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Disinformation Visualization: How to lie with datavis

Disinformation Visualization: How to lie with datavis
By Mushon Zer-Aviv, January 31, 2014 Seeing is believing. When working with raw data we’re often encouraged to present it differently, to give it a form, to map it or visualize it. But all maps lie. In fact, maps have to lie, otherwise they wouldn't be useful. Some are transparent and obvious lies, such as a tree icon on a map often represents more than one tree. It all sounds very sinister, and indeed sometimes it is. Over the past year I’ve had a few opportunities to run Disinformation Visualization workshops, encouraging activists, designers, statisticians, analysts, researchers, technologists and artists to visualize lies. Centuries before big data, computer graphics and social media collided and gave us the datavis explosion, visualization was mostly a scientific tool for inquiry and documentation. Reproducing Lies Let’s set up some rules. We don’t spread visual lies by presenting false data. Should we legalize the killing of babies? I would hope most of you would say: No.

Related:  Data journalismDatavizData VisualisationDatajournalism / storytelling

Reports and Data USAID is a business-focused development agency focused on results. We understand that humanitarian assistance is both a gift and an investment on behalf of the American public. It contributes to a future that all of us will share. Clear Off the Table We received a lot of attention for our Data Looks Better Naked post. People got bored on Christmas Eve and some interesting searches for Star Trek somehow landed them on our page. Now their charts look better. How to Lie with Data Visualization Data visualization is one of the most important tools we have to analyze data. But it’s just as easy to mislead as it is to educate using charts and graphs. In this article we’ll take a look at 3 of the most common ways in which visualizations can be misleading.

How to Use Excel’s Descriptive Statistics Tool - dummies By Stephen L. Nelson, E. C. Nelson Perhaps the most common Data Analysis tool that you’ll use in Excel is the one for calculating descriptive statistics. To see how this works, take a look at this worksheet. Map: The remarkable distances you can travel on a European train in less than a day Tourists visiting Europe are often advised to travel by train rather than plane or car. Trains are considered reliable, fast and relatively cheap. But as a new research project shows, there are major differences within Europe: Whereas you can travel from London to Paris in less than four hours, traveling the same distance can last more than 22 hours in eastern Europe. Peter Kerpedjiev, a PhD student at the University of Vienna in Austria, gathered data that offers stunning insights into Europe's railway network. He selected 28 European cities and illustrated which surrounding cities or areas could be reached within a certain time.

Smog from Space This is what smog looks like from outer space. This true color VIIRS image was captured by the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite on October 22, 2013 and shows the deteriorating air quality situation across China. This smog cloud hovering over southeast China is roughly one-third the size of Germany. Last Friday it got so bad that flights were delayed or cancelled. In Shanghai, local authorities urged residents to stay indoors, asked factories to either cut or halt production, and closed several highways to reduce traffic emissions. In other cities schools have been suspended.

Some things I learned about data-driven storytelling in Schloss Dagstuhl — Data Driven Storytelling I learned that much of data storytelling can actually be understood much better when thinking about formats like speeches, presentations, jokes, documentary film, rather than “tales” or “plots”. Telling a story does not automatically imply a simplistic, author-driven, linear, primarily entertaining narration. Really interesting stuff can happen when we inject mechanisms from these other — persuasive or entertaining — forms of communication of information. Look at the beautiful use of repetition and rhetorical questions in this lovely Bloomberg piece: In its widest form, storytelling is about establishing a flow of data perspectives. Defining and redefining data perspective can become a storytelling mechanism in itself, like in this blog post on biking accidents.

A Critique of Radar Charts This article presents a critique of radar charts, a chart type commonly used to display multivariate data, highlighting how they are poorly designed to effectively communicate information in the underlying data, and presents a number of more effective alternatives. Introduction Radar charts, sometimes known as spider, start or web charts, are a two-dimensional chart type designed to plot one or more series of values over multiple common quantitative variables by providing an axis for each variable, arranged radially as equi-angular spokes around a central point. The values for adjacent variables in a single series are connected by lines, and, frequently, the polygonal shape created by these lines in filled with a colour. Beyond this there are many subtle variations that have different consequences with respect to the efficacy of the chart. These variations will be covered at appropriate points in the following critique.

Why We Hate Infographics (And Why You Should) Those 2 guys invented the spreadsheet with Visicalc. I worship them for that. In 1989, during my first internship (don't even dare asking), I discovered and toyed for days with a mind-blowing machine: an plotting table. It was like a printer, except that it was moving a dozen of color pencils over the paper, and it was meant to draw... graphs, as it was called in the 80's. Then in the early 90's, hipsters of that time decided that graphs weren't cool enough, and called them charts. On an unrelated note, charts started being printed on regular printers, and boredom killed millions of interns.

The depth of the problem Both the Australian and Chinese navies have picked up beacon signals over the past three days, but time is running out and the challenge of location is immense. Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, head of the Australian agency coordinating the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, acknowledged that the search area was essentially a best guess and noted that the time when the plane’s locator beacons would shut down was “getting pretty close,” the Associated Press reported. The search for Flight 370 The search for Flight 370 entered its fourth week Sunday with a growing group of planes and ships assisting in search. Inside the investigation One of aviation’s greatest mysteries began when Flight 370 took off into clear skies March 8 and seemed to disappear into thin air.

- Course - LEARNO Course overview Getting started with Google refinements (27:56)Advanced Image Search (12:02) Module 1: Verification in a networked world by Craig Silverman Introduction (01:21) The Fundamentals (14:50) Open Verification (20:11) Verifying During a Crisis (15:27) Understanding Uncertainty We have had a review paper published in Science called Visualising uncertainty about the future, although it primarily focuses on probability forecasts. You may access the full paper by following the links below. Read the review paper published in Science: Visualising uncertainty about the future The Supporting Online Material is available here, but you may find it faster to view them as separate attachments below. Errata:

Reshaping New York - Interactive Feature Loading Celebrating the Waterfront New buildings constructed during Mr. Bloomberg's tenure as mayor. Celebrating the Waterfront Mr. The Death Toll Comparison Breakdown One of the things about humans is that they die sometimes, and one of the things humans pay a lot of attention to is other people dying. We do a pretty good job of distracting ourselves from the whole “I’m gonna die one day” thing, but the fixation is there, underneath the surface, and one way it shows through is how riveted we are by other people’s deaths. The news is an obvious example—just open up and typically, at least half of the headlines are about people dying. Entertainment is another—nothing locks eyes on a screen like the death of a character. History is a less obvious example, but it’s the parts of history that involve a lot of people dying that usually compel us the most.