‘Less than 10 percent’ outdoors

The CDC said that “less than 10 percent” of coronavirus cases were from outdoor transmissions. David Leonhardt for The New York Times argues why in all likelihood that number is way too high and leads to public confusion:

If you read the academic research that the C.D.C. has cited in defense of the 10 percent benchmark, you will notice something strange. A very large share of supposed cases of outdoor transmission have occurred in a single setting: construction sites in Singapore.

In one study, 95 of 10,926 worldwide instances of transmission are classified as outdoors; all 95 are from Singapore construction sites. In another study, four of 103 instances are classified as outdoors; again, all four are from Singapore construction sites.

This obviously doesn’t make much sense. It instead appears to be a misunderstanding that resembles the childhood game of telephone, in which a message gets garbled as it passes from one person to the next.

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All the art in the Oval Office

The President of the United States chooses the art for the Oval Office, and the choices show who the president admires or the image they want to project. Larry Buchanan and Matt Stevens for The New York Times take you through all of the choices since the Kennedy administration.

About half way through the piece, an averaged image of the office through several presidencies shows what changes and what stays the same. Usually these averaged images feel gimmicky or don’t show you much, but as a lead in to separate pictures, the blurred image works.

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See if you live in a political bubble

Gus Wezerek, Ryan D. Enos, and Jacob Brown for NYT Opinion use neighborhood-level data to show how those around you voted in the 2020 election. They ask: do you live in a political bubble? Enter an address to see.

This is riffing off of NYT’s similarly-themed map from 2018, which asked the same question but answered more geographically. This newer version, as is the current way of doing things these days, is more bubbly and mobile-focused with the scroll format.

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Visual deconstruction of popular songs

Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding, for NYT Opinion, look at how the structure of songs have changed to fit with the current methods that people consume media:

It’s inescapable that today’s aspiring artists and songwriters must operate, for survival, in a landscape of streaming services and social media. From Spotify to TikTok, the goal is to create music that will grab a listener’s attention from beginning to end. You’re not just competing against other creators. You’re also competing against everything else that takes up our time: podcasts, TV, apps and more. So to keep streaming consumers engaged, it is increasingly common for songs to begin in medias res — with a hook, followed by a hook and ending with another hook.

Put your headphones on and turn the volume up for maximum effect. The combination of the songs, visual breakdown, and words work well together to help you understand song structure.

Now I know why my brain is often confused when I hear a full song, instead of a looping chorus on TikTok.

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Voting and vaccination rate

Danielle Ivory, Lauren Leatherby and Robert Gebeloff for The New York looked at voting from the 2020 election and vaccination rates at the state and county levels. The strength of correlation is surprising. The existence of the correlation is not.

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Particles on a plane

The CDC says it’s safe to travel now if you’re vaccinated, so you may or may not want to see this, but The New York Times shows how air particles circulate through an airplane.

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Collecting reports of anti-Asian hate crimes

The New York Times collected, categorized, and linked to reports of anti-Asian hate crimes over the past year. The levels of ignorance, cowardice, and stupidity is off the charts.

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When you don’t own your face

For The New York Times, Kashmir Hill describes the implications of facial recognition becoming a thing that everyone just has:

Retail chains that get their hands on technology like this could try to use it to more effectively blacklist shoplifters, a use Rite Aid has already piloted (but abandoned). In recent years, surveillance companies casually rolled out automated license-plate readers that track cars’ locations, which are frequently used to solve crimes; such companies could easily add face reading as a feature. The advertising industry that tracks your every movement online would be able to do so in the real world: That scene from “Minority Report” in which Tom Cruise’s character flees through a shopping mall of targeted pop-up ads — “John Anderton, you could use a Guinness right about now!” — could be our future.

No thank you.

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Varying colors of state guidance maps

Many states use color to represent levels of Covid-19 and/or county restrictions. The color scales states use vary across the country. For The New York Times, Caity Weaver details the usage and the challenges of picking meaningful scales.

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GDP and vaccination rates

For The New York Times, Keith Collins and Josh Holder look at the relationship between country wealth and vaccination rates. Wealthier countries made deals with drug makers earlier, which means poorer countries are not able to secure as many vaccines.

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