How N95 masks work

In efforts to reduce further spread of the virus, the US is set to distribute millions of free N95 masks across the country. Aaron Steckelberg and Bonnie Berkowitz for The Washington Post illustrated how the masks work.

Early in the pandemic, N95 masks were hard to get. My wife, who is a healthcare worker, described how she and her colleagues would have to reuse N95 masks and store them in paper bags hanging on the wall. It’s good to see so many N95s on their way to households now.

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Joke machine learning projects to advance your career

In an automated job climate that analyzes resumes and inspects social profiles, it can be a challenge to find the job that’s right for you. Luckily, Jess Peter for The Pudding put together a satirical set of tools to combat the recruiting bots. Generate a fake resume with a specified level of experience, define a profile pic for your socials, and then use that fake image of your face for the video interview.

I wonder if someone has ever done this in real life. This had to have happened at least once, right?

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✚ Boring Charts – The Process 173

Welcome to issue #173 of The Process, the newsletter for FlowingData members about how the charts get made. I’m Nathan Yau, and this week I’m thinking about the differences between boring charts and not so boring charts.

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Declining Births

The number of births per month has been decreasing over the past decade. The pandemic seems to have sped up the process in the beginning.

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Death rates by vaccination booster status

Our World in Data continues their important work on providing and showing up-to-date Covid data. Most recently, they updated death rates in Switzerland by vaccination plus booster status. The rates for the unvaccinated are expectedly much higher, but also the rates for those with a booster are multiples lower than those fully vaccinated with no booster.

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Analytics for U.S. government websites

With the announcement of free Covid-19 tests through the United States Postal Service, it’s interesting to watch to the analytics for U.S. government websites. USPS has more visitors right now than all the other government pages combined.

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Global ripple effect from underwater volcano

An underwater volcano erupted about 40 miles off the coast of the main island of Tonga. Using infrared data from the GOES satellite operated by NOAA, Mathew Barlow animated the ripple from the the source to around the world.

The filtered view, which shows band 13 data from the satellite’s sensors, typically to view cloud cover, is really something.

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A visual and audio tour of sound at Nap Nap Swamp

When I think swamp noise, I imagine a blob of sound that’s some mix of water and wildlife, but that’s because I don’t know anything. Mitchell Whitelaw, in collaboration with ecologist Skye Wassens, used recordings of Nap Nap Swamp in New South Wales, Australia to show you a breakdown of what the individual sounds are.

You hear the sounds of running water, wind, and different animals with various patterns. This is all framed over time and a subtle visualization to show water levels. The sound profile at the swamp changes as the water rises. Nice, calming work.

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Congressmen who enslaved people

Using old Census records and documents, Julie Zauzmer Weil, Adrian Blanco and Leo Dominguez for The Washington Post tallied the congressmen who enslaved people over time. There were more than 1,700 enslavers over Congress’s first 130 years.

The grid (or tile) map above shows the timeline for each state, showing the percentage of officials who were enslavers from 1789 to 1923. Periods before states gained statehood status are faded out.

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✚ Debating About Visualization – The Process 172

Welcome to issue #172 of The Process, the newsletter for FlowingData members about how the charts get made. I’m Nathan Yau, and this week I was thinking about… spirals? What.

I was going to grace you with my 10,000-word thought piece on the nature of spiral charts and their relationship to life itself, but I’m placing it on the back burner for now. Sorry.

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