Data Vis Dispatch,
October 12

The best of last week’s big and small data visualizations

Welcome back to the 17th edition of Data Vis Dispatch! Every week, we’ll be publishing a collection of the best small and large data visualizations we find, especially from news organizations — to celebrate data journalism, data visualization, simple charts, elaborate maps, and their creators.

Recurring topics this week include the oil spill off the coast of California, methane as a cause for climate change, the volcano eruption on La Palma, and, of course, the pandemic.

First, some Covid-19 visualizations. One of the most-discussed topics this week was the quality of vaccination data. The Financial Times calls the U.K. data misleading, while German journalists and politicians are annoyed that it’s impossible to know how many people are vaccinated after all.

Financial Times: Covid response hampered by population data glitches, October 11
NDR: Corona-Impfungen: Quote laut RKI vermutlich deutlich höher, October 7
Politico: Where Biden’s vaccine mandate will hit and miss, October 7
Financial Times: An end to isolation: can Asia-Pacific live with coronavirus?, October 8
Reuters: What we know about COVID-19 in children, October 7

And like almost every week, journalists are visualizing the consequences of the pandemic. This time, fewer flights, more depressions:

Neue Zürcher Zeitung: Statt nach London fliegen die Schweizerinnen und Schweizer lieber in die Ferien nach Mallorca, October 12
The Economist: Covid-19 has led to a sharp increase in depression and anxiety, October 11

Another topic that we cover almost always in the Data Vis Dispatch: The climate. Among others, newsrooms looked at the effect of methane emissions, and how we can change farming to reduce them:

Financial Times: How methane-producing cows leapt to the frontline of climate change, October 10
Bloomberg: The Cheap and Easy Climate Fix That Can Cool the Planet Fast, October 6
Hannah Ritchie: The meat dilemma: Eating lower-carbon meat means killing many more animals, October 11
Neue Zürcher Zeitung: Wo die Welt beim Klimaschutz steht – Kann das 1,5-Grad-Ziel noch erreicht werden?, October 11

Another debated topic in the past week were our modes of transportation and how they affect the climate. The Financial Times published a whole series on electric cars:

Financial Times: How green is your electric vehicle?, October 5
Financial Times: Pick-up trucks and climate politics: will American drivers go electric?, October 6
Libération: Entre le vélo et la voiture, une différence stratosphérique d’émissions de CO2, October 8
Financial Times: Europe’s electricity generation from wind blown off course, October 8

When it comes to the consequences of the climate emergency, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times revisit the heat this summer, and the wildfire disasters:

Los Angeles Times: Heat waves are far deadlier than we think. How California neglects this climate threat, October 7
The New York Times: Inside the Massive and Costly Fight to Contain the Dixie Fire, October 11
Bloomberg: Flood-Threat Assessment Finds Danger Goes Far Beyond U.S. Homes, October 11

In other environmental diasters: the La Palma volcano. Since its eruption on September 19, Spanish newspapers have put out visualizations that got more elaborate with each week:

El País: The underwater ‘hotspot’ feeding La Palma’s volcano will create new islands, October 6
El País: Mire cuál sería el efecto en su ciudad del volcán de La Palma que obligará a redibujar los mapas, October 10
El Mundo: Las zonas arrasadas por el volcán de Cumbre Vieja superan ya a las de la gran erupción de 1949, October 10
El País: ¿Qué ha destruido el volcán de La Palma desde el día de su erupción? Casas por valor de 150 millones, dos colegios y kilómetros de carreteras, October 9

On the other side of the planet, oil is causing trouble in the form of oil spills off the coast of California:

CNN: A timeline of the California oil spill, from the first report to the clean-up, October 10
The Wall Street Journal: Oil Spill Off Huntington Beach Renews Decadeslong Move Away From Offshore Drilling, October 6

Gasoline is also a problem in the U.K. and France, where gas is either more expensive than ever or too high in demand for the available supply:

The New York Times: See How Britain’s Gas Shortages Became a Crisis Overnight, October 8
Les Echos: Le prix du gazole bat son record historique en France, October 11

This week’s visualizations on elections show beautiful scatterplots, clustered circles, and maps in high resolution:

The Economist: Russian elections once again had a suspiciously neat result, October 11
The Washington Post: Wisconsin: The incubator for America’s tribal politics, October 8
ZEIT Online: So hat Ihre Gemeinde gewählt, October 5

In other news that concerns society, we got new (disappointing) data on the gender gap, tax breaks where they shouldn’t be, and some encouraging data: America grows more equal (at least a little bit).

Bloomberg: Here’s the Gender Pay Gap at 10,000 U.K. Employers, October 6
The Washington Post: ‘We’re talking about a big, powerful phenomenon’: Multiracial Americans drive change, October 8
Axios: Axios AM Deep Dive: “Femtech” lifts women’s health – 3. The vanishing access to abortion providers, October 9
Bloomberg: How Hong Kong’s National Security Law Is Changing Everything, October 5
SwissInfo: Paradoxe des flux de capitaux: et si les pays riches étaient financés par les pays émergents?, October 11
Bloomberg: New York’s Real Estate Tax Breaks Are Now a Rich-Kid Loophole, October 8
The Economist: For a change, America grows more equal, October 5
Georgios Karamanis: “A second plot for this week’s #TidyTuesday. A connected scatterplot showing the evolution of hourly wage and total number of employed registered nurses by state from 1998 to 2020.” (Tweet, GitHub), October 8

The U.S. also debates Columbus monuments and other references to him – where they still exist, and where they’re coming down:

Bloomberg: Why There Are Still 149 Statues of Christopher Columbus in the U.S., October 9
The Washington Post: Columbus monuments are coming down, but he’s still honored in 6,000 places across the U.S. Here’s where., October 11

Thanks to the Economist and the Nobel ceremonies, we can show you another chart about a famous historical person, featuring Albert Einstein:

The Economist: The best way to win a Nobel is to get nominated by another laureate, October 9

And in charts concerning sports and entertainment, we got mostly game-related ones today: Twitch users who play games and make a bit of money doing so, football (the British kind) and more football (the American kind):

The Wall Street Journal: Twitch Streamer Earnings Increase for Top Gamers, Data From Hack Shows, October 9
The Economist: TikTok’s rapid growth shows the potency of video, October 7
Financial Times: How a Saudi-led consortium won control of Newcastle United, October 8
The New York Times: 2021 N.F.L. Playoff Picture: Every Team’s Playoff Chances, October 7

What else we found interesting

Jason Forrest: “In preping for a lecture that I’ll give at the end of the month, I’ve been looking into the more recent history of dataviz – mostly the 1970s.” (Tweet), October 12

Help us make this dispatch better! We’d love to hear which newsletters, blogs, or social media accounts we need to follow to learn about interesting projects, especially from less-covered parts of the world (Asia, South America, Africa). Write us at or leave a comment below.