An atlas for the world’s development indicators

The World Bank tracks global development through a number of indicators. (You can see and download much of the data through their catalog.) With a story-based approach, they published an atlas for 2020 that focuses on 17 development goals, such as end poverty, end hunger, and stop global warming. There’s one story per goal, charting out multiple indicators in each story.

There’s a lot to look at, but one thing you’ll probably notice across all of the topics is progress. It’s not all spikes and waves out there.

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Red counties mostly stayed red

For The New York Times, Denise Lu and Karen Yourish looked at the red and blue shifts for the counties that voted red in 2016:

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. won the popular vote by more than five million — and his margin is expected to grow as states finish counting. Still, results so far show that President Trump’s support remained strong in most of the counties that voted for him in 2016. Here’s how.

Always enjoy scrollytelling through spaghetti.

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Maps of Home

Dots on a map can feel like, well, just a bunch of dots. Dylan Moriarty zoomed in on the dot of his hometown, making the dot feel more real:

The map concept at the top of this piece has been kicking in my head for a long while. Came from a dream: Meandering in a museum space, from far, far away you see a map introducing a new exhibit on New York City. Walking closer, the standard .NEW YORK CITY dot became more detailed until you’d get to up close and discovered that each inch had a drawing detailing that block’s history. A historical illustration with the energy and detail of a Where’s Waldo page. No doubt inspired by the wonderful 1981 illustrated map of Chicago gangs.

This is very good.

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Fires in the west and climate change

This is some advanced mapping and scrollytelling from the Washington Post. The piece examines climate change in the context of the fires in the western United States.

Starting in the beginning of August, the piece takes you through the timeline of events as your scroll. Maps of temperature, wind, lightning, and fire serve as the backdrop. Berry Creek, California, a mountain town that burned to the ground, provides an anchor to show how large climate shifts can affect the individual.

Well done.

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If the unemployed lose $600 per week

A $600 per week benefit expires for the unemployed at the end of July. Congress is still deciding what to do after. For The New York Times, Ella Koeze highlights the percentage of usual income the unemployed will receive as a function of annual earnings and weekly benefit amount if the benefit goes away.

Each dot represents a state. The percentage ranges in the background provide a point of reference for where each income group and state falls. The scrollytelling format starts with individual points and then tours through the shifts.

An aside: I might just be imagining things, but I feel like there’s been more scrollytelling lately. Is this a function of doomscrolling on our phones? Also, whenever a chart anchors in the background and a text frame scrolls over, I think of Snow Fall from 2012.

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Comparing U.S. coronavirus case rates to other hot spots

The numbers are high here in the United States, and at this point, they look bad on their own. But compare it to other countries that are currently hit hard, the U.S. looks even worse. For The New York Times, Lauren Leatherby makes the comparisons.

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How an earthquake can trigger others on the opposite side of the world

Speaking of earthquakes, Will Chase looked back at a 2012 earthquake in Sumatra that triggered not only a bunch of small ones in the vicinity, but other large ones around the world:

In the ten days following the Sumatra mainshock, 44 earthquakes M5.5+ were recorded. The statistics were clear: this nine-fold increase was highly significant, and most researchers agreed the likely explanation was remote triggering by the M8.6 Sumatra earthquake. This massive triggering of large earthquakes was unprecedented, and many wondered if the strike-slip mechanism at such a large magnitude was a unique combination that led to this outsized response.

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Visual introduction to bias in machine learning

A few years ago, Stephanie Yee and Tony Chu explained the introductory facets of machine learning. The piece stood out because it was such a good use of the scrollytelling format. Yee and Chu just published a follow-up that goes into more detail about bias, intentional or not. It’s equally worth your time.

(Seems to work best in Chrome.)

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Stopping a nuclear missile fired at the US

I hate that this feels like something civilians should know. Bonnie Berkowitz and Aaron Steckelberg, reporting for the Washington Post, describe with a graphic how the United States might counter a nuclear missile fired by North Korea.

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Scrollama.js, a JavaScript library for scrollytelling

Russell Goldenberg released Scrollama.js in an effort to make scrollytelling more straightforward to implement.

Scrollytelling can be complicated to implement and difficult to make performant. The goal of this library is to provide a simple interface for creating scroll-driven interactives and improve user experience by reducing scroll jank. It offers (optional) methods to implement the common scrollytelling pattern to reduce more involved DOM calculations. For lack of a better term, I refer to it as the sticky graphic pattern, whereby the graphic scrolls into view, becomes “stuck” for a duration of steps, then exits and “unsticks” when the steps conclude.

Bookmarked for later.

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