Fools Gold: Inside the Glenn Beck Goldline Scheme is a new infographic posted on The Big Picture blog. Designed by our friend Jess Bachman from WallStats.com, Fool’s Gold is a controversial visual explanation of how Glenn Beck’s comments on his shows can drive viewers to purchase gold coins from Goldline, who is one of his show sponsors.
Entries in money (131)
From VisualEconomics.com “What BP Could Have Bought With All the Money They Lost” is a long, side-scrolling visual of some examples of what BP could have done with $100,000,000,000. I like the use of photos to help tell the story, and it stands out from the crowd by scrolling to the side instead of down.
Two things I think are wrong about this one though. Although all of the possible expenditures add up, the number values aren’t visualized in any way. Also the $100,000,000,000 is the loss in stock market capitalization, not $3.5B in cash that BP has spent on recovery efforts. It’s not actually money that BP has spent.
From Fixr.com, The Shocking Disparities of Labor Cost visualizes how long it takes to earn the annual U.S. Minimum Wage from countries around the world.
My only criticism is that the change in area of the triangles doesn’t match the increase in time for the different countries. The scale of the visuals doesn’t match the numbers.
Thanks to Andres for sending in the link!
From Milo.com, Which Retailers are Closing their Doors? is an infographic showing which retail chains in America have closed the most locations.
Although the recession is technically now over, it was not without its victims. And while independent mom-and-pop stores certainly suffered, many chain stores across the country also felt the heat. Few retailers were safe from layoffs and store closings, but the entertainment and apparel industries in particular seem to have bore the brunt of the pain. Below are the retailers that had no choice but to close some, or all, of their doors.
Created by Column Five Media.
For our most recent infographic for Milo, we took a look at which of America’s largest retailers were closing up shop(s). This graphic illustrated the fifty retailers that were closing the most store locations.
Last week, Jess Bachman (@mibi) from WallStats.com released the new 2011 Death & Taxes poster. I caught up with Jess (by email) to ask some questions about his huge infographic undertaking. The high-resolution image of the poster is available now online, and the printed version will start shipping on May 7th. You can pre-order for $24, and the shipping cost is only $0.75 TODAY (April 28th)
WIN a copy of the poster! Jess has been kind enough to offer a free poster to a reader of Cool Infographics. To be eligible, you must tweet (or retweet) a link to this post on Twitter before May 7th, and include the #deathandtaxes hashtag. I included the hashtag in the post title, so any retweets will be automatically eligible. NOTE: you must also be following me on Twitter (@rtkrum) so that I can send you a DM if you have won!
“Death and Taxes” is a large representational graph and poster of the federal budget. It contains over 500 programs and departments and almost every program that receives over 200 million dollars annually. The data is straight from the president’s 2011 budget request and will be debated, amended, and approved by Congress to begin the fiscal year. All of the item circles are proportional in size to their funding levels for visual comparison and the percentage change from both 2010 and 2001 is included so you can spot trends.
The detail in this poster is stunning, and in this small shot you can see how the total budget request breaks out. Only the “Military/Nat. Security Discretionary” and “Non-Military/Nat. Security Discretionary” portions of the budget request details are displayed in the poster.
Jess was also nice enough to answer a few interview questions I sent him:
Cool Infographics: What software applications do you use for the Death & Taxes posters?
Jess Bachman: The only applications I use are Photoshop and Excel. Excel is where I in put all the data and it crunches the numbers, adjusts for inflation and calculates diameters. Photoshop is where I put it all together and the PSD file occasionally exceeds 1 gig so it can be a beast to work with. Saving takes about 5 minutes.
Cool Infographics: What’s your design process?
Jess Bachman: Normally I start from scratch and layout the images and make them fit; however, this year the budget didn’t change all that much, likely being from the same President, so I was able to keep the 2010 format and change the size of circles. Of course some things had to be added and removed. So this year I saved myself about 3 weeks of work just getting right into it, but the design process is grueling. it’s small tasks, repeated 500 times.
Cool Infographics: What’s the most interesting thing you learned from the data?
Jess Bachman: I can definitely see the differences in Presidents from Bush to Obama. Lots of reductions on the military side this year and the whole security climate as a whole isn’t as fiscally robust as it was a few years ago. Much more progressive funding with Obama too. Every year Bush would cut climate change research, now its back, along with other green tech. For some reason, public proadcasting gets the hack saw every year no matter who’s in office.
Cool Infographics: Where are some of your favorite places that have the Death & Taxes poster on display?
Jess Bachman: Well it’s always good to see it on display in schools and classrooms. But I really enjoy hearing from military members who have in their offices or even in station. I have sent several to Afghanistan. Critics often say the poster is anti-military, but the military is quite receptive to it, even the former Dept. of Defense Comptroller, Tina Jonas, loved the poster. Some people from the Dept of Energy’s Oak Ridge Lab displayed the poster on their 30’ Everest computer screen… that was cool too.
Cool Infographics: What’s the hardest part when developing the poster?
Jess Bachman: The hardest part is just getting through all the rote data processing and mindless photoshopping. The research side is quite fun, and going through the military budgets is a trip with all their classified and hi-tech programs. However, copying and pasting 5,000 times really takes a toll on my creativity and motivation.
Cool Infographics: You said you do a lot of copy & paste work, in what format do you get the data?
Jess Bachman: Some of the government data is in Excel already, but there is no context so I am dubious about working solely with their data sets. Mostly I pull the numbers from the actual printed budget, which is in PDF form. So I end up copying and pasting the program name and its funding level for 3 years into Excel, then I copy and paste the program name, funding level, and percentages back into photoshop as a text layer. Rinse and repeat 500 times. Many people ask if there was an automated way to create the poster each year and I wish there was, but the confines of the paper make size and fit a manual process.
Cool Infographics: Where do you have them printed, what are the printing specs and why?
Jess Bachman: I get my posters printed from a company called PrintPelican in Florida. There really are no cheaper prices out there but I opt for a thicker cut of paper than usual. I get 100# gloss cover which is a few shades from a business card in thickness. To be honest, they have screwed up my order a few times over the years but we have always managed to work it out. I usually print runs of 1000-2500 and always 24” x 36”.
Cool Infographics: How do you handle all of the printing and shipping of the posters? Do you tube them yourself?
Jess Bachman: I used to do it all myself. I had a 400lb brick of posters next to my bed, and 12 giant boxes of tubes all over the house, and I would roll pack and ship them all. Now I use two shippers who do fulfillment of the orders for me. For a while I would send them the orders and addresses weekly but I have offloaded that duty as well. I think the self shipping method is a good lesson in customer service and its good to know your product inside and out, but after while my time became more valuable than stuffing tubes could afford.
Cool Infographics: You’ve used a few different online zoomable image services in the last few years, what have you learned?
Jess Bachman: There are lots of zooming options out there and new ones seem to pop up all the time. I used Zoomify until it felt too clunky and slow, then Zoomorama which I really loved for its performance and options. This year I experimented with an self hosted open source app called Open Zoom and it certainly was a slick and great user experience, unfortunately the demands it placed on my server from huge inflows of traffic proved too much, taking down the whole site. So I had to switch to my backup, which was Closr.it, and let them deal with server demands. Closr.it has been very attentive to my needs and I have found that most developers will work with me to tailor a custom solution if I ask. The zooming apps keep getting better so I expect to keep changing apps as long as the space keeps innovating.
Cool Infographics: You mentioned the 30’ display, have you printed it out in larger sizes?
Jess Bachman: No, I have not printed it out any larger. The file being Photoshop, and the images being mostly rastered do not allow quality printing beyond the poster size. The file is 300 dpi so I could get away with a slightly larger size, but oversize printing is expensive and who wants a poster that big anyways.
Cool Infographics: Where do the images come from?
Jess Bachman: Most of the military images come from defenseLINK, which is a great repository for hi-res military photos. Other images come from stock photography sites for the most part. It does help that most government logos are round. I suppose it’s just an old school way of doing things, government seals and all. The design aesthetic amongst government logos is really all over the map though, and its quite interesting. Some look like that are from the 1700’s, and some from the 2700’s.
There was one correction to the online version that Jess has posted:
So I totally had the wrong data for NASA on the visual. Here is the corrected image, which reflects what you have been reading in the news. Science up, space down. I fixed it before it was printed, don’t worry.
You can view the image, buy the poster and more at the new site DeathandTaxesPoster.com.
SPECIAL: If you pre-order the poster TODAY (April 28th) shipping is only $0.75!
Steve and the infographic team from WeatherSealed.com bring us this great infographic that visualizes the historical U.S. income tax brackets.
Yes, in the 1950’s and 1960’s the top tier tax bracket was a staggering 90%!
To illustrate, Weather Sealed’s infographic team charted the historical U.S. income tax brackets for singles, adjusted for inflation, from 1910 to present. The colors indicate the marginal tax rate: black for low, red in the middle, and yellow for high. The horizontal axis is the tax year, and the vertical represents taxable income, log-scale, normalized to 2010 dollars with the Bureau Of Labor Statistics’ monthly CPI-U figures. The bracket data comes from The Tax Foundation and the IRS, and the effects of Social Security, capital gains, AMT, and other tax varieties are not included.
Jon Bruner from Forbes.com has designed and posted an interactive timeline/map of the major investments China has made all over the world in the last five years.
When you first see the map, it’s an animated timeline that highlights which countries China invested in each month since March 2005. The animation completes when it reaches December 2009, and then you can select a particular year by clicking on the total investment bars across the bottom or see the details behind any particular investment by mousing over one of the bubbles. The bubble sizes represent the size of the investments.
Since 2005 Chinese firms and arms of the Chinese government have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign companies and raw materials. Each dot on this map tracks one of those investments, with larger dots representing larger investments. Explore the map by rolling over and clicking on the dots and timeline.
Thanks Jon for the link!
“Follow the Money” is a video summarizing the results from the project by Northwestern University grad students Daniel Grady and Christian Thiemann. Using data from the website Where’s George?, they have been able to track the movement of U.S. paper currency. What can you learn from this? That there are natural borders within the U.S. that don’t necessarily follow state borders, and it can also be used to predict the spread of disease because it maps movement of people within the U.S.
From Maria Popova on BrainPickings.org: This may sound like dry statistical uninterestingness, but the video visualization of the results is rather eye-opening, revealing how money — not state borders, not political maps, not ethnic clusters — is the real cartographer drawing our cultural geography. The project was a winner at the 2009 Visualization Challenge sponsored by the National Science Foundation and AAA.
From Manuel Lima on VisualComplexity.com: Some places, such as Los Angeles, California, have many bills passing through it from across the nation, while others, such as Anderson County in Tennessee - Grady’s home - have bills circulating mainly within a more local neighborhood. Shown here are images from the video. The data from the Where’s George? project is in fact so pertinent that is also being used by researchers to predict the spread of flu across the United States.
You can see the Northwest project site, which has a much more adademic title “Community Structure in Multi-Scale Transportation Networks”.
From David McCandless at Information is Beautiful, is a great infographic about How Much Do Music Artists Earn Online? This is a fantastic topic for an infographic because the information is so confusing and difficult to find. I also really like the comparison of how many songs an artist needs to sell to equal the U.S. monthly minimum wage.
This image is based on an excellent post at The Cynical Musician called The Paradise That Should Have Been about pitiful digital royalties. (Thanks to Neilon for pointing that out). I’ve taken his calculations and added a few more.
As ever, this was incredibly difficult to research. Industry figures are hard to get hold of. Some are even secret. Last.Fm’s royalty and payment system is beyond comprehension. (If you can explain it to me, please get in touch)
If you’ve already splashed out on the huge flat-screen tv, a state-of-art Blu-Ray player, and a satellite dish with a monthly subscription that brings with it hundreds of channels, then it probably seems like it’s a small price to pay for HDMI cables. But, this is exactly the mentality that gets people to pay for this habitually over-priced bit of technological excess. The truth, as our infographic points out, is that there is absolutely no difference between the cheapest and most expensive HDMI cables, at least over shorter runs. If you’re wiring an entire house, you may find these cables to be worth it.
To understand why you shouldn’t pay extra, you need to understand the difference between analog and digital. With analog cables, the signal degrades, with digital cables such as HDMI, it either works or it doesn’t. The signal doesn’t degrade any more than your JPEGs degrade when you put them on a thumb drive.