A Data Visualization Newsletter
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Our Favorite Stuff
The scale of California's largest-ever wildfire Environment
2018 is shaping up to be another catastrophic year for wildfires. A host of fires are currently raging in California, including the massive Mendocino Fire complex. At more than 300,000 acres, it now stands as the largest recorded wildfire in state history. Axios’s Lazaro Gamio produced this time-lapse map to help us comprehend the size and scale of the fire.
Here’s an impressive piece of music-themed viz from Sahil Chinoy and Jessia Ma at the New York Times. Using Spotify and Billboard data, the duo examines how summer hits went from employing a variety of musical styles in the ‘80s and ‘90s, to a formulaic style reminiscent of acclaimed songwriter Max Martin in the ‘00s. (Also see this article from last week’s newsletter that focused just on #1 songs and reached a slightly different conclusion.)
Life After Death on Wikipedia Culture
The sudden deaths of celebrities like Prince, Stephen Hawking, and Anthony Bourdain over the last several years have left an undeniable impression on the public consciousness. But how do we quantify the renewed interest in them and their work? Russell Goldenberg proposes a new metric: Wikipedia page views. Turns out that the death of a celebrity like Prince can cause a larger spike than an NBA Finals, presidential inauguration, and a royal wedding.
Global cities house-price index Economy
In the lead up to the 2008 recession, housing prices increased at a dangerous pace and then collapsed. Now, in an era of increasing urbanization and globalization worldwide, prices in many cities seem to be on a similar trajectory. Property values in 35 of 44 cities have surpassed pre-recession levels according to The Economist’s house-price index, with values in some cities (i.e. Hong Kong) sitting nearly 150% higher.
Thirty years ago, the average age of first-time mothers was fairly universal across the United States. Since then, the age of first-time mothers has diverged substantially according to this analysis by the New York Times. First-time mothers in liberal, urban areas like San Francisco and New York were an average of 31 in 2016, while in places like Todd County, S.D., they were less than 20. Education and social values play a huge factor in this emerging gap.