Data & Graphics

Medical Plans and Scenario Comparisons in One Sheet

Michael Data & Graphics November 6, 2018

The U.S. health insurance is like a maze. Projecting your next year’s health needs already invites a ton of anxiety. Then variables such as deductibles, out-of-pocket maxes, coinsurance levels and others work together in such an intricate system that it is never a straight forward A+B-C*D%. It could easily be hours, or even days, of post-dinner homework running the numbers. This year, however, I developed my own tool, a spreadsheet, to help me and my family do the math magic. So from this year onward, the math part of our health insurance shopping will be no more than a few minutes, even comparing a dozen scenarios. I also validated our pick last year using this spreadsheet with hospital bills for having a baby and we saved $3-4,000 compared with all three other plans.

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TD GIFs & Clips [data guzzler]

Michael Animation, Data & Graphics, Photo July 26, 2017

There is a little bit of buzz lately of China’s ascendance, even on innovation. And here are a couple of numbers from a NYT article about urban China leapfrogging on mobile payments (2016 data via iResearch):

112
United States ($ billion)
5500
China ($ billion)

This, below, is my personally preferred way of looking at this, thanks to GIF and data visualization and things that I love doing at TD Bank now:

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Air Quality Action Day? Worry Not, NYers!

Michael Animation, Data & Graphics, Photo, Video July 22, 2017

If you have never heard of an air quality action day, you are most likely a perfectly typical resident in the U.S. who is also lucky, the latter of which you may have been taking for granted. Because a hazy day like July 20, 2017 in Manhattan almost never happens. (Hazy is not the same as “foggy.”)

Manhattan skyline July 20 vs 21, 2017 seen from Queens

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GIFs: California Reservoirs From Drought to Deluge

Michael Animation, Data & Graphics, Photo April 20, 2017

A five-year drought in California ended spectacularly this winter, with the state emerging from one of its driest periods on record by enduring one of its wettest. Reservoirs, lakes, and mountainsides are now brimming with water and snow, though scientists caution that the unseen reservoirs—underground aquifers—are a long way from having the same bounty that is visible on the land surface. [Full post on NASA Earth Observatory]

Trinity Lake, the third largest reservoir in the state (after Lake Oroville and Shasta Lake). The artificial lake in northern California connects to the Trinity River and is part of the Sacramento basin. On April 29, 2015, Trinity stood at 59 percent of its historical average level for that date; by April 2, 2017, it stood at 114 percent.

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GIFs: Shanghai Adds 10 Manhattans

Michael Animation, Data & Graphics, Photo April 1, 2017

Before I did my googling and math, I couldn’t believe it but here it is: Shanghai has added as much land as 10 Manhattans over the past couple of decades. Here are some satellite images as witness:

The number of people living in Shanghai is not the only thing about the city that has increased dramatically since the 1980s. The amount of land available to its residents has grown as well. By building seawalls just off the coast to capture outflowing sediment, and by using dredging equipment that sucks up and moves large volumes of sand, Shanghai has added well over 580 square kilometers (220 square miles) of land to its shorelines since 1985.

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图数汇~2017-02刊

Michael Data & Graphics, Photo February 14, 2017

每个小方块代表10亿美元,绿色部分是美国对中国的出口总额,红色为中国对美国的出口总额,2015年中美贸易顺差达到3650亿美元。 Read More

Numbers in January 2017

Michael Data & Graphics, Photo January 14, 2017

Share of time spent by US social media users by, respectively, smartphone | desktop/laptop | tablet (Nielsen, Q3 2016):

18-34 (millennials): 78% | 12% |10%
35-49:                         69% | 18% | 13%
50+:                            63% | 25% | 12%

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Red Alert for Beijing Air Looks More Like Orange on NASA Map

Michael Animation, Data & Graphics, Photo December 23, 2016

北京12月中的空气污染红色警报再次牵动了大家脆弱的心肺,但是在NASA的空气污染色阶图中,北京天津似乎也就是个橙色级别,再看看石家庄才叫红得骄傲呢。NASA原文及滚动条互动图点这里

Smog was particularly bad in cities like Beijing, which declared a five-day pollution “red alert” on December 16. The Chinese capital reached dangerous levels of more than 400 micrograms per cubic meter. In Shijiazhuang, capital of the Hebei province, airborne pollutants surpassed World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines by 100 times on December 19. (A safe level is 10-25 micrograms per cubic meter of PM2.5, according to the WHO.)

Fine, airborne particulate matter (PM) that is smaller than 2.5 microns (about one thirtieth the width of a human hair) can cause lung damage. Industrial practices like fossil fuel burning and agricultural fires produce most PM2.5aerosol particles. Despite efforts to curb these emissions, China continues to struggle with its air quality.

From space, the smog appears gray. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a natural-color image (top) of northeastern China on December 22, 2016. Heavy, gray smog shrouds parts of the country, while the brightest, whiter areas are likely clouds or fog. The second image shows the severity of haze as measured by satellite, with deepest reds indicating the most affected areas. The map is based on MODIS measurements of aerosol optical depth—how much sunlight the aerosol particles prevent from reaching the ground.

For full NASA post and interactive slider image tap here.

The Next Big Thing: Social Video [Business Insider]

Michael Data & Graphics, Photo, Video December 15, 2016

At the latest Business Insider IGNITION conference, Henry Blodget teased up the Future of Digital 2016 with a collection of amazing slides, data and insights. The take away: social video is the next big thing! See selected slides below, and full original post here.

The trend is loud and clear: digital media consumption is exploding, and traditional TV is collapsing, especially among the younger demographics:

Digital media consumption is growing, everything else is shrinking (Source: eMarketer via BusinessInsider)

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“Thanksgiving” Inscription in Chinese Found on Moon

Michael Data & Graphics, Photo November 23, 2016

FNN, November 24, 2016 1:01pm Beijing time – It is that time of the year again, as Americans express their loud thanks by busting any doors at shopping malls around the country, saving a few bucks while salvaging the US economy. This year, though, the Chinese have a quiet way of joining the Thanksgiving tradition.

Some rights reserved © MichaelZhao.net

Chinese inscription of “feel” and “gratitude” were discovered in two craters on the moon, as announced by CASA.

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Top 10 GIFs on Climate for Trump

Michael Animation, Data & Graphics, Photo November 9, 2016

Dear President Trump,

Congratulations on being elected the 45th President of the United States.

In all seriousness though, I have to say climate change isn’t some scheme cooked up by the Chinese, which I am one of. Look at this chart below showing the historical CO2 emissions of the US, Asia and China, my best estimate is that China will probably catch up on the US as the biggest cumulative emitter by 2045-2050. But I am hoping that you will provide much needed leadership on this regard and push both the US and China to the positive direction and for the good of all humanity.

Asia would have surpassed the United States as the world's largest cumulative CO2 emitter by 2016. (In the chart below, the leogryph icon, from the Asia Society logo, in the orange background represents Asia)

Asia would have surpassed the United States as the world’s largest cumulative CO2 emitter by 2016.

Now here are 10 most important GIF animated pictures/maps/etc. that you may want to have a quick read/watch before entering the White House: Read More

Arctic Ice Meltdown Has Gone So Bad…

Michael Animation, Data & Graphics, Video November 4, 2016

Every year in September or October (before Halloween probably), the Arctic ice cover drops to its minimum size. According to NASA, the ice meltdown in the Arctic has been nothing but heart breaking. If you care a tiny bit about climate change, you’ve probably seen the arctic ice cover shrinking in an animation or video or something. Yet what you are about to see below is many times more alarming. The key message is: old ice cover in the Arctic has shrunk to 6% of what it was in 1984. [Read caption for details.]

The age of the ice is represented in shades of blue-gray to white, with the brightest whites representing the oldest ice. In September 1984, there were 1.86 million square kilometers of old ice (5 years or older) spread across the Arctic at its yearly minimum extent. In September 2016, there were only 110,000 square kilometers of older sea ice left. Original post on NASA

The age of the ice is represented in shades of blue-gray to white, with the brightest whites representing the oldest ice. In September 1984, there were 1.86 million square kilometers of old ice (5 years or older) spread across the Arctic at its yearly minimum extent. In September 2016, there were only 110,000 square kilometers of older sea ice left. Original post on NASA

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Poll: When Will Sea Level Rise to Deadly Levels

Michael Data & Graphics, Interactive, Photo October 1, 2016

做气候变化和环境议题也有些年头了,理论和模型也了解了不少,但是这个跨世纪的全球大难题最确定的就是诸多的不确定性——比如海平面上升啥时候真的会威胁到我们的海滨城市呢?【点这里看ClimateCentral.org的一系列全球升温两摄氏度和四度的海平面上升对城市影响的系列假想图。】

在举国度假的闲暇,还是一起娱乐一下吧,不想总是那么严肃和忧虑了,看看自己朋友圈里的大伙们是乐观还是悲观占主流吧【纯娱乐,没有正确答案,如果声称掌握正确答案的,可以请Elon Musk的SpaceX过几年发配火星了】:请从四个答案中选择一个你认为最靠谱的,海平面上升会淹没很多海滨城市CBD核心区的年份!

[playbuzz-item url=”//www.playbuzz.com/michaelz14/when-will-the-bund-in-shanghai-or-lower-manhattan-in-new-york-city-be-flooded”]

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Quiz: Attendance and Literacy for Kids

Michael Data & Graphics, Interactive September 30, 2016

Now that I have a loved one in a public school already (I know, time flies), I have more space or CPU in my brain to pay attention to early education and issues related to school. It is a steep learning curve, but an enlightening one.

One of the days in my son’s first month of his PreK year, I went in to be lectured about attendance, and came back home appreciative that I went. The biggest take-away is that attendance, even at an early age like kindergarten could have striking influence over a young child’s reading competency by the third grade, at least that is what a 2011 California study finds. Here below have some fun guessing how much 5% absence or less (during both kindergarten and first grade years) will translate into young students’ reading competencies two years later.

[playbuzz-item url=”//www.playbuzz.com/michaelz14/attendance-and-literacy-for-kids” info=”false” shares=”false” comments=”false” recommend=”false”]

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Perspective B: Climate Ain’t A Joke (, Politics Might Be)

Michael Animation, Data & Graphics, Photo, Video September 22, 2016

Earlier this year, I dived into the New York City public school application mechanism and studied everything inside out, upside down. By May, my family got the letter from the Department of Education notifying us that my son got into our dream school. And his first couple of weeks in this school have been nothing but perfect.

Now this is about something that is also close to my heart but is way out of my control, or out of control by our species at large. (Someone correct me if I am wrong , please!) I have also studied the question of climate crisis for a number of years and it is worrisome, and alarming to be precise.

First, take a look at the 20-year difference between these what I’d call heat maps, color coding the temperatures’ anomalies compared against the 1951-1980 average. In August 20 years ago, only Antarctica was boiling like a hot pot. This past month, the world map looks as orange (and red) like a U.S. presidential nominee. I don’t think there’s anything else that needs to be said about such a drastic change in just a generation. (For more about the maps and to generate your own months or versions, click on the links on “NASA” in captions.)

Anomaly map of world temperatures in August 1996 vs. 1951-1980 (via NASA)

 

Anomaly map of world temperatures in August 2016 vs. 1951-1980 (via NASA)

Anomaly map of world temperatures in August 2016 vs. 1951-1980 (via NASA)

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GIF: Tibet Dumped World’s Largest Ice Avalanche

Michael Animation, Data & Graphics, Photo September 6, 2016

On July 17, 2016, a huge stream of ice and rock tumbled down a narrow valley in the Aru Range of Tibet. When the ice stopped moving, it had spread a 30-meter-thick pile of debris across 10 square kilometers. Nine people, 350 sheep, and 110 yaks in the remote village of Dungru were killed during the avalanche.

[Before and after ice fall on July 17. Images showing June 24 and July 21, 2016 via NASA, original post here]

7月17日,西藏阿鲁错湖边的一个冰川怒了,甩了个大包袱下了山,一个创世界纪录的冰崩,在山脚下10平方公里铺开了一个厚达30米的冰床,九人和数百头牲畜当场死亡。【NASA原文点这里

“On July 17, 2016, a huge stream of ice and rock tumbled down a narrow valley in the Aru Range of Tibet. When the ice stopped moving, it had spread a 30-meter-thick pile of debris across 10 square kilometers. Nine people, 350 sheep, and 110 yaks in the remote village of Dungru were killed during the avalanche. ”

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Flooding: Yangtze Vs. Ganges

Michael Animation, Data & Graphics, Photo August 24, 2016
ganges_tmo_2015-2016

Ganges River near Patna on August 10, 2015 and August 21, 2016, via NASA

中印看来是两个难兄难弟,两个备受洪水肆虐的文明古国。不过,今年的洪水季,印度恒河的洪水看上去要来得更猛烈些,这场景才更叫看海模式吧!如下图2015年8月与2016年8月的对比动图【NASA原文点这里】:

In August 2016, heavy monsoon rains pushed the Ganges and other rivers in eastern and central India to the breaking point.These images use a combination of infrared and visible light to increase contrast between water and land. Water is blue. Vegetation is green. Notice that the water is a slightly lighter shade of blue in the lower image due to all the suspended sediment in the water.

 

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Floods along the Yangtze 2016, 2011

Michael Animation, Data & Graphics, Photo August 8, 2016
March 27 vs July 28, 2016 along the Yangtze River

March 27 vs July 28, 2016 along the Yangtze River

以上是一组对比今年3月27日和7月28日长江中游沿岸以及洞庭、鄱阳两大湖水位变化的动图。如果两大湖春季的水位更接近正常的话,恐怕今年汛期的洪灾将更加惨烈。今年的洪灾已经造成了220亿美元的损失,也成为仅次于1998年洪灾的中国第二大最具破坏性的天气灾害事件,也是1980年有记录以来全球(美国以外)第五大最具破坏性的自然灾害事件(下图)。【NASA原文点这里

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