise me, as I had poor experiences with Daily Mail, but it does surprise me that such a large site is allowed to keep chugging along as if they’ve done nothing wrong.
The New York Times used sonification along with a dot plot to demonstrate the speed of gunfire in Las Vegas. They compared it to the shooting in Orlando and an automatic weapon.
It is possible that the Las Vegas gunman modified his gun to fire faster. This could include using a trigger crank, a mechanical add-on that is rotated like a music box handle and hits the trigger multiple times per second. Or, he may have had a bump fire stock, which uses the recoil of the rifle to fire quicker. Neither device is regulated by the National Firearms Act.
Big numbers are too abstract in our minds to fully understand the scale of things. So, to show the full gravity of the hundreds of thousands of Muslims fleeing Myanmar’s Rakhine state, Reuters starts with the individuals and builds your intuition towards the true scale.
Grid maps are a useful way to show state-level data, as they give equal visual weight to each state and maintain a bit of geographic location for quicker referencing. Each news organization varies the grid locations ever so slightly. Jane Pong collected a number of them to show the differences in this fun little interactive.
I’ve been teaching my three-year-old son how to ride his bike on two wheels. When I first took off the training wheels, he quickly lost his balance and felt discouraged. He thought he would be able to ride far and fast right away. He felt stuck, and gaining the skill to ride seemed out of reach.
I told him it was okay to fall. I used to fall all of the time, and sometimes I still do.
I said, “Falling is learning.”
He asked incredulously, “You fall?”
“Yep. It’s normal. That’s how you learn.”
“Okay.” He hopped back on his bike with his eyes on the path. “I’m going to try again.”
He can ride now. He rides farther every time we take the bike out, and I’m starting to lose my breath running alongside. He still falls, but every time he hops up and reassures me, “It’s okay. Falling is learning.”
This is how I approach programming for visualization.
I’m not great with code. I don’t know the best way to do everything. I just try to get things to work the best I can. I debug a lot. Especially in the beginning, when learning any new language, package, or framework, nothing seems to work, but eventually it does.
Visualization beginners get stuck here. Is this the right language? Is there a better way to do this? The key is to fight off these questions in your head early on. The great thing about visualization is that you get instant, visual feedback and your wonderments will answer themselves.
If the chart is wrong, then yeah, there probably is a better way to make it. Debug. Adjust. No big deal. You learn to avoid the mistake next time.
You will fall a lot, especially in the beginning. But that is okay. That means you’re learning.
Have you seen this yet? Illustrator Alexander Perrin experimented with bringing a hand-drawn quality to an interactive medium. It’s a breath of fresh air called Short Trip.
(And brb, I need to take a walk outside.)
With the release of the Republican proposed tax plan, Reuben Fischer-Baum and Kevin Schaul look at where deductions and tax credits are currently. Enter your adjusted gross income or click and drag a slider and the areas shift in the chart to show the most beneficial, given the income.
Naturally, I now await to see how this contrasts with the plan.