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The Moksha Roundup

Issue #2, Feb 8 - 14, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Moksha Roundup! This small newsletter is a weekly roundup of the latest and greatest in the data visualization/design/visual storytelling world. Every week, we compile our favorite projects from journalists, storytellers, and technologists and share them with you.

In our second week, we share great visual storytelling pieces from FiveThirtyEight, the Pudding, FlowingData, Omar Nema, and The Economist. If you’re not subscribed already and want to see more in the future, sign up below:

01. The Lasting Legacy Of Redlining

By FiveThirtyEight

The Lasting Legacy Of Redlining by FiveThirtyEight

In this piece, visual journalists Ryan Best and Elena Mejía look at the current racial makeup of formerly redlined cities and showcase how persistent segregation has been. They examine 138 cities, comparing those cities’ neighborhoods Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) grades, and the neighborhood’s current racial makeup.

Using a series of dot density maps with cleverly simple stacked bar charts underneath, the project uses visualization to show just how segregated these redlined neighborhoods still are. Finally, the piece offers an interactive tool that allows you to search cities (with HOLC maps) to see the legacy of redlining in your city.

Visit the piece →

What Makes Writing More Readable? by The Pudding

In this article, Rebecca Monteleone and Jamie Brew elucidate the precise mechanisms by which textual articulation is made more lucid. That is to say, they explain how to make writing easier to read.

With research and prose brought to life by Michelle McGhee, the team uses clear graphics, interactive tools, and simple translations to showcase the unnecessarily complex ways people write, and easy tricks to make our writing simpler.

The cherry on top? The ability to toggle between complex and simple writing styles throughout. Any paragraph can be swapped for its more-or-less readable counterpart; or you can swap complex for plain language globally via the “p” key.

Visit the piece →

Trendiest Baby Name Every Year Since 1930, in the U.S. by FlowingData

Nathan Yau, in his blog FlowingData, created some stunning and revealing visualizations of the trendiest American baby names since 1930.

Methodologically, he judges each year’s “trendiest” baby name as the one that experienced the greatest relative percentage increase year-over-year. This reveals some interesting names (that you might have never heard of) and others that were a sign of the times; in 2019, the trendiest male baby name was Ermias—in 2008, it was Kanye.

Visually, the graphics are a reminder of the power of effective and intentional annotations; used sparingly and in the right places, annotations highlight interesting insights and help you understand the current visualization better.

Visit the piece →

04. How We Gaze

By Omar Nema

How We Gaze by Omar Nema

We loved this creative and interesting project from Omar Nema. How We Gaze is “a meta-gallery that shows how individuals gaze at pieces of artwork.” It uses crowdsourced eye-tracking sessions to study and visualize how individuals look—or “gaze”—at artwork.

Upon entering the Gallery, you can see how each piece of artwork (from the Smithsonian Insitute’s Open Access Collection) is viewed by users. The piece is blurred to draw attention to where—on the aggregate—viewer’s eyes are drawn. You can even turn on your webcam and record your own gaze to contribute.

Visit the piece →

💡 Want to make something like this? Check out these tools:

What Spotify data show about the decline of English by The Economist

We’re late to the party on this one, but we’re still loving The Economist’s analysis of music trends across the world, and what those trends suggest about English’s prominence in popular culture.

The team at The Economist examined how listeners in different countries engaged with over 13,000 hit songs from Spotify, spanning 70 languages. After grouping countries into three categories—English-language groups, local-language groups, and Spanish-language groups—they show how English is declining in its popularity (across all three groups).

The project spans the entire spectrum of visual complexity, from simple area charts to a complex and interactive stripchart matrix of sorts (although we don’t think there’s an existing name for the chart that they created). Wear headphones, and dive deep into exploring the landscape of music across the world in this great piece.

Visit the piece →

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