The Health Care Ruling as a ‘Word Tree’

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.

Charting SCOTUS Decisions Over Time

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to release rulings on key cases over the next week, including the much-awaited decision on the Affordable Care Act.

The court has seen its workload decrease over the last 50 years. Last year, for example, the court issued just 71 rulings, the fewest since at least 1946, the earliest date in the Supreme Court Database. (It decided 197 cases in 1967). This chart shows the trend over time:

Visualizing the MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference

I’ve spent the last few days in Boston, helping the Knight Foundation visualize data about attendees at its Civic Media Conference. Here is some of that work, which Knight has posted on its blog:

First, I wanted to know when people applied for the Knight News Challenge on networks, the winners of which were announced yesterday. Apparently some of the applicants are procrastinators:

This morning I charted more than 2,600 tweets posted with #civicmedia hashtag yesterday. Tweets by the hour:

Tweets by the minute:

And the people who posted most with the hashtag:

I also spent some time looking at the demographics of the attendees:

By state:

By domain name type and gender:

Some of the visualizations focused on the panel discussions. For a panel featuring DC’s HomicideWatch, I charted five decades of homicides in the city:

And for a session featuring Paul Salopek, a reporter planning to spend years walking the historic path of human migration from Asia to South America, I mapped migration by country last year:

Inside U.S. Prisons — From Above

A few years ago, the great Niran Babalola and I dreamed up a news app that included all inmates and prison units in Texas. We built it because the state’s database was perpetually down, and we thought the public — victims, prosecutors and inmate families, especially — should have a reliable view inside their state’s prison system. One of my favorite features was a Google satellite image of each prison unit.

Here’s what Texas’ Death Row looks like from the sky, for example:

Today I discovered a nifty new (to me) site that has similar views of most United States prisons:

The United States is the prison capital of the world. This is not news to most people. When discussing the idea of mass incarceration, we often trot out numbers and dates and charts to explain the growth of imprisonment as both a historical phenomenon and a present-day reality.

But what does the geography of incarceration in the US actually look like? Prison Map is my attempt to answer that question.

Check it out:

(via Alan Palazzolo @zzolo)

Mapping Drought Conditions

USA Today reports that the country hasn’t been this “dry” in five years: 

Still reeling from devastating drought that led to at least $10 billion in agricultural losses across Texas and the South in 2011, the nation is enduring more unusually parched weather.

The map uses the same data we at NPR used recently to map conditions in Texas, which endured the worst drought in its history last year. The map shows the full country, for context, and allows users to see an animated view week-by-week from summer 2010 to last month. Check it out

Ranking TechRaking Tweets

Dozens of technologists and journalists today descended on Google’s beautiful Mountain View, Calif., campus for a discussion about technology and journalism. The conference, organized by the Center for Investigative Reporting, led to some prolific tweeting, as one might expect.

I used a simple script to ingest the 1,500-plus tweets with the search API into a sqlite database. This chart, made with Google Docs’ chart tools (when in Rome…), shows the top 25 most prolific tweeters (as of 4:30 p.m. pacific) who used the #techraking and #techrakingcir hash tags.

Congrats, Ian Hill, you top the list (which includes, I think, some spammers): 

This is just a quick chart made in a rush. Feel free to download and check out the pipe-delimited data for yourself: #techraking | #techrakingcir. Send me your visualizations or thoughts, and I’ll post ‘em here. See the full list of Twitter user counts here.