Charting Presidential Mascot Races — And Teddy’s Odd Inability To Win

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

Washington Nationals fans have all seen the spectacle, the fourth-inning “race” featuring the Mount Rushmore mascots: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. They trot around the stadium wearing period costumes and huge caricature masks. Hilarity ensues.

The first three presidents in the last seven seasons have had their fair share of wins in the races, which are known for hijinks that make their outcomes unpredictable. The latter president, a man remembered for his “robust masculinity” and adventurous spirit, has been (tragically?) shut out. He just can’t seem to win, no matter how much of a lead he takes from time to time. He gets distracted, or someone trips him, or he fades — or something else prevents him from crossing the finish line first.

Here’s how the other presidents have fared since the races began in 2006*. Abe won nearly 60 percent of the races in 2008, but the mascots’ winning percentages have leveled over the years. George is leading this season so far, through July 8 at least:

WHY, though, can’t Teddy get a win?? These word trees, made with Many Eyes, parse the short highlights of each contest since 2008 released by Let Teddy Win, a blog devoted to the races. Using the interactive version, you can search for specific words or phrases and see words around them in context.

Teddy “fades”:

Teddy “stops”:

Teddy “is”:

Someday he’ll win. I just hope I’m there to see it.

* Excluding “ties,” non-presidential mascot winners and extra-inning bonus races.

The Health Care Ruling as a ‘Word Tree’

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Policy & Politics

As everyone knows by now, the U.S. Supreme Court today essentially upheld the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. I created a word tree to find specific words in the document and see how they fit in context with those around them. Here are phrases that begin with “federal power”:

Here are phrases that end with “federal power”:

Phrases that begin with “cost”:

And, finally, “tax”:

The tool allows you to select words and change the view by drilling down:

Check out the interactive version, and try out your own phrases.

How ‘State of the Union’ Speeches Changed Over Time

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Policy & Politics

Tonight President Obama gives his third “State of the Union” speech, an address that dates back to George Washington. Over time, the length and format of the speech has changed, according to the The American Presidency Project

Bubbles in this view are sized the represent the number of speeches given by each president, with colors representing format (purple = oral; green = written).

This shows the total number of words used during each president’s tenure in both formats. Teddy Roosevelt needed 174,000 to deliver his thoughts, leading all presidents. 

A better view is to look at the average number of words used, given that presidents have had varying term lengths over time. Jimmy Carter led all presidents, with an average of 33,000 words, though that’s skewed by one long written address as he left office.

Bill Clinton had the longest average oral speeches since 1966, at 1 hour and 14 minutes. Richard Nixon gave the shortest speeches, averaging about 35 minutes. 

View interactive version | Download data

Another View of La Liga Stats

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

Here’s another look at discipline in the Spanish La Liga soccer league, this time focusing on team-by-team totals. 

This bubble chart represents yellow card totals by club: 

With Many Eyes, you can toggle the view to show red card stats by team (bubbles are sized based on the proportion of all red cards, so don’t compare the two charts together): 

Spanish Soccer Discipline

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

Discipline varies widely in the Spanish first-division soccer league, or La Liga. These stats from last season group yellow cards violations by team and player. Real Zaragoza received 63 yellow cards. Sevilla FC, conversely, received just seven. The two marque teams in the league — Real Madrid and Barcelona — received 31 and 9, respectively. 

Click the image to explore the interactive treemap on Many Eyes: 

Data Source: ESPN 

UPDATE: These data only reflect the most penalized players, so the team totals aren’t accurate. This post visualizes totals by team. 

How The American Diet Has Changed Since 1980

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

Thanks to the U.S. Census Bureau, I learned this week that Americans eat on average about 21 pounds of rice each year — and they wash it down with about 13 pounds of ice cream, apparently.

I wondered, what else do Americans eat, and how has that changed over time? Using the bureau’s “Per Capita Consumption of Major Food Commodities” report, I created this treemap, which visualizes hierarchical data structures that have categories and subcategories.

Red meat, for example, is a category of food that consists of beef, lamb and mutton, pork and veal. The same goes for sweeteners: sugar, corn sweeteners and high-fructose corn syrum. And so forth.

Thanks to Many Eyes, the treemap shows which categories of food are consumed at the highest volumes, and also the proportion of the various sub groups. It also shows how that consumption has changed over time.

This view shows category and food volumes by sizes and change with colors (orange represents growth; blue represent declines):

Right click on a category to zoom in and isolate it on the map. Doing so on sweeteners, for example, shows that we still consume lots of them (173 pounds a year on average), but that sugar consumption has declined by 22 percent since 1980. (That’s largely because it’s imported and expensive). We also see that high-fructose corn syrup consumption has increased 180 percent. (That’s largely because it is widely used as a sugar substitute in processed foods and soft drinks). It’s no wonder that products like the phenq diet pill are so popular in America. Hover over the foods to see values:

Go check out the interactive version, which is easier to understand. Experiment with views by switching the “Category” and “Commodity” tags at the top of the map. You can also change the years to examine change over shorter periods of time.

Download data |  Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Note: The treemap only includes data for food products measured in pounds, not gallons (milk) or pints (cream). 

FOIA-ing the White House

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

Last month I filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the White House asking for a list of President Obama’s official trips since he took office. I’m seeking the data not for my day job, but as a personal visualization opportunity (and because presidential travel guru Mark Knoller won’t share his famous database with me).

Under the Freedom of Information Act, I’m seeking a historical electronic listing of trips made by President Obama since he took office in January 2009. Specifically, I’m seeking a database,spreadsheet or comma-delimited text file disclosing his travel withthe following fields, if maintained: Trip ID, date, address(City/State) of trip destination(s), and any notes or descriptions of the event.

I’m not seeking PDFs or paper printouts. I’m not seeking data on future trips. I’m not seeking any fields that contain security information, or information about the president’s family (if they accompanied him on any trip). If you do not maintain some of the fields I’ve requested, I will amend my request accordingly.

Please let me know if you or your office need clarification, or if you believe some or all of the records might fall under a FOIA exception. I’m willing to discuss amending my request, if needed, especially if doing so would prevent a denial of my request, reduce the burden on your staff or speed the release of the records.

Today, I got this letter from the Office of Management and Budget, the agency that handles the White House’s open-records requests: 

At least I know they’re processing the request. As it turns out, OMB is pretty quick when it comes to handling FOIA requests. From 2008-2010, the agency closed its request cases in just over a month on average. So, there’s hope that some day soon I’ll know whether I get the data. I’m still not too hopeful, though.

Here’s a comparison of some major federal agencies and the time it took each to process requests during fiscal years 2008-10: 

View larger version


Romantic Comedy Cash

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

I generally loathe* romantic comedy films, but plenty of others love them, apparently. They represent only about five percent of the market share in Hollywood (dramas lead with 20 percent), but Romcoms this year have grossed more than $360 million, according to The Numbers, a site that tracks all things Hollywood.

This bubble chart shows the top grossing films in 2011 as of last week (click for an interactive version). ‘Just Go With It’ leads — for now: 

Download Data | Made with Many Eyes

* Full disclosure: The wifey and I saw ‘Friends with Benefits’ today. Not bad.

Comparing Lebron’s Career vs. 2011 Finals Performance

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

One of the key story lines in this year’s NBA finals has been the play of Miami Heat superstar Lebron James, whose sluggish performance has fans and reporters scratching their heads. 

This interactive bubble chart compares James’ per-game statistics by career, playoffs and this year’s finals. Clearly he’s underperforming by almost every common metric, scoring fewer points, getting to the free-throw line less often and making a lower percentage of his field-goal and three-point shots. 

Is the Dallas Mavericks defense that good, or is something else going on? Explore for yourself

Source: | Data | Made with Many Eyes

Shaq’s Career Stats

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

Shaquille O’Neal is ending his 19-year NBA career, according to his Twitter feed

Shaq ooout. #ShaqRetires

This scatterplot shows how the 7-foot-1 star’s field goal performance has declined over time, as O’Neal moved from Orlando to LA and, ultimately, Boston. The Y-axis shows the number of field goals made, and the X-axis shows his age (view the interactive version):

Use the drop-down menus to change views. This one shows that Shaq’s field goal percentage improved with age, even as his output declined: