Shark attacks

October 7, 2012 § 1 Comment

shark attacks

Shark attacks loom large in our imaginations even though the chance of being killed by a shark is infinitesimally small. Our obsession with shark statistics provides fodder for compelling charts, such as the classic infographic by the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinal shown above or the more sparse, image-driven chart below.

Visual journalists most frequently go to the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural history for shark-attack data. The site posts an annual report that includes trends by location and circumstance.
Here are some examples of terrifying details charted in the report.

Another source, the similarly named Shark Attack File, provides less analysis but greater detail on each shark-attack report.
Here’s an example from the National Post of how you can use these stats. The Post’s team created an icon for each recorded attack over the past 100 years.


West Nile virus

August 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

west nile virus

As I post this, you don’t have to worry much about West Nile virus, unless you happen to live in Dallas County, Tex., where 155 people have caught the disease and 10 have died so far this year. I know this because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks West Nile virus closely and reports every case where it has been found in mosquitoes, birds, horses and humans.

The Wall Street Journal map above reflects data from the CDC that can be found on this Web page:

If you want to create a more local map or graphic, the CDC goes into greater geographic detail, as you can see from this map on the CDC West Nile virus pages.

Space launches

April 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

FAA commercial space launches year in review

Each year, the Federal Aviation Administration counts up all the space launches around the world and releases a report with loads of detail on  how many launches each country made, what they were for, and even the type of rockets they used.

Each report only gives information for the previous year, so if you want to show a trend over time, you would have to go through each annual report to gather the info. You can find them here:

The big takeaway from this year’s report is that China has passed the U.S. in the annual number of space launches for the first time.

faa commercial space launch year in review

I haven’t had a chance to use info from this report in a graphic, but I’m keeping it in my back pocket.


Freeze! Zap! Bye-Bye, Fat

November 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

This Wall Street Journal infographic (made by Maryanne Murray) on how calories are converted into fat is an instant classic. Click on the image for a larger version.

Below is the link to the story on


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