14 Apr 2015

Visualizing the Gender Gap

Ready for an interactive chart party? Australian Ri Liu created “Close the Gap,” which mined United Nations’ data from the Human Development report. [Note: How sci-fi-alien-sounding is that report title?! Intergalactic incubators.] You can vary data on global gender gaps (by country) in categories such as labor force participation, secondary education, income level

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banking explained screenshot
27 Mar 2015

Banking Explained

Regular visitors may recall a post back in December about creative agency Kurzgesagt’s video series breaking down all sorts of contemporary issues into wonderful animated shorts. One of their recents deconstructs the development of contemporary big banks and all of the complexities they’re exploiting for profit. If you still aren’t sure

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english anglo-saxon map
15 Mar 2015

Visualizing the Development of the English Language

There’s a cool post over on Vox about 25 maps that explain the development of the English Language. It’s an interesting peek into modern English (including variations for Canada, the U.S. and others). One of the highlights of the curated collection of maps, illustrations and visualizations is this Indo-European linguistic family

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06 Mar 2015

Hero Salute: Dr. Quantum

One form of information translation that goes unheralded is the massive, semi-invisible industry of educational videos for schools. They could be painful, true, but were also reasonably effective at imparting information for all the visual learners out there. Here’s a video, Dr. Quantum, that does a pretty good job of explaining

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13 Feb 2015

The State of Science Journalism

There was a great piece on Fishbowl DC about the lack of science journalism in America and how it affected public policy. This followed directly on the heels of Congressional votes on whether climate change was real and whether it was caused by humans or not — so needless to say,

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supply and demand
23 Jan 2015

How OPEC Sets Global Oil Prices

You might be among the many Americans rejoicing at the fairly dramatic drop in prices at the pump during the past few weeks. I didn’t think I’d ever see gasoline below $2/gal. but low and behold, I saw $1.79 at a gas station in the suburbs of Denver. If you’re also

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lines showing plane flight patterns
16 Jan 2015

The Invisible Infrastructure of Skyways

Sometimes it’s a fine line between data visualization and a far out video for mid-90s trance anthems (ala Robert Miles), but this is pretty cool. The organization NATS (North Atlantic Skies) released this animation showing the volume of flight traffic over the Eastern US, North Atlantic and Western Europe. Turns out

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parable of polygons 1
10 Jan 2015

Understanding Segregation

This is certainly among the most intriguing translations of a social issue I’ve seen in recent memory. Vi Hart and Nicky Case created the “Parable of the Polygon,” which shows how very minor decisions stemming from an individual’s desire to be among similar people leads to de facto forms of segregation. They do

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Visualization of state-to-state migration
30 Dec 2014

Visualization vs. Translation

It’s the end of the year, which means the world is filled with “End of Year” lists rounding up the top 5s, 10s and so on of every possible interest. While lists of the top 10 albums of the year have been a staple, this year I stumbled across Flowing

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pbs miami backdrop
27 Dec 2014

An Advanced Degree in Fighting Stupid

The University of Miami has created a multi-disciplinary MFA combining Journalism, Data Visualization and Mapping. It sounds like it’ll churn out amazing soldiers ready to fight the War on Stupid. According to professor Alberto Cairo: In the three years that I’ve been a professor of data visualization and infographics at

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19 Dec 2014

A Visualization of Miles Davis’ Career

Here’s an awesome poster designed by Fathom that visualizes Davis’ career in the form of a record. Follow the grooves and you’ll discover all his records plus the 500+ other musicians he worked with over the course of 400+ recording sessions.   The other interesting point, which is made a few

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Illustrations of torture techniques
14 Dec 2014

An Illustrated A to Z of Torture

Following the Senate’s release of the report on torture, Vice released a handy illustrated guide to the tactics. It’s interesting that the illustrations provide some psychological distance from the subject (as opposed to actual photos or lengthy text-based description), while arranging it alphabetically invokes children’s books (juxtaposition) and simultaneously highlights

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glowing computer screen
12 Dec 2014

Americans Feel Better Informed Thanks to the Internet

Pew Research just released some new data about Americans’ sentiments toward the internet, and its role as information conduit. 87% of adult internet users feel that the internet helps them learn new things, rather than making them feel overloaded with information. That is higher than I would’ve guessed, but the

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Rolling Stone article the 9 billion dollar witness
06 Dec 2014

Translate This: “The $9 Billion Witness”

While catching up on some reading during Thanksgiving weekend, I stumbled across this lengthy gem by Matt Taibbi, which details the story of a whistleblower at JP Morgan/Chase. What unfolds confirms most people’s worst suspicions about the greed and willful malevolence that lead to the economic catastrophe of 2007-08 and

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25 Nov 2014

“The food marketers have won.”

That’s the chilling subhead on a recent FastCo article covering research on Americans’ perceptions and understanding of organic foods in the marketplace.       If there was ever a need for a great piece of Stupid-fighting content, this would be a great opportunity to help people understand the current state of

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20 Nov 2014

Politically Challenged

  Perhaps the most troubling sign of Stupid’s growing influence… “Politically Challenged — Texas Tech Edition,” in which students interview other students, asking difficult questions such as “Who won the Civil War?” with terrifying results. Get the whole story via NPR. Or you can watch in disbelief for yourself below:

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15 Nov 2014

Porn Stars Explain Net Neutrality

  Turns out we’ve all been overthinking net neutrality. The best way to have people connect with that particular issue is to have porn stars explain it. Well played, Funny or Die. It’s not about the porn stars though, it’s about properly contextualizing the issue, generating empathy with perhaps our diverse

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14 Nov 2014

Explaining or Distracting?

Campaign seasons have become fertile ground for explainer videos and their ilk. The forces of good (well-intentioned media) and the forces of evil (ill-intentioned media, moneyed interests, “social welfare” groups, and so on) each roll out videos and animations and infographics trying to inform or sway the public. 2014’s race

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03 Nov 2014

Political Bias and Media Habits

If the factions in the American political system seem like they’re having two completely separate conversations, it’s because they are. Pew Research digs into the media habits of America’s two least-popular-yet-most-influential political parties’ faithful followers, and what it finds might surprise you — if you’re easily surprised. Those on the

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