US electricity sources map

This interactive map from CarbonBrief shows how America generates electricity. Each circle represents a power source, color represents type, and size represents output.

See also a more edited version from The Washington Post a couple of years back.


Darkness mapped in Puerto Rico

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.


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Frequency trails chart explainer

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?

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Math to fix gerrymandering, explained in comic

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.

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Visualizing nonlinear stories

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.

Story curves visualize the nonlinear narrative of a movie by showing the order in which events are told in the movie and comparing them to their actual chronological order, resulting in possibly meandering visual patterns in the curve.

The main part is that top timeline, which shows story order on the y-axis and movie running time on the x-axis. So if you were to visualize a movie that was linear, you’d see a straight line running from the top left corner to the bottom right. For nonlinear movies, like The Usual Suspects, you get a line that fluctuates.

In case the format looks familiar, you might recognize it from The New York Times. They used it to show the nonlinearity of movie trailers, and that piece motivated the Story Curves work. [via @eagereyes]

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In 2017, No More than Five Days Without a Mass Shooting

Unfortunately, while of varying magnitude, mass shootings are somewhat regular in the United States. Read More

Logos drawn from memory

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.

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Machine learning demo with your webcam and GIFs

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.

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