WaPo’s Police Shootings Graphic

First off, it is awesome and you should go look at it right now: http://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings/

I am struck in particular by their focus on individual human beings; each victim* is represented as a single figure in the timeline graphic the Post leads with:

Screenshot 2015-07-25 11.22.05

Below the original graphic space, the Post shows each victim as an individual, with details about the circumstances as well as a photo when possible. This further emphasizes the humanity of each person.

Screenshot 2015-07-25 11.47.55

That all said, I feel like some key context is left out of the graphic that just as easily could have been included, and would have made the racial aspect of these numbers manifestly more obvious.

Screenshot 2015-07-25 11.30.45

Almost twice as many white people as black people have been killed by police so far this year. This figure alone, without context, dramatically undercuts the assertion by civil rights activists that blacks are unfairly targeted and killed by police.

Had the Post included census data with those numbers, the impact would be quite different:

Screenshot 2015-07-25 11.41.56

Whites are underrepresented by a third, blacks are overrepresented by half. Only Hispanics are being “fairly” represented in these statistics.


* I realize how charged it is to use this word, but the police involved in these events might also be termed victims; when deadly force is used, everyone loses.

WaPo’s Police Shootings Graphic

Same App, Different Experience

Why oh why, Twitter? You control both twitter.com and tweetdeck.twitter.com, yet each has a completely different workflow for adding a handle to a list!


Add-to-list on Twitter


Add-to-list on Tweetdeck

But it’s not just that there are two different workflows; it’s that they are similar enough for me to constantly confuse them! Here’s what my brain sees each time I’m presented with one of these dialogs:

Twitter Lists (Brain View)

…which is perfect if I’m inside Tweetdeck (the second image above). But if I’m on Twitter.com, I’m suddenly (and confusingly) inside of the “Make a new list” workflow:

Create-new-list on TwitterWhat happens when I click out of that? Will I have a new “untitled” list? What happened to my original selections from the previous screen? I basically have to click ‘x’ and start over to find out.

So I ask you, Twitter: Why settle for this cludgy and confusing experience when you already have a usable experience in Tweetdeck?

Same App, Different Experience

On Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise

Cover of the book 'The Signal and the Noise' by Nate Silver. Published by The Penguin Press
Cover of the book ‘The Signal and the Noise’ by Nate Silver. Published by The Penguin Press

Overall, I put this book up there with John Allen Paulos’ Innumeracy as required reading for anyone interested in thinking clearly. It is a fantastic demonstration of how mathematical thinking can be fruitfully (and practically) applied by anyone to anything.

There are a few moments I do want to comment on, though; the book is so thoroughly thoughtful that its lapses in thoughtfulness really stood out to me.

Continue reading “On Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise

On Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise

What’s the best shelf-stable, gluten-free chocolate chip cookie?

Just because you aren’t eating gluten (for whatever reason – I’m not here to judge), doesn’t mean you don’t still occasionally crave a store-bought chocolate chip cookie, a la Keebler’s Soft Batch or Pepperidge Farm’s Soft Baked.

I was in just such a position recently [ed. note: “recently” here means “almost one year ago”], but did not have access to the far-and-away, hands-down best imitation of the genre, Udi’s Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Udi's Soft & Chewy

So I did what any self-respecting, non-gluten-eating blogger would do: I bought one of every single other brand of chocolate chip cookie I could find and did a taste test! I was aided in this endeavor by my husband Joel, who is a good control because he CAN eat gluten, but still find’s Udi’s Soft & Chewy cookies pretty delish.

Continue reading “What’s the best shelf-stable, gluten-free chocolate chip cookie?”

What’s the best shelf-stable, gluten-free chocolate chip cookie?

Liz Prince’s “Tomboy” Is an Invitation to a Better World

Tomboy, a graphic memoir by Liz Prince

My friend Liz’s new graphic memoir, Tomboy, was released on Tuesday. Reading all of the interviews and press she’s been getting this week has been a true joy for me. It’s also made me want to write publicly about why I find her book so meaningful (beyond it being an awesome work of art by a very close friend).

Continue reading “Liz Prince’s “Tomboy” Is an Invitation to a Better World”

Liz Prince’s “Tomboy” Is an Invitation to a Better World