Minimal Posters - Six Women Who Changed Science. And The World.
Data journalism project #2: Map of Washington’s retail marijuana stores
It’s the second project in my Overly Ambitious Data Journalism Challenge: a map of all licensed retail marijuana stores in Washington, many of which began operating today.
I used TileMill to make the map and relied heavily on lifeandcode's TileMill tutorial on Data for Radicals. The map is embedded on the page via an iframe, and I mostly just copied the html and css from my initial project page for the rest of it.
Thoughts on TileMill and Mapbox
TileMill is an amazing and really powerful mapping tool that lets you import multiple shapefiles and .csv files as layers, then style them using Carto, which is similar to CSS. In the past, I’ve used Google Maps for simple tasks like this, but TileMill has a lot more flexibility for styling, and also seemed much more intuitive to me in its handling of multiple shapefiles and layers. One disadvantage seems to be that you can’t import data from a Google Spreadsheet which auto-updates - you have to download a static csv.
Even from this really quick intro, I got a lot more ideas for things that would be fun to map. I had to download a few shapefiles from the Washington Geospatial Portal and there are so many geographic datasets there that would make for fun or interesting maps.
I had some trouble figuring out how version control worked when you export a revised project to Mapbox (the company that makes TileMill and has virtual map and project hosting). That’s something I’d like to play with more and really get nailed down.
Overall, TileMill seems like a really powerful mapping tool that I’d definitely like to use more in more complicated/multilayered geospatial data projects. I’d also like a better understanding of how to use Mapbox, as well as other interactive export options from TileMill for people who are a bit more familiar with code.
- If I’d been making this map with the newsroom in mind (instead of with the goal of learning TileMill), Google Maps probably would have been a better choice for its speed, as well as its context: state lines, major cities, etc. are clearly marked. (The Seattle Times used Google Maps for the same task yesterday.)
- Figuring out the details for how a map will embed works can be tricky. It took a lot of time to get the map centering and displaying how I wanted it to, and even after that it still looked a bit wonky.
- iframes in general are frustrating beasts to wrangle. While they can be quick and easy, and are certainly a necessity for people who don’t know how to code, this project underscored how much I’d like to learn to use the Mapbox API and some of the other TileMill options that give you more control on how your project is displayed.
- Aside from some bumps at understanding TileMill exports, I was happy with how quickly I threw this project together. The whole thing took about 2 hours from start to finish, and without all my hiccups, I think I could have had it done in under an hour.
Edit: The code for this is on Github and the map is here if anyone wants to fork it, add more stores, etc. I’d like to maintain it as more pot stores open up, but I’m guessing I’ll get buried under other stuff, so I’m extending the invitation to anyone else who’s interested.
Grace Hopper (via goto-blog)
I did things in my 30s that were ignored by the world, that could have been quickly labeled a failure. Here’s a classic example; in 1974 I did a movie called Phantom of the Paradise. Phantom of the Paradise, which was a huge flop in this country. There were only two cities in the world where it had any real success: Winnipeg, in Canada, and Paris, France. So, okay, let’s write it off as a failure. Maybe you could do that.
But all of the sudden, I’m in Mexico, and a 16-year-old boy comes up to me at a concert with an album - a Phantom of the Paradise soundtrack- and asks me to sign it. I sign it. Evidently I was nice to him and we had a nice little conversation. I don’t remember the moment, I remember signing the album (I don’t know if I think I remember or if I actually remember). But this little 14 or 16, whatever old this guy was… Well I know who the guy is now because I’m writing a musical based on Pan’s Labyrinth; it’s Guillermo del Toro.
The work that I’ve done with Daft Punk it’s totally related to them seeing Phantom of the Paradise 20 times and deciding they’re going to reach out to this 70-year-old songwriter to get involved in an album called Random Access Memories.
So, what is the lesson in that? The lesson for me is being very careful about what you label a failure in your life. Be careful about throwing something in the round file as garbage because you may find that it’s the headwaters of a relationship that you can’t even imagine it’s coming in your future."
What perfect advice for artists.
Paul Williams’ “failure,” Phantom of Paradise, is Guillermo del Toro’s secret origin-story(via mostlysignssomeportents)
Little women’s one made me choke on my tea
This one from the link though:
Jane Eyre and Little Women are the best ones!
County reporter (via rachelwalexander)
At entry level, men and women seem to be paid equally.
Which makes sense, given the lack of room for negotiation. Both men and women working in New York City reported median salaries of $40,000 at the entry level. (Since cost of living varies so widely, we isolated respondents from New…
In the world of our nation’s top newspapers, female editors are sparse.
This is really quite remarkable.
War versus popstars
When Swenson landed in New York, he found that Syria was some way down the popular news agenda. “I heard that nine times as many people clicked on links to do with Miley Cyrus than the war,” he recalls. “When you consider what would have been more impactful, I think going to war has far greater consequence than a salacious performance by a pop star.”
Swenson wrote about his experiences, but wanted to find another way to communicate something of what he had witnessed, a country riddled with chaos and psychologically pockmarked by the president’s illegal chemical attacks on his own people. How to interest an uninterested populace in this seemingly remote nation?
Turning terror into a game
He settled upon the idea of an online game. Swenson describes 1,000 Days of Syria, which is freely available to play on the internet, as “part electric literature; part newscast; and part choose-your-own-adventure.” You follow one of three narratives, that of a foreign photojournalist, a mother of two living in Daraa or a rebel youth living in Aleppo.
The story is delivered in disparate chunks and, at the end of each excerpt, you make choices about what to do next: will you attempt to flee the country or stay put? How will you try to pass the time when you’re imprisoned in a dimly lit cell? Each character has three possible endings and, at times, their stories intersect.
In his attempt to explain the first three years of the Syrian conflict, Swenson relies on lengthy exposition, yet the tales are at times affecting, not least because they are based upon his own experience and the experience of those he interviewed first hand in the country.
Optical illusion: the Ebbinghaus illusion