Eurostat, or the art of factoid growing

It saddens me to know that 23-year old Belgium girls are incapable of abstract reasoning, something that everyone in other parts of the world take for granted by the age of 12. That’s why we should praise Eurostat for its dumb-down, infographic-oriented approach to data dissemination. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you … Read more

For the Greek hairdressers, the party’s over

In the beginning of the Greek debt crisis, Greek hairdressers became one of the symbols of a badly managed country (they could retire at 50 with full benefits). But there is more and more interesting things to say about them. Take a look at inflation rates for hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments in Greece. … Read more

A classification of chart types

A few weeks ago, I needed a classification of chart types for my book, and reinventing the wheel was the last thing I wanted to do. I started with Andrew’s classification and the Juice Analytics version. It’s a good starting point, but I couldn’t fit it into my work, so I decided to design my own … Read more

Chart redraw: Troops Vs. Cost (Time Magazine)

Time Magazine published a very boring combo dual-axes chart with a broken scale. Most of the time these charts beg for a connected scatterplot, so I made the one above. The original chart was something like this: I’m sorry, Time mag,  but my chart tells hands down a much more interesting story. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column … Read more

Why I don’t like bar charts

Pies charts are fun to use, but it’s almost impossible for grown-ups to find a good reason for using them at work. So your first, safe-for-work choice is a bar chart. The boring bar chart. I don’t like bar charts. There, I said it. This is a little rant about bar charts, but also about … Read more

Strange L-shaped trends

There is not much of a story in the expected evolution of US population, according to the United Nations estimates and projections (1950-2100): (You’ll see in a moment why there is a vertical line in 2005.) Things get a little more interesting if you split population by age groups. You can see that population is … Read more

Making Excel maps without VBA

If you want to make a choropleth/thematic map in Excel without programming perhaps conditional formatting is all you need. Here is how to do it: Select a few hundred columns and rows; Set width and height to 3 (more or less, depending on the resolutions you want); Set font size to 1; Place a map … Read more

Chart: Education vs. GDP in Europe

(click to enlarge) I have a single and very simple resolution for 2013: make more charts. Simple charts, just to play with the data. Here is the first one. I like scatter plots with a time dimension, even though data points often look like drunken sperm. When you plot education and wealth in Europe, you … Read more