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October 28, 2009

Chocolate Cream Pie

Oh how I love pie! They are delectable, delightful and delicious. Better yet, they're interactive; who can't use an interactive pie? Click on the image. I promise, you'll love it.

Some things I like (wink, wink):
  1. The colors get darker the farther out from the radius you go. I guess you could say they radiate.
  2. The pie doesn't start at the zero degree mark for easier ranking/comparisons.
  3. The level of precision...people must really care about the 1/10,000th of a percent of an award.
  4. What takes the cake, I mean pie, is the interactivity. You have to try it out; it's worth the giggle.

Don't fret. There's more pie on the buffet:

Nobel Peace Prize Winners by Gender (I like how this chart sort of "swirls" in when the page loads...fancy stuff!)

Nobel Prize Winners in Physics by Gender (The 1.0695% of women who won are probably more upset about this pie chart than any apparent sexism.)

I will give ChartsBin some credit though. Their interactive maps are quite good. They're very similar to the maps on Google Analytics.

October 18, 2009

World's Top 100 Universities

1 comment
A very well done chart of the top 100 universities in the world. This chart is clean, clear and concise.

Source: Matito

October 11, 2009

A Perfect Summary

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Jessica Hagy has possibly the best and simplest explanation of when information is most effective.

All-Criminal NFL Offensive Lineup

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I ran across this absolutely hilarious visualization on the Guardian Flickr group.

I love how the players have on the stripes. The title is priceless: "Talented, Dangerous and Idiotic."

October 9, 2009

Afghanistan Troop Deployments

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My favorite bubble man uploaded another doozy. This time he's displaying troop deployments to Afghanistan.

The first message that the bubbles are trying to communicate is simply the number of troops deployed.

I can see why he has the bubbles across the top; they're in a neat ascending order, but then the US is show below all of the other countries? Why aren't they all arranged together?

Also, what is the purpose of having all of the other types of "troops" on the chart? Finally, there is one pretty big issue with the data; where are all of the other countries that have sent troops?

Bubbles are a poor method of showing relative size. A simple bar chart works much better. Unlike the author, I have included "all other" countries.

The second message, which I cannot make heads or tails of, is the number of troops per million of the population. What is the purpose of this data and what insight can you possibly gain from it?

When I first saw this chart, I immediately tried to connect the bubbles at the top to the bubbles at the bottom, but it's impossible.

The title of the second chart is "Which countries have sent the most troops?" Ok, one more time, how could anyone possibly answer that question based on the troops per million of the population?

When I saw the question, I immediately though of a bar chart showing the percent of the total troops that each country has sent. I created this visualization below and added color to emphasize those countries that have more skin in the game.

From my visualization, you can see that the US has sent about 47% of the troops. In the bubble chart, I see the number 98. Which one do you think answers the question more appropriately?

If you really want to get sick, check out the rest of the author's bubble charts on this topic. I don't get the fascination with the bubbles...

* Data courtesy of The Guardian DataBlog

October 8, 2009

Auto Sales & Unemployment

Before you judge my political views, let me first say that I think ALL politicians are frauds and that few of them represent anyone except the special interest groups that support their campaigns.

I received the following message from Congressman Tom Price on Monday (10/5/09): "Last week we received more bad news in the job market. 263,000 jobs were lost during the month of September and the unemployment rate is now at 9.8%. The verdict is in and the economic policies of President Obama and Democrats in Congress have become a massive failure."

I understand Congressman Price's position, but it bothers me that he has taken the lead of talk show hosts to use scare tactics to spread his message. I would, for once, like to hear his opinion. His entire rant can be found here.

In addition, my friend Dan Murray posted a link to a Wall Street Journal article on his Facebook page that essentially said the "Cash For Clunkers" program failed.

I wanted to see if I could draw any sort of correlation, or at least possibly provide the specific details.

Here is my visualization:

First, to Congressman Price's accusations. The rise in unemployment started around January 2007. Obviously President Obama was not yet in office. So what happened that could have sparked the sudden rise? This is precisely when President Bush announced the surge in troops for the Iraq War during his State of the Union address. I can't say that was the exact cause, but I do find the timing neatly coincidental.

Now, onto the WSJ's claims that Cash for Clunkers failed to help the economy. Yes, there was a huge decline in new car sales in September, but this is not unprecedented if you look at historical sales.

Back in October 2001, the "0% interest" programs were introduced by the Big 3. This program was a HUGE boost to sales (35% over prior month), but it resulted in a decline of 18% in November and 25% over the following two months.

The Big 3 introduced the "Employee Pricing" programs in July 2005. This program was another HUGE "success" (sales increased 15% over prior month and 22% over May), but it resulted in a decline of 18% in August, 20% through September, and 28% through October.

The Cash For Clunkers program (August 2009), resulted in a 4.4M units increase in sales over June or 45%. That increase has never been approached in the last 10 years. The results, however, was a decreased in sales in September of 4.9M units or 35%. If this program follows the behavior of the previous two, we should see a decrease of an additional ~7% over the next 1-2 months at which time sales should stabilize.

My take: the auto industry waited too long to offer another teaser program.

Now, I want to take a leap to connect the two (auto sales and unemployment). A significant number of people were employed by the Big 3, so when auto sales take a nose dive, you would have to expect that they would begin laying off workers, which would ultimately have a direct impact on the national unemployment rate.

Back to President Bush. I cannot directly correlate his Address to these figures, but the timing sure is suspect.

* All data courtesy of FRED.

October 7, 2009

Cell Phone Usage

1 comment
I received my cell phone bill from AT&T today and noticed that there are usage reports on the site. I typically don't look at these because I really don't care about my usage, but for some reason I decided to look at them.

Here is how AT&T presents the data:

Icky, icky! Where are the dates? I can't tell the difference between some of the bars. Why are long distance and roaming included? You'd never be able to see them anyway. Why not use a simple line graph?

Come on AT&T, get your act together. Although I suspect these were created by a developer that only knows how to use the default graphs in Excel and thought "Oh, I can make these so pretty with the 3D bar charts."

Why the big spike in September? Conference calls...boooooo!

October 5, 2009

Follow up: Evolution of the Ozone Hole

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You know, I really love it when people discuss issues and share solutions. Joe Mako and I had a great discussion on my last two posts regarding the most effective visual representation of the ozone hole over time. Joe create an OUTSTANDING representation of the data using floating bars.

Joe created this visual using Tableau. I had not seen anyone do this in Tableau before. I had thought about doing stacked bars and making the lower of the two bars white, but this is way better. Joe has also provided the Tableau Packaged Workbook. I have posted this on a Google Group that I just created.

Thanks Joe! Excellent work!

Size Evolution of the Ozone Hole

Joe Mako left a comment on my previous post critiquing the use of bubbles to represent the size evolution of the ozone hole. I agree with what Joe said: "a bar or line would have been better." The only problem with using a line is that there is not a consistent time measure (1996 throws it off...yes I know, a minor issue).

So I recreated the data with two bar charts. (1) Representing the actual values and (2) the change from the previous measure. I like (1) better. How about you?

October 4, 2009

Quick, help save the bubbles

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Someone, please help explain this to me. There is no legend to reference the colors, the data, nothing.

Why 1996 instead of 1995? What do the numbers represent? What do the colors signify? Why is the last bubble green instead of hot pink?

If the dark grey in the middle four circles represents the ozone hole and the total size of the circle is earth (which I can only assume), then I think it's a poor representation of the problem. Is the ozone layer really that huge? No, it's not.

Please someone, save me! No wait, don't save me, save the bubbles!

October 1, 2009

Pop the Afghanistan War Bubbles

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Flowing Data had a post today listing resources to find data. One of these sources was the Guardian Datablog.

The image below caught my eye. It's from a Flickr pool for the Guardian datablog.

The author's says "Latest military casualty figures in proportion to each force's troop numbers. I think this gives a clearer sense of which armies are taking the most flak."

Ok, I get the intent, but why the bubbles? Doesn't a simple bar chart provide a much simpler method for communicating the data?

Here's what I see in the data: the US provides the bulk of the forces, but loses the fewest casualties as a percentage of the total force. It's known across the world that the US military is one of the most prepared, so this shouldn't surprise anyone. I don't see any enlightening information in the author's analysis, other than simply giving us a pretty report.