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Showing posts from July, 2011

US debt charts of note

On Sunday, July 24, the New York Times ran a chart illustrating the fiscal results of national policy. Given the fierceness of the ongoing debt-ceiling debate, the chart got picked up and disseminated through the web, and with good reason: It's clear, it's straightforward, and it communicates something very important. (By the way, I have it on good authority that this was the first instance of color being used on the NYT editorial page.) You can see the chart here.

Now, finally, comes the White House with this graphic:



The Atlantic's James Fallows likes it, but I'm less impressed.

First of all, from a political point of view, it's a bit late to release this; the chart could/should have focused the congressional debate and the public discourse weeks ago.

Secondly, despite the telltale Tufte-style typefaces and additional detail, it's not as intuitively readable as the Times' version. The timeline, such as it is, runs vertically, while the magnitude is also …

Quality dataviz about quality-of-life issues

To accompany its Better Life Initiative, OECD (the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) has put up a handsome, carefully constructed set of interactive data graphics called the Better Life Index:
There is more to life than the cold numbers of GDP and economic statistics – this Index allows you to compare well-being across countries, based on 11 topics the OECD has identified as essential, in the areas of material living conditions and quality of life. Each country is represented by a multicolored flower with 11 petals (OK, yes, potentially cheesy). The length of each petal represents the country's score in a given area; the width of the petal indicates the importance the user has assigned to that particular aspect. Drilling down into the details is easy to do; in fact, if you've a mind to do your own visualizations of this info, the underlying index data can be downloaded in spreadsheet format.

Kudos to Moritz Stefaner, Jonas Leist and Timm Kekeritz (for Raure…