Fair Warning: Why not have bar charts change direction randomly?
Tracking cats, bubble tea, lying about GDP
Hello! I started writing this and I was going to mention some random things I have enjoyed lately
that have nothing to do with data but I will tell you about nonetheless because it’s my newsletter but then the list got too big so I put it on Medium instead. I won’t be insulted if you don’t read it.
On the home front
The extraordinary success of Covid-19 vaccines, in two charts
I realise that including the picture for this is a spoiler but this is an estimate of how many lives Covid-19 vaccines saved. I think it could have been interesting to do a chart of infections vs avoided infections as well as deaths, but the piece says that the ~338 million doses “halted 14 million infections”. Fair Warning: the study that came up with these numbers “wasn’t peer-reviewed, but it builds on a methodology that was”.
How Much Snow Will Fall Where You Live?
The NYT allows you to see how much snowfall is predicted in your area. In my zip code? NOTHING. Which is actually fine by me because it’s like I see snow and my brain reacts by making my limbs more uncoordinated than usual. You would think it would kick into survival mode and not… Bambi mode, but…
Rank of the Most Populous Cities at Each United States Census, 1790-1880
I love nothing more than an old chart on yellowing paper, and I especially love that at the end the population graphs, running out of space on the page, simply turn 90 degrees and continue downwards.
Over the pond
This is an interactive database of databases, about money flowing into and out of Westminster, ie money MPs or their parties give or receive. There’s more information about the project here, and there’s also a methodology. It sounds like a huge task not just to obtain but to clean and check the data. Cool project.
A study of lights at night suggests dictators lie about economic growth
Sorry, what? This is from last year but, uh: “data showed that dictators’ reported GDP tended to grow much faster than satellite images of their countries would suggest. This could not be explained by their economies being based on different industries from other countries, or that people there had lower average incomes.”
Millions are travelling across China for lunar new year
The Economist looks at mobility data in China, where traffic volumes are "higher than at any time in the past five years". The magazine calculates the volume of movement to be 24% higher than in the same period in 2022, and 117% higher than in 2021. It's also—worryingly?—12% higher than in 2019, before the pandemic struck. In a few weeks we will know if this led to an uptick in Covid-19 infections.
Odds and ends
All the Ways to Make Bubble Tea, Taiwan's Pearl-fect Drink
It’s hard to explain how much I love and enjoy bubble tea. I saw this and my eyes widened like a child let loose in a sweet shop. I literally gasped “wooooow” to myself as I scrolled through this page, like I had stumbled across some hidden treasure. I am really partial to a taro milk tea with boba (some ice, boba straw, no bag), but I feel like I should branch out more. I am happy to take suggestions for bubble tea in Brooklyn! I have a friend back home (hi Luke!) that I had bubble tea with like 15 years ago and he’s still the person I think about whenever I have it. <3
Charted: The NFL's roller coaster season
This contains a bunch of charts and information about NFL playoffs that I have neither the patience nor the interest to really fully understand. I only barely understand *my* football, let alone another country’s football. The charts look great though! There’s a Twitter thread explaining the process behind this story/charts.
This is a Tableau dashboard based on data about TRACKING CATS. I’m not going to lie, I find it quite hard to spot patterns or make much of it—there’s no aggregation or attempt to make an overall analysis of behaviours according to age or gender. But the original data is here—please do let me know if you do anything with it.
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That’s all I have for you this week, hope you enjoyed reading Fair Warning. If you want to get in touch, just reply to this email — feel free to send me things you’ve worked on or things I’ve missed that you think I’ll enjoy and want to include.
I am definitely not going to be sending Fair Warning next week as I will be on a plane but I will be back soon :)