Using rates for more relatable Covid-19 numbers

With millions of Covid-19 deaths worldwide, and hundreds of thousands in the US, the absolute counts have been a challenge to relate to for a while. The Washington Post leaned into rates to communicate scale at the individual level. 1 in 500 Americans died from Covid-19 so far.

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Scale of a mouse plague

There’s a mouse plague in Australia right now. The words alone don’t express the scale and seriousness of this problem, but this Washington Post piece sure does. The combination of video, photos, and graphics clearly demonstrates the scale. It starts with a pair of mice and escalates quickly from there — and might give you the willies along the way.

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Coping with the big numbers

Connie Jin, who works for NPR and updates a Covid-19 dashboard, talks about in comic-form feeling numb to the large numbers and hot to deal. It comes back to the individual.

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Compare the scale of any area in the world

Riffing on the Ever Given Ever Ywhere, which lets you place the Ever Given container ship anywhere on a map, Stamen built Scale-a-Tron, which lets you place anywhere on a map, well, anywhere on a map.

Just draw a polygon around an area and then pan to compare the scale of your selected area against anywhere in the world. It’s scale-rific.

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Posted by in maps, scale, Stamen

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✚ Relative Comparison – The Process 136

Welcome to issue #136 of The Process, the newsletter for FlowingData members where I talk about charting better. I’m Nathan Yau, and this week I’m thinking about comparisons.

In analysis and visualization, you’re often tasked with the “compared to what” question. How is this year different from last year? How does this offering compare against that other offering? Is that group better than the other group?

Become a member for access to this — plus tutorials, courses, and guides.

Make the Ever Given get stuck anywhere

The Ever Given got stuck in the Suez Canal. It was refloated. So now you can use this “ridiculous thing” by Garrett Dash Nelson to get the Ever Given stuck anywhere in the world. Show the ship to scale and click-and-drag the satellite imagery, and you get a pretty good idea of how big the thing is.

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What if a giant banana was orbiting Earth

yeti dynamics imagined if a giant banana were orbiting Earth from the same distance as the International Space Station:

It’s so dumb, which is why it’s so good. And you’re in luck, because this video is from a few years ago, and yeti dynamics has many variants, such as: if the moon were replaced by planets and if all the planets were in between Earth and the moon. [via kottke]

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Seeing CO2 is a playable data visualization

Seeing CO2, by design studio Extraordinary Facility, is a playable data visualization that imagines if carbon dioxide were visible. You drive a car around collecting bits of information about carbon dioxide in our environment, and along the way, you’ll see volumes of CO2 compared against well-known structures. Pretty great.

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500,000 lives lost, an individual scale

The United States passed the half million mark for confirmed Covid-19 deaths. It’s difficult to imagine 500,000 of anything, let alone deaths in a year, so Reuters used a modified beeswarm chart to show the timeline of events and the individual deaths. Each dot represents a death, and a scaled down version of the chart appears in the top left corner to show where you are in the timeline.

It’s not possible to reflect the true meaning of such a scale through a screen, but the mini-obituaries on the left-hand side help. I had to pause a few times.

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Tracking world’s biggest iceberg

The world’s biggest iceberg, A68a, is on track to crash into a remote island in the Atlantic. For Reuters, Marco Hernandez and Cassandra Garrison show the path, the scale, and what might happen with A68a:

The iceberg is comparable in size to many well-known islands. A68a is very similar in size and shape to Jamaica, almost as long as the U.S. territory Puerto Rico, and dwarfs China’s Hong Kong Island as well as the Southeast Asian city state of Singapore.

Observers from the British Antarctic Survey told media that a flight last year over the A68a took about one and a half hours. The berg is so big, Royal Air Force pilots this week were unable to capture it all in one, single photograph.

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