More Sophisticated Graphics In Today’s New York Times

Mass shootings versus number of guns by country

Mass shootings versus guns per capita by country

“When the world looks at the United States, it sees a land of exceptions […] But why, they ask, does it experience so many mass shootings?[…] Perhaps, some speculate, it is because American society is unusually violent. Or its racial divisions have frayed the bonds of society. Or its citizens lack proper mental care under a health care system that draws frequent derision abroad. These explanations share one thing in common: Though seemingly sensible, all have been debunked by research on shootings elsewhere in the world. Instead, an ever-growing body of research consistently reaches the same conclusion. The only variable that can explain the high rate of mass shootings in America is its astronomical number of guns.”

The source for both charts is Adam Lankford from the University of Alabama. The charts Include countries with more than 10 million people and at least one mass public shooting with four or more victims.

Sourced from The New York Times

Michel Baudin‘s comments: Six months ago, I was bemoaning the absence of scatterplots in business analytics and more recently complimenting the New York Times for the sophistication of its graphics. Manufacturing professionals should not be shy about using scatterplots, as they have learned to do in Middle School. Here, they are used to highlight outliers, which isn’t the most common application. What this article — and these charts — show is how the tool can be used not just to solve technical problems but to inform a political debate as well.-

Where Have The Scatterplots Gone?

What passes for “business analytics” (BI), as advertised by software vendors, is limited to basic and poorly designed charts that fail to show interactions between variables, even though the use of scatterplots and elementary regression is taught to American middle schoolers and to shop floor operators participating in quality circles.

But the software suppliers seem to think that it is beyond the cognitive ability of executives. Technically, scatterplots are not difficult to generate, and there are even techniques to visualize more complex interactions than between pairs of variables, like trendalyzers or 3D scatterplots. And, of course, visualization is only the first step. You usually need other techniques to base any decision on data.

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