Today’s tax day! Get excited people! Just kidding. Everyone hates taxes, we know. But at least this year, tax day comes hand in hand with a superb infographic. And not just any infographic; rather, the grand-prize, $5,000 winner of the inaugural Data Viz Challenge, run by Eyebeam with sponsorship from Google (and which we helped judge).
Click through to see exactly where your tax dollars went and to visit the interactive version of the graph!
Behold, what might be the prettiest tax-data chart you’ll ever see.
Unless you’re an incredible procrastinator, you’ve completed your taxes recently. Even if you got a refund, looking at that W-2 makes you think that the government takes a lot of your money. Which leads to the annual question: What are they actually doing with that money, besides paying for congressmen’s pizza during late-night negotiating sessions?
Click through to see a nifty little video of all the graph’s features.
Not all Markets are Created Equal. Alaska’s weed has been legal for 10 years, but before you open a dispensary in downtown Anchorage, consider this: There’s no state law governing retail marijuana businesses. Compare that to Colorado where you can plunk down $7,500 at the Department of Revenue and apply for a Type 1 MMC license, permitting you to operate a medical marijuana center serving up to 300 patients. Prison or paperwork? You make the call.
Don’t Hold Out for Free Checking. That first buyer may come easily, but don’t assume the same goes for processing his credit card. National banks like Wells Fargo have turned away marijuana businesses, which are still considered illegal under federal law. That makes simple business processes like a checking account, corporate credit cards or a merchant services account costly, time-consuming challenges. Lucky for you, there are smaller, local banks eager to win business in a growing industry.
Tax Laws. When tax time comes around, you’ll have to skip all of those normal business expenses. The bean-counters at the Internal Revenue Service will be following guidance under Section 280E of the tax code: No business deductions for trafficking in controlled substances. That means medical marijuana operations can expect to pay 50% to 200% more in taxes than other businesses (but don’t worry too much: the fat margins the report uncovered, especially on the grow side, should help ease the blow.)
What’s pop music without crazy haircuts? Nothing, that’s what — and as iconic as the great pop stars are, you might be surprised at how iconic their hair is, all by itself.
Just check this new poster from Pop Chart Lab, which reproduces the haircuts of 108 inimitable pop stars. The truly uncanny thing is how many you can probably recognize without even looking at the name:
Weird, right? Of course, the poster has many, many omissions — I mean seriously, no Bieber? C’MON. But if you tweet new suggestions to @popchartlab and they use it in the next version of the poster, they’ll give you a $10 giftcard.
As evidence of the latter, NASA has created a remarkable infographic that shows just how alarmingly fast Greenland is melting away. That chart shows, quite elegantly, the length of the melting season at various points along Greenland’s ice cap.
For most of the year, Greenland is totally frozen. But during summer months, some melting does occur. Because of rising temperatures, that melting season is starting earlier and lasting longer than ever before—in fact, in the places colored deep red on that map above, the melting season has lasted 60 days longer than the average of the last 30 years. That’s a whole hell of a lot of melting.
NASA gathered the data from meteorological satellites that measure tiny amounts of microwaves being emitted by ice and water. Since the signatures of each are slightly different, scientists can tell exactly when the ice cap is melting and when it is frozen.
Perhaps you’re vaguely aware that the world is wracked by drinking water shortages. But as much as we hear that news these days, the problem always seems fairly abstract. Here’s an infographic that tries to solve that dilemma, by showing exactly why water supplies are falling in the world’s biggest cities.
Kräutli’s infographic has two basic components. One is a bubble chart that shows water price increases in cities across the world. Once you click the individual cities, you get a newsfeed filled with relevant news reports, and you also see the exact price of water, how it’s risen in the last five years, and how that compares to population growth.
As you can see, the stats are almost hard to believe. For example, Chicago has seen a 54% rise in water costs, compared to a 2% rise in population. And Chicago is hardly unusual. Washington, D.C. has seen a 44% rise; New York, 46%. And all while population has remained basically flat. (In Honduras, one town has seen water use grow by 1,617%.) Those rising costs reflect both diminishing water supplies and an aging infrastructure stretched by overuse.
Jamie Gurnell loves Radiohead so much, he made a chart showing how the veteran alt-rockers have dabbled in multiple genres over the years.
Gurnell wanted to classify the activities of a band he deems “the very definition of ‘unclassifiable.’” The product of “several hours of quite enjoyable listening and debate,” his infographic is, of course, just one man’s opinion of Radiohead’s musical zigs and zags over its 18-year existence (technically the band was formed in 1985, but its first real release, “Pablo Honey,” came out in 1993). Besides the fact that the band is in essence more alt-rock than electronic, they’re literally all over the map.
If you like their wonky electronic work as much as I do, simply follow the vertical line down the center of the graph (“Kid A” and “Amnesiac” are obviously represented, but so is “Pablo Honey”). And if you think that the band has gotten hopelessly esoteric since its blockbuster 1995 release “The Bends,” the graph proves that even later albums like “Hail to the Thief” and “In Rainbows” offer plenty of straight-ahead alt-rock tracks.
Looks good, but he could’ve saved all the trouble and just slapped the songs in one genre: Boring. Ha ha ha, we kid, no, seriously, we’re kidding, ow, stop unfollowing us, Radiohead is cool, chill out!!
Infographic of the Day: Old Spice’s Wildly Successful Bodywash Ads:
Quick: When you think of Old Spice, do you think of aftershave and gift-boxes with cheap cologne in them? Or do you think of bodywash? A year ago, the latter would have been absurd. Not anymore, thanks to the wildly successful ad campaign starring Isaiah Mustafa.
Can you believe Mustafa helped Old Spice nab 1.4 billion impressions and a 55% sales increase?!
Could food labels help us eat healthier? What would a better food label look like?
Particularly interesting is the label on the left, which shows exactly what the overall composition of the food actually is. Meanwhile, the label on the right uses overlapping area charts to put carbohydrate, fat, and protein content in the context of your larger diet.
The label on the right is probably too complex to make it in prime time. But something along these lines would be a great improvement over what we have today — dumb lists of numbers that can be hard for even intelligent people to wrap their minds around. Sadly, we probably won’t see anything approaching this level of utility anytime soon. Even though people have been talking about overhauling food labels for some time, it’s unlikely that we’ll get anything better given the power of D.C. food lobbyists. Just look at their own weak responses to making healthier labels. Not too different from the status quo, right?
Technology might be able to help. Full story via Co.Design
Based on the annual report by The National Marriage Project, it paints a picture of marriage becoming a less and less relevant factor in the way American’s live and raise children. The short version: Marriage is simply shrinking as a cultural value; where 66% of women over 15 were married in 1960, the figure has shrunk every decade since.* Now, it’s just 51%: