Published on Data Blog

Data Lab Link Roundup: Analysing taxis, Ubers and bikes, the Economist on open data, simple explanations, digital archives, optimistic statisticians,, and lying with the y-axis

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Here are some (of the many) things that caught our attention last week:


  • Randall Munroe of XKCD has a new book out in which he uses his characteristic line drawings and only the thousand (or, rather, “ten hundred”) most common words to provide simple explanations for interesting things. To get a flavor of this utter brilliance, I recommend reading his piece in the New Yorker: “The Space Doctor’s Big Idea” which explains both the special and general theories of relativity. My takeaway? There is no idea so complicated that it can’t be faithfully explained to a wide audience in an understandable manner

  • “Y-Axes don’t lie to people, people do”  - Vox have apparently had enough of dataviz dogmatists emailing them every time they use a non-zero y-axis on a chart so made a very entertaining video justifying their editorial decisions. David Yanofsky over at Quartz also weighed in back in June.

  • Finally, if you’re after an easy way to plot interactive graphics on the web directly from your programming environment, has been a strong choice for a number of years. I was pleased to see that they’ve open-sourced their core charting layer which among other things mean making fast offline interactive charts much easier.  


Tariq Khokhar

Global Data Editor & Senior Data Scientist

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