Data viz course assignment: bailout and votes

The fourth assignment of the data visualisation course was to do something with this data on unemployment in US states, published by the Guardian Data Blog. My project could be summarised as ‘It’s the unions, stupid’.

P.S. I didn’t post my work for the third assignment on this blog. I’m afraid it wasn’t any good.

Update - Elsewhere, the impact of the bailout on the election is questioned as well.

Clint Eastwood won the LAUGHTER contest

I’m not sure what this says about the audiences at US national party conventions, but among a sample of 16 speeches, Clint Eastwood’s was the one that elicited the most laughter (Rand Paul’s got most applause). Among the presidential candidates, Obama won the applause contest, while being about equally funny as Romney.

For the second lesson of Alberto Cairo’s online data visualisation course, we were asked to comment on and perhaps redesign this convention word count tool created by the NYT. I wouldn’t be able to do such a cool interactive thing myself (I got stuck in the jQuery part of Codeyear), so I decided to focus on differences between individual speeches instead.

First I needed the transcripts – preferably from one single source to make sure the transcription had been done in a uniform way. As far as I could find, Fox News has the largest collection of transcripts online. As a result, Republican speakers are overrepresented in my sample, but that’s ok because the key Democratic speakers are included as well.

I wrote a script to do the word count (I’m sure this could be done in a more elegant way). One problem with my script was that html-code got included in the total word count. I thought I could correct this by subtracting 1,000 from each word count, but this didn’t work so well, so I had to make some corrections.

This assignment was a bit of a rush job so I hope I didn’t make any stupid mistakes.

Data visualisation course assignment

As part of Alberto Cairo’s data visualisation course, we’ve been asked to take a look at this graphic of social media use in selected countries and see how it can be improved. What struck me most (although this probably would not surprise social media experts) is the high level of activity in emerging economies. Above is my reinterpretation of the data. As a general indicator of social media use, I calculated the average of the listed types of social media use (upload photos; upload videos; manage profile; blogging; microblogging). Note that the data are from 2009.

Massale onlinecursus datavisualisatie

‘We are certain our server capacity will operate fine’, schrijft het Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas in een email aan de deelnemers aan een onlinecursus Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualisation, die aanstaande zondag van start gaat. Oorspronkelijk was het de bedoeling dat iedereen mocht meedoen, maar bij nader inzien heeft men toch maar een grens gelegd bij 2.000 deelnemers en die grens is twee weken geleden bereikt. Voor het geval de servers het onverhoopt toch begeven wordt een reservewebsite achter de hand gehouden.

De cursus wordt gegeven door Alberto Cairo, auteur van the Functional Art, een boek dat in recensies wordt geprezen als het nieuwe standaardwerk over datavisualisatie. Inmiddels ben ik erin begonnen en het is goed, maar wat mij betreft toch niet zo goed als Visualise This van Nathan Yau. Yau geeft meer praktische uitleg en zijn strakke vormgeving spreekt me meer aan dan de toch wat barokke aanpak van Cairo. Evengoed ben ik erg benieuwd naar Cairo’s onlinecursus.