A Data Visualization Newsletter
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Our Favorite Stuff
The Toll of Student Debt in the U.S. Economy $ (Possible Paywall)
Student debt has been skyrocketing over the last 50 years, as the cost of higher education continues to outpace inflation. Now, more than 45 million people collectively owe more than $1.6 trillion, a figure nearly equal to the size of the Brazilian economy. President Biden’s plan to cancel significant amounts of this debt will help many Americans, but doesn’t address the underlying problem of how expensive college has become.
Can computer simulations help fix democracy? Politics $
Following the release of the 2020 Census, legislatures across the country started redrawing their state’s congressional district maps. And like usual, accusations of gerrymandering — whereby the leading party crafts a map that helps them stay in power — sprung up immediately. But unlike in decades past, computer simulations are now being used to test whether proposed maps are “fair” in a less biased way.
Data from the SBA shows how the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was able to reach more small businesses. In Baton Rouge, for instance, beauty salons, day care centers, and other vulnerable enterprises in lower-income areas were able to collect more relief aid in 2021. It’s a result of changes to the program that admitted more lenders and prioritized businesses with fewer than 20 employees.
Back to the Moon Science
After nearly half a century, NASA is taking a dramatic step to return humans to the Moon. The space agency’s next generation megarocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), was due to launch today from Kennedy Space Center in Florida before unplanned engine issues delayed the event. Whenever the launch goes ahead, the mission will aim to send an unmanned spacecraft on a six-week journey around the Moon.
Here’s a fun project from the Financial Times that explores the work of Adrian Fisher, who has made a career out of designing garden mazes and labyrinths. In total, he’s designed 700 mazes across 36 countries, including ones at Leeds Castle in Kent and Singapore’s Changi Airport. You can either read the story or try to navigate through one of his mazes yourself.