Beautiful News, a book charting the good things in the world

From David McCandless and team, who you might know from such books as Information is Beautiful and Knowledge is Beautiful has a new book on Beautiful News:

Inspired by our ongoing Beautiful News project, the book surfaces and visualises the amazing, beautiful, positive things *still* happening in the world. Things we can’t always see because we’re fixated on the negativity of the news.

As per our previous books, this one is a welter of beautiful facts & rigorous data, visualised in riotously colourful visualisations, charts & concept maps.

The subject matter free-ranges across many topic areas. But with one thing in common: it’s all good.

It’s available for pre-order, available in the UK at the end of this month and in the US in January 2022.

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House raided of fired Florida data manager in charged of Covid-19 dashboard

Jeffrey Schweers for Tallahassee Democrat:

State police brandishing firearms Monday raided the Tallahassee home of Rebekah Jones, the former Department of Health employee who built the state’s much-praised COVID-19 dashboard before being fired over what she said was refusing to “manipulate data.”

“They pointed a gun in my face. They pointed guns at my kids,” Jones tweeted shortly before 5 p.m.

After her firing in May, Jones started her own Covid-19 dashboard independently and has been maintaining it daily.


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From Open Access to Open Science, PLOS Biology is Leading Change   From its launch in 2003, PLOS Biology quickly established itself as PLOS’ flagship journal in the life sciences–a model of Open Access and a catalyst for change in scholarly publishing as well as

APHL: Expanding Testing Capacity for COVID-19 Greatly Bolsters U.S. Public Health Response

Public health laboratory scientist performing RT-PCR testing

For more, contact Michelle Forman at 240.485.2793 or

Statement from Scott Becker, CEO of Association of Public Health Laboratories

Silver Spring, MD, February 29, 2020 — “Today the Food and Drug Administration announced new guidelines to increase U.S. capacity for diagnostic testing for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

“Previously, only public health laboratories that could verify test kits issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were permitted to test for the virus. This new guidance allows any CLIA-certified, high complexity laboratory to go through the process to become certified to test.

“This will allow the laboratory community to cast a wider net and enable testing in more communities across the country and bolster U.S public health response.

“We are greatly encouraged by expanding the testing capacity to the clinical laboratory community. We also recognize the importance that testing for COVID-19 must be done in close coordination with public health counterparts. This is necessary to ensure that tests are performed to quality standards; cases are not missed or misdiagnosed; hospitals doing testing are effectively isolating patients with positive results; and proper follow-up is conducted, including contact tracing.

“Today’s announcement comes in addition to guidance released earlier this week that permits public health labs to expand testing. As a result, we anticipate public health laboratories will have the capacity to conduct 10,000 tests a day by the end of next week. CDC is also manufacturing new test kits that are expected to be distributed to public health labs next week.

“Taken together, these steps will jump-start testing and surveillance capabilities and greatly enhance our efforts to protect the health of individuals and communities across the country.

“We look forward to continuing to work with our partners at CDC, FDA and in the public health and clinical laboratory community as we respond to this public health emergency.”

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The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) works to strengthen laboratory systems serving the public’s health in the U.S. and globally. APHL’s member laboratories protect the public’s health by monitoring and detecting infectious and foodborne diseases, environmental contaminants, terrorist agents, genetic disorders in newborns and other diverse health threats. Learn more at


Photo credit: California Department of Public Health

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Statistical fallacies in the news

For UnHerd, Tom Chivers, talks about David Spiegelhalter’s new book and why every statistical headline deserves a grain of salt. One way to make sure things check out:

As a non-mathematician, I have a few shortcuts for working out whether a statistic is worth believing, which seem to have done all right for me so far. One, which Spiegelhalter stresses, is that often the best statistical analysis you can do is simply visualising the data. There was a bit of a recent kerfuffle about suicides among girls and young women going up 83% since 2012; but simply looking at the ONS chart showed that the numbers were small, the data was noisy, and the only way you got the 83% figure was by choosing the lowest year on record. (It’s an old trick.)

See also: common statistical fallacies.

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Salesforce to acquire Tableau

From Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky:

In 2003, Tableau set out to pioneer self-service analytics with an intuitive analytics platform that would empower people of any skill level to work with data. Our customers grew with us to form the strongest analytics community in the world. And today, that mission to help people see and understand data grows stronger.

I’m excited to announce that Tableau has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Salesforce in an acquisition that combines the #1 CRM with the #1 analytics platform. By joining forces we will accelerate our ability to accomplish our mission. Together, Salesforce and Tableau share a deep commitment to empowering their respective communities and enabling people of every skill level to transform their businesses, their careers, and their lives through technology.

I’m an outsider looking in, so this surprised me, but maybe it was expected for those closer. Tableau sponsored this little site of mine for nearly a decade, so I think it might have appeared smaller to me than it actually is.

Anyways, it’ll be interesting to see where Tableau goes from here, especially for those who worked with the software outside a marketing context.

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Giorgia Lupi joins Pentagram

Giorgia Lupi, whose work exemplifies the use of data and visualization outside of analytic insights (think Dear Data), is now a partner at design consultancy Pentagram. For FastCompany, Mark Wilson with the news:

At Pentagram, where she’ll have access to the biggest brands in the world, Lupi believes she can find a greater reach for data design in general. “It’s a good opportunity to expand graphics beyond the niche field of data visualization, and figure out how data visualization can be part of our daily experiences–in the things we consume, wear, and see,” Lupi says. “I want to explore things I don’t think have been done before.”


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News story lifespan charts

A wideout view of the news cycle can look like a series of rise and falls. Something captures the general public’s attention, and then it fades off. Thank you, next. This collaboration between Schema Design and Google Trends charts search volume for news stories and aligns them by their peaks, so that you can see these rise and falls.

Transparent areas overlaid on each other show an “average” trend, and the more irregular shapes are made obvious because they stand out from the rest.

See also the simpler view by Axios, who contributed stories to the project.

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DataKind receives $20M grant to expand on data for social good

DataKind, the organization known for helping others use data for social good, received a $20 million grant from The Rockefeller Foundation and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth:

The grant will allow DataKind to transition from a project to a platform-based model, thereby, supporting more organizations on a set of high impact areas, such as community health and inclusive growth. We’re humbled and honored that these two groups are supporting our mission with $20M over five years to help us grow to support the needs of the sector.



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