Simple tips everyone needs to know to get information across as clearly as possible

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Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

Data is more widely available and useful than ever before. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, data scientists are among the fastest growing professions in the US. Of course, with the increasing relevance of analysis, it’s more important than ever to communicate information effectively, and data visualization is one of the most powerful ways to do so.

While data visualization is common, it’s not always used to its fullest potential. So here is 6 basic tips to make your visualizations as effective and easy to interpret as possible.


The electric vehicle market has been flooded with start-ups. So which ones are for real and which ones aren’t?

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Photo by Jengtingchen on Wikimedia Commons

The success of Tesla has inspired a variety of hopeful imitators; companies hoping they can reproduce the formula that has led Tesla to become the most highly valued company in the world. However, while starting a new company is difficult in any industry, it’s particularly risky in the automotive industry.

In the early days of EVs, two start-ups emerged hoping to shake up the car industry. The Department of Energy awarded Tesla a valuable loan that rescued the company before it began mass production. While few remember now, there was a second upstart electric vehicle (EV) company that also received a loan: Fisker Automotive. After producing less than 2,500 plug-in hybrids, Fisker went bankrupt, defaulting on its loan in the process. …


Analyzing inflation targeting in 37 countries to see who has been successful and who hasn’t

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Image by Dan Smith on Wikimedia Commons

In 1990, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand officially announced that they would begin to target inflation. In a global first, New Zealand would not attempt to keep the annual rate of inflation between 1% and 3%. The Bank of Canada would follow the year after, and today inflation targets are used in dozens of countries around the world, including almost all advanced economies.

However, while some central banks have been fairly successful, others have struggled to hit their target.


Analyzing the last ten NBA drafts to determine who drafts well and who doesn’t

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Photo by Chensiyuan on Wikimedia Commons

Drafting is one of the most crucial elements of a successful long-term franchise. Fueled by a series of great draft picks, the San Antonio Spurs went on to make the playoffs for a record-tying 22 seasons while winning five championships in the process. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Sacramento Kings are currently riding a 14-year playoff drought — the second longest in NBA history. Unsurprisingly, this analysis ranks them among the teams least successful at drafting.

In this analysis, I have created a metric that scores each draft pick by comparing them against the players taken after them (the full methodology is available at the end). After applying this over the last 10 years (the drafts from 2010 to 2019), we can now measure which teams have been successful in their drafting and what teams have not. …


Investigating the popular claim that there is more slaves now than at any other point in history

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It’s a claim that has become almost common knowledge, repeated by countless prominent media outlets such as the BBC, the Toronto Star, and the Guardian. The claim is featured prominently on the website of 50 for Freedom:

MYTH: RELATIVELY FEW PEOPLE ARE VICTIMS OF FORCED LABOUR

FACT: There are more people in slavery today than at any other time in history.

It’s a startling claim, one that has captivated and moved people around the world. Unfortunately, it’s also a claim resting on relatively little evidence.

While it likely goes without saying, it’s worth clarifying anyways: nothing in this article is intended to downplay the severity or brutality of modern slavery, nor to discredit the organizations that work against it. Of course, I agree with the unfortunate reality that many people worldwide are subject to forced labor. This article simply seeks to determine if the common claim that more slaves exist today than at any other point in history is accurate or not. …


Compared to its peers, the US response has been a failure in every way

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As it stands today, the US leads in the world in both confirmed cases of COVID-19 (with over 8.5 million) and deaths due to COVID-19 (about 230,000) — and it’s only getting worse. It’s a tragedy of astounding proportions, and sadly, it’s one that was largely avoidable.

In the early stages of the pandemic, many countries were caught off-guard. The virus spread to unprepared European countries first, places like Italy were among the hardest hit. By the time these countries introduced stringent lockdowns to curb the pandemic, hospitals were already over-run with COVID cases. …


Polls were wrong in 2016. But it’s not likely they will be this time

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We’ve heard this story before — Joe Biden is ahead in the polls and looks likely to come out ahead on election day. Presently, most polls give him a national lead of 10 points or more and he carries solid leads in most swing states as well. But after Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 despite a sizable lead in the polls, many people are hesitant to show any confidence in Biden’s chances this time around. Some supporters of Donald Trump — including campaign representatives — are stating the faulty polls narrative as fact going into the election. …


Formerly solid Red states are looking increasingly purple

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The Presidential election is nearing, and things aren’t looking good for the Republican party. FiveThirtyEight gives the Democrats an 80% chance of taking the White House; the Economist is even more bullish, estimating an 89% chance. While there is still enough time for a large shift, things are looking increasingly bleak for Donald Trump. Worse yet, 538 also gives Democrats the edge to take control of the Senate (63% chance).

For Republicans, it may be easy to write this off election as voter pushback against a somewhat unpopular Donald Trump. This view — that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the party or their strategy — is convincing in its simplicity. However, a closer look at the number shows a more troubling trend. …


A look into the finances of one of the world’s most enigmatic companies

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Tesla has become one of the most controversial companies in the world. Critics have long lambasted the company for running large losses, producing comparatively few vehicles, and falling short of certain promises.

However, despite this, Tesla’s share price has skyrocketed from under $30 in 2010 to nearly $1,400 today. Despite producing much fewer vehicles, Tesla has overtaken Toyota has the most valuable automaker in the world:


A look into the economics of billionaires

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In response to rising inequality of wealth and income, many people have promoted policies aimed at redistributing wealth away from the ultra-rich. Some have taken it even further:

Sanders isn’t the only one to make this declaration. Robert Reich (former Secretary of Labor, and a prominent left-wing voice) has made a similar declaration, while UK politicians have also joined in.

So, realistically, what does this mean? And would it be feasible for America to eliminate billionaires?

Without question, the US has relatively high income inequality. The most common measure of inequality is the Gini index — where a score of 0 would indicate perfect equality (everyone has the exact same income) and a score of 1 would income one person has all of the income. While no country falls on either extreme of 0 or 1, there is large differences between many countries. …

About

Brayden Gerrard

Data Science | Economics | NBA

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