It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Infographics vs Eye Candy

Infographics (h/t @Tokyo_Tom )

Expensive Eye Candy


See the difference? In case you missed it, the eye candy one is prettier, but the infographics one contains actual information.

8 comments:

Steve Bloom said...

Well, what was there to add to the second one? Nobody knows what the condition of those cores is.

I thought the first one was just as slick, although IMHO the animation is a tetch misleading in what it implies about the relationship between the quakes.

Steve Bloom said...

Hmm, more eye candy from the NYT.

Michael Tobis said...

Oh, I sort of like that one, though Brad DeLong is complaining about the dimensionless units.

Michael Tobis said...

On second thought, the scale is non-constant, with 1 as the maximum. So not only are the hot colors silly, you aren;t seeing consistent iso-surfaces from frame to frame.

In other words,although it gives some hint as to how the advection pattern would look, in terms of actual concentration it's worse than dimensionless; there is no consistency from one frame to the next; everything is scaled to the bullseye (see the little X?).

So, no, it's lousy, not for lack of information density, but for sloppy information distortion.

Kooiti Masuda said...

Re "Forecast for Plume's Path":
If I understand correctly, the "Japanese forecast" as NY Times says is an example of simulations done by Japan Meteorological Agency for the CTBT Office.

I do not think that the "relative levels of radiation" is scaled against instantaneous maximum values. I think that the animation is consistent as an expression of a simulation.

The problem is that it is just a realization made by one model. So it is illusory to the people who demand real forecasts.

After the earthquake, I hear (in local mailing lists) some scientists capable of this type of simulations refrain from making their results public. They think they cannot be accountable for the consequences. Situations may be different in operational agencies which must do simulations anyway.

(Scientists are likely to be more open if the state of emergency is lower and no one will panic, or if it is higher and we cannot rely on operational agencies.)

Kooiti Masuda said...

Re "Japan Siesmic (sic) Events" infographics:
I agree with the first comment by Steve Bloom. It is misleading to connect events sequentially.

Quakes should be expressed as emerging and fading in place. Christchurch Quake Map works that way very well (except that the circles corresponding to large quakes are too big to be recognized). I remember something similar for Japan but I do not find one immediately. Maybe it is stopped.

This YouTube piece is just maps shown at the web site of Japan Meteorological Agency concatenated. It shows epicenters as crosses, and grades of motion at observing stations as colored circles.

Kooiti Masuda said...

Re "Japan Siesmic (sic) Events" infographics:
I agree with the first comment by Steve Bloom. It is misleading to connect events sequentially.

Quakes should be shown as emerging and fading in place. Christchurch Quake Map does this very well (except that circles representing large quakes are too big to be recognized). I remember I saw something similar in Japan but I do not find one immediately. Maybe it is stopped.

This YouTube piece is simply maps shown at the web site of Japan Meteorological Agency concatenated. Each frame shows the epicenter by a cross and grades of motion at observing stations by colored circles.

Michael Tobis said...

I agree that the movement of the dots was physically meaningless, but it allowed the viewer to adjust their focus. A simple black line would have been better.

As for the concentration maps, it seems to me that the X denotes the maximum, and the maximum was 1.0 in all cases.