Recent posts

A Century Of Global Plane Crashes

Investigators still want to know what caused a civilian airliner to crash Tuesday morning in the French Alps. The incident, which likely killed 144 passengers and six crew members aboard the Airbus A320 destined for Germany, is one of at least 17 major crashes this year, according to the Bureau of Aircraft Accident Archives.

The group maintains a detailed database of each crash back to 1918, the early days of flight, allowing users to search 22,000 cases by year, operator, plane type and cause, among several other variables. This one is at least the 18th involving an Airbus A320, according to the database.

The chart below shows the number of crashes catalogued by the group during that time. You can see a spike in 1944, during World War II, when many military aircraft went down in battle, resulting in more than 4,300 casualties:

Since then, the number of crashes peaked in 1978 and has declined over time. There were about 120 crashes last year, according to the bureau’s records.

How’s The Weather In Seoul? Pretty Temperate. (Sorry, Austin Friends)

Note: My family recently relocated to Seoul, where my wife is working as a foreign correspondent for NPR. This post is the first in an occasional series profiling the peninsula’s demographics and politics (and occasionally weather).

I enjoy Austin, and I still consider it “home,” even after moving to Washington, D.C., and, now, Seoul. But one of my top complaints about the Texas capital is the blazing summer heat. And by “summer” I mean March to October, essentially. In 2011, the year we left, there were 69 days in which the high temperature reached triple digits — only tying a record.

So, yes, I’ve enjoyed D.C.’s relatively temperate weather, despite the occasional winter snow or those few sticky days in August. But I wasn’t sure what to expect in Seoul, other than I suspected the winters were chilly. Turns out the temperatures are much like those in D.C., which makes sense because both cities are near the 38th north parallel above the Equator.

These simple charts show the average high and low temperatures in each place:

Tomorrow, I’ll chart the average number of rainy days — and the average monthly rainfall totals — in each place. Hint: Summer is the rainy season in Seoul.

Sources: WorldWeatherOnline.com (average temps.); Highcharts JS (charting library); ColorBrewer (color palette).

Charting The Premier League Season

Last fall I posted some Tufte-inspired sparkline charts to visualize how Major League Baseball teams fared during the 2012 season.

I’ve created something similar for clubs in the English Premier League, where the season is winding down with Manchester United holding a strong lead in points. This chart shows how they’ve done it — by winning, not just drawing, with their opponents. United has 21 wins so far, while their cross-town rivals — Manchester City — have just 15.

Matches that end in draws are still important to a club’s success in the league, but I wanted to see their performance in wins and losses. The lines on the chart represent the total number of games over .500 for all 20 clubs. Click here to see the interactive version.



Comparing President Obama’s Job Approval Rates Among Different American Groups

President Obama’s approval rating has crept just above 50 percent, his best position in a year, the latest Gallup survey figures show. The Washington Examiner adds some historical context:

Obama’s numbers peaked at 53 percent in the last week of May [2011], but then dipped below 50 percent in June [2011]. His approval ratings sank to a low of 38 percent in October 2011, before returning to 50 percent in mid-April 2011.

Click on the image to interact with the charts.

Using Gallup’s weekly trends data — which can be sliced into groups based on religion, gender and party identification, among other categories — I created numerous interactive charts to show the trends since his presidency began in January 2009.

The charts reveal some interesting, though perhaps not unexpected, trends. First, of course, there’s a clear partisan divide: 83 percent of Democrats approve of the president’s performance while just 13 percent of Republicans approve, according to the most recent weekly trends data provided by Gallup (through April 29).

But other differences are evident.  Only 40 percent of people who told Gallup that they attend church weekly approve. Compare that with 54 percent approval among people who rarely go to church. Older and wealthier people also approve at lower rates.

I’ve broken the numbers out into 21 different area charts. Explore them here.

A warning: The page is a bit sluggish in Internet Explorer. I haven’t had time to fix that. So, click here to get a proper browser.

UPDATE: I added fresh data on May 27, so the graphics are current. Check them out.

Charting Our Nightmare Water Bill

The folks at DC Water have had trouble updating our account since we closed on a new house in January. They figured it out recently, though, and we got a four-month bill over the weekend. It was a whopping $460. This, even though our previous bills with the agency — in a comparably sized rental house down the street — were typically $30-50 a month.

There must be a mistake, right? I called the agency this morning and got a data dump of our daily meter readings (yes, they have the technology to capture this daily, but they have trouble moving customers).

Armed with the data, I built this interactive line chart, which shows our daily water usage in the last 97 days. Notice the spike in mid-March. The city says we used 30,000 gallons of water in a four-day period, or about 80 percent of our overall use since January. (We average about 420 gallons a day with these outliers. If you remove the spike, we used about 80 gallons per day).

Clearly, something went wrong:

See larger, interactive version made with Highcharts.

PGA Tour Driving Distance Increased By 30 Yards Since ’80

PGA Tour players hit the ball 30 years farther off the tee now than they did three decades ago, according to the tour’s statistics. That’s most likely because their equipment, fitness and coaching have improved dramatically over that time. 

These charts show a year-by-year average of all 980 players active on the tour since 1980, as well as the trend for Scott Verplank and Phil Mickelson individually.

(See larger interactive versions).

Data Source: PGA Tour

Charting Tiger Woods’ Career

Inspired by Tiger Woods’ victory on Sunday, I decided to chart some basic statistics from his 17-year PGA Tour career, including this one on how often he finished in the top 10 at tournaments: 

See all the charts.

The PGA site has tons of year-by-year data for each PGA tour player since 1980, including every imaginable question (putting, driving, greens in regulation, and many more). So this is just the minimum of what’s possible with golf statistics. 

Anything you’d like to see?