Posts Tagged ‘times’

‘One of the worst graphics the New York Times have published – ever!’ (Alberto Cairo via Visual Journalism)

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

boxoffice

[Editor’s note: Are increasingly complex graphics (visual confections / data visualizations), aka chart porn & eye/brain candy, necessarily good at conveying essential information to readers? Alberto Cairo says no, see below. I have to wonder if he means just for daily minute-read journalism or for publications that have a tradition of offering readers, say, tear-out map supplements and posters they like to admire and reexamine. This might have been raised by the 2008 box office graphic from the NY Times, implementing a steamgraph, but the general question applies to all infographic professionals. We have awesome new tools and datasets, but we still need to focus on fundamentals, beyond interesting and visually appealing, to consider what as Lee Byron calls the “interplay between considerations of aesthetics and legibility.”

From Edward Tufte (p121 in Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative):

A confection is an assembly of many visual events, selected … from various Streams of Story, then brought together and juxtaposed on the still flatland of paper. By means of a multiplicity of image-events, confections illustrate an argument, present and enforce visual comparisons, combine the real and the imagined, and tell us yet another story.

Tufte actually shows a similar chart to the NYT box office example  in the same work from the cover of “Rock ‘N’ Roll is Here to Pay: The History and Politics of the Music Industry”. He says of the Rock and Roll example: “The multiple, parallel flows locate music-makers in two dimensions – linking musical parents and offspring from 1955 to 1974, and listing contemporaries for each year.”

But what fundamentals and what audience? A later NY Times graphic on How Different Groups Spend Their Day resolves part of the box office problem with an ability to focus (isolate) parts of the stream into a standard axis chart and thus read and compare quantitatively. Much less complicated, but also on a standard axis: Jackson’s Billboard Rankings Over Time. I don’t entirely buy the similar axis baseline argument as I’m a fan of graduated circle maps, but reading them is certainly not for the average reader and must be augmented with summary charting and text.

But the box office chart is more approachable (read fun and inviting) then simple charting per Why Is Her Paycheck Smaller. But I think simple axis presentation of Taking apart the federal budget is easier to read at first glance then the multi-axis Obama’s 2011 Budget Proposal: How It’s Spent, even if I use the same approach in the Washington Post’s Potus Tracker to analyze Obama’s schedule. At the core is trying to make increasingly complex datasets (2) grockable visually. Have fun figuring it out and in the meantime enjoy this XKCD comic ;)]

Republished from .

Alberto Cairo is a former professor at Chapel Hill, where he taught online graphics. Before that he was the succesful graphics director at El Mundo Online. In short: This guy knows what he is talking about, when it comes to both printed and online graphics …

Today Alberto took a critical look at the current data-visualization-trend, which got a huge boost last year, when New York Times took home a gold medal and even the ‘Best of Show’-award for a certain Box Office graphic. Regular readers of this site will remember the discussion we had last year after the awards. Click here to read it again.

Emperor’s new clothes
What Alberto is saying out in the open now, has been floating around for a while. But apparently only a few dare to say that graphics are getting too complicated – for fear of being looked upon as stupid, if they dare challenge such abstract wonders. I can’t help to think of the Emperor’s new clothes, whenever such a situation takes place.

Continue reading and view video of Alberto at

Map Art in NY Times: My Way – Abstract City (Niemann)

Friday, March 12th, 2010

[Editor’s note: This series of imaginative geographies from Christoph Niemann’s is playful and builds on the new Google Map symbolization conventions. Niemann’s work previously featured here with Coffee Art and I Lego N.Y. Thanks Trevor!]

Republished from New York Times.
March 10, 2010, 8:30 pm

See them all at New York Times . . .

by Christoph Niemann

If You Swat, Watch Out: Bees Remember Faces (NY Times)

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

[Editor's note: Besides the great headline, fascinating look at bee's spatial memory.]

Republished from the New York Times. Feb. 1, 2010.
By SINDYA N. BHANOO

A honeybee brain has a million neurons, compared with the 100 billion in a human brain. But, researchers report, bees can recognize faces, and they even do it the same way we do.

Bees and humans both use a technique called configural processing, piecing together the components of a face — eyes, ears, nose and mouth — to form a recognizable pattern, a team of researchers report in the Feb. 15 issue of The Journal of Experimental Biology.

“It’s a kind of gluing,” said Martin Giurfa, a professor of neural biology at the University de Toulouse, France, and one of the study’s authors.

It is the same ability, Dr. Giurfa said, that helps humans realize that a Chinese pagoda and a Swiss chalet are both abodes, based on their components.

“We know two vertical lines, with a hutlike top,” he said. “It’s a house.”

In their research, Dr. Giurfa and his colleagues created a display of hand-drawn images, some faces and some not.

Continue reading at the New York Times . . .

Who Supports Health Care Reform (NY Times)

Friday, January 29th, 2010

[Editor’s note: Op-Art from the New York Times showing who (which states) supports and opposes health care reform grouped by age and income. Data from 2004, so not current but still informative. Thanks Martin!]

Republished from the New York Times. Nov. 18, 2009.

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A Peek Into Netflix Queues (NY Times)

Monday, January 11th, 2010

[Editor's note: Props to Matthew and Amanda at the New York Times for this Google Maps mashup by zip code (choropleth) of common Netflix rentals in selected U.S. metros. Easy to use interface based on Flash API still allows advanced options for sorting and mouseOver of "neighborhood" zipcodes  returns movie watching profile. Far more interesting than dry census stats ;)]

Republished from the New York Times.

Examine Netflix rental patterns, neighborhood by neighborhood, in a dozen cities. Some titles with distinct patterns are Mad Men, Obsessed and Last Chance Harvey.

Interact with the original at the New York Times . . . (Screenshot below.)

nytimes_netflixmap

By Matthew Bloch, Amanda Cox, Jo Craven McGinty and Kevin Quealy/The New York Times

Industrial-Strength Carbon Footprints (NY Times)

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

carbonbycompany_nytimes

[Editor's note: Carbon dioxide emissions charted by ton, economic sector, and revenue.]

Republished from the New York Times. Dec. 28, 2009.

Emissions Disclosure as a Business Virtue

Cupping their hands near holes drilled for cable routing, workers at the Boeing Company’s four-acre data processing site near Seattle noticed this year that air used to keep the computers cool was seeping through floor openings.

Mindful of the company’s drive to slash electricity consumption by 25 percent, they tucked insulation into holes there and at five similar sites. The resulting savings are projected at $55,000, or some 685,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year.

Yet Boeing’s goal is not just to save money. The hope is to keep pace with other companies that have joined in a vast global experiment in tracking the carbon dioxide emissions generated by industry.

Boeing and other enterprises are voluntarily doing what some might fiercely resist being forced to do: submitting detailed reports on how much they emit, largely through fossil fuel consumption, to a central clearinghouse.

The information flows to the Carbon Disclosure Project, a small nonprofit organization based in London that sifts through the numbers and generates snapshots by industry sectors in different nations.

By giving enterprises a road map for measuring their emissions and pointing out how they compare with their peers, experts say, the voluntary project is persuading companies to change their energy practices well before many governments step in to regulate emissions.

Scientists estimate that industry and energy providers produce nearly 45 percent of the heat-trapping emissions that contribute to global warming. While some governments are convinced that reining in such pollution is crucial to protecting the atmosphere, a binding global pact is not on the immediate horizon, as negotiations in Copenhagen showed this month.

Until broad regulation is at hand, many investors and company executives say, voluntary reporting programs like the Carbon Disclosure Project may be the best way to leverage market forces for change.

Continue reading at the New York Times . . .

What’s Cooking on Thanksgiving (NY Times)

Friday, December 11th, 2009

[Editor’s note: This series of small choropleth interactive maps from Matthew Ericson and Amanda Cox back on Thanksgiving day show regional patterns of what Americas are eating where. One holiday down, another to go. Thanks Kristin and Martin!]

Republished from the New York Times.

As cooks turn to the Web for Thanksgiving recipes, the terms they enter into search engines can provide clues to what dishes are being cooked around the nation. On Wednesday on Allrecipes.com, “sweet potato casserole” was by far the most common search term nationwide. It was tops in 36 of the 50 states and easily outpaced the No. 2 entry, “pumpkin pie.” |Related Article »


nytimes_tnxgiving_map

Sarah Palin Map Illustration (NY Times)

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

palinnytimesillo

[Editor's note: Saw this black and white illo with the Times opinion piece yesterday and thought it smartly done.]

Republished from the New York Times.

Why We Travel: Readers’ Photos (NY Times)

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

nytimes_userphotosmapinterface

[Editor’s note: This interactive from the New York Times allows the user to filter a large set of user submitted vacation photos from around the world by country both by map and list interface. Topics like “beaches” and “road trip” focus in farther. Editor’s Picks offers quick way to highlight the “best of”. Filtering is a little slow on display of matched photos for me, but fun concept.]

Republished from the New York Times.

Browse hundreds of summer photos submitted by our readers, then start sharing your favorite photographs of Europe.

Credit: .

Interact with the original at New York Times . . .

Jackson’s Billboard Rankings Over Time (NY Times)

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

[Editor's note: Like him or not, Michael Jackson had 30 years of sustained hits, comparing well statistically with other pop music legends as this interactive from the New York Times shows.]

Republished from the New York Times. June 25, 2009.

A timeline of how Michael Jackson’s songs performed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

(Screenshot below) Interact with the original at New York Times . . .

jacksonnytimes

Matthew Bloch, Shan Carter, Jonathan Corum, Amanda Cox and Matthew Ericson/The New York Times