This Bubble Chart is Killing Me
By David Mendoza
Last week, Julia Belluz of Vox argued that people inefficiently donate money to charity. Rather than directing donations towards fighting the diseases that ravage the most people, we give money for less pragmatic reasons. For instance, someone might donate to a charity in order to honor a family member killed by a certain disease. While commemorating someone with a donation is reasonable, Belluz believes allowing our donations to be influenced by celebrities and viral marketing campaigns is not.
Belluz points to the Ice Bucket Challenge as an example of how good publicity can attract more money than actual death tolls. To show this, the article includes this bubble chart that displays the number of people killed by eight diseases on the right side and the amount of money raised by fundraisers associated with those same diseases on the left. It purports to show how the ALS Association has raised more money than other fundraisers, despite the fact that motor-neuron diseases like ALS kill comparatively fewer people. As of today, this bubble chart has been shared over 7,000 times on Facebook. It’s unfortunate then that though the numbers presented in the chart are accurate, the way the data is displayed is not. I reveal why below and explain how my scatter plot above displays the data more honestly.
Kaiser Fung:Graphics is a discipline that often rewards subtracting. Less is more.
People’s natural instinct is often to add. The secret is to subtract. Remove everything that doesn’t advance the goal or convey the message.
On Aug. 5, the Federal Communications Commission announced the bulk release of the comments from its largest-ever public comment collection. We’ve spent the last three weeks cleaning and preparing the data and leveraging our experience in…
ICYMI: Here’s a guide to doing your own immersive, tablet-friendly style feature stories with all that scrolly, fullscreen goodness.
I swear to Linus.
Most Successful Crowdfunding Campaign To Date - Star Citizen
Source: Nehkara (reddit)
New! Tutorial on making your own snowfall-like story presentations, with plenty o’screenshots.
Flatiron Students Present! with Liz Baillie and Luke Demarest
Above is a video of my presentation with Luke Demarest on the Ruby Processing Gem from 7/15/2014, which I wrote about in an earlier post. In this presentation, we speak on the origins of the Processing programming language, and some basics on how to use the Ruby Processing Gem to achieve similar results.
This is followed by a few really cool demos, including my favorite that utilizes the Twitter streaming API in tandem with the gem to create an awesome live video made of tweets (watch it to see what I mean)!
The Quicksort Algorithm
Quicksort is the fastest known comparison-based sorting algorithm (on average, and for a large number of elements), requiring O(n log(n)) steps. By convention, n is the number of elements to be compared and big O is a function of those elements. Quicksort is a recursive algorithm which first partitions an array according to several rules:
- Pick an element, called a pivot, from the array.
- Reorder the array so that all elements with values less than the pivot come before the pivot, while all elements with values greater than the pivot come after it (equal values can go either way). After this partitioning, the pivot is in its final position. This is called the partition operation.
- Recursively apply the above steps to the sub-array of elements with smaller values and separately to the sub-array of elements with greater values.
Quicksort was invented by Tony Hoare and has undergone extensive analysis and scrutiny, and is known to be about twice as fast as the next fastest sorting algorithm. In the worst case, however, quicksort is a slow n² algorithm (and for quicksort, “worst case” corresponds to already sorted). (Click this link for an example of the Quicksort Algorithm written in C)
Credit: Wolfram Alpha/Wikipedia
Less than 1% of women going to college plan to major in computer science, according to the American Association of University Women. Those are bleak numbers.
What will prompt more women to get into coding? The first step: paying teachers to recruit girls to take coding classes.
With $1 million in funding from Google’s Made With Code initiative, nonprofit DonorsChoose.org is rewarding teachers with money when they get four or more female students to complete a coding class online.
Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code in an interview for ThinkProgress (via women-in-science)
If you disrespect women in the tech industry, the angry spirits of Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer, and Grace Hopper, the creator of the first compiler, will delete all the commenting from someone’s code just before you have to debug it.
Learn to code while playing Minecraft
“Our goal is to teach kids computer science while they’re having fun.”