Category: Data

Exposing the Costs of Uncounting, a review essay

What does it mean to be ‘uncounted’? It means that the uncounted – an event, an individual, a group – is invisible, absent from a world built on data. In this review essay, Mariel McKone Leonard examines two recent books, Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez and The Uncounted by Alex Cobham, that take up the task of documenting the true extent of uncounting and … Continued

The (il)logic of legibility – Why governments should stop simplifying complex systems

Thea Snow, discusses how the desire to make complex systems ‘legible’ can serve to constrain policymaking and lead to decisions that reproduce an idealised, legible, but fundamentally limited vision of the world around us.  Sometimes, you learn about an idea that really sticks with you. This happened to me recently when I learnt about “legibility” … Continued

Book Review: Data Feminism by Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein

  This review originally appeared on LSE Review of Books. If you would like to contribute to the series, please contact the managing editor of LSE Review of Books, Dr Rosemary Deller, at lsereviewofbooks@lse.ac.uk   In Data Feminism, Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein use an intersectional feminist lens to examine unequal power structures in the realm of data, and … Continued

Book Review: The Infographic: A History of Data Graphics in News and Communications by Murray Dick

In The Infographic: A History of Data Graphics in News and Communications, Murray Dick offers a new cultural history of the infographic, tracing its emergence and development in Britain from the eighteenth century. The book succeeds in offering an account of an evolving media form, showing the infographic to be a contradictory tool, one developed to … Continued

The public do not understand logarithmic graphs used to portray COVID-19

Mass media routinely portray information about COVID-19 deaths on logarithmic graphs. But do their readers understand them? Alessandro Romano, Chiara Sotis, Goran Dominioni, and Sebastián Guidi carried out an experiment which suggests that they don’t. What is perhaps more relevant: respondents looking at a linear scale graph have different attitudes and policy preferences towards the … Continued

The public debate around COVID-19 demonstrates our ongoing and misplaced trust in numbers

COVID-19 data and numbers are everywhere. However, these numbers are also a source of debate and subject to vastly different interpretations. Every day we are posed with a question that divides even epidemiologists: what does it really mean that positive cases or mortalities are up or down? Yet the media and the public reads deep … Continued

Simple data visualisations have become key to communicating about the COVID-19 pandemic, but we know little about their impact

If you had mentioned ‘flattening the curve’ in 2019, chances are you would have been met with a blank stare. However, almost halfway through 2020, the language of data visualisation has become commonplace, and data visualisations are widely used to communicate about the pandemic to the public. However, as Helen Kennedy observes, their power to … Continued

The Locked-Down: We need more than headline statistics to understand the impact of Covid-19

For governments and individuals much of our understanding of the Covid-19 pandemic has been mediated through metrics of cases and deaths and shaped by heartbreaking personal stories. In this post, Leeza Osipenko argues that such metrics only scratch the surface of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and makes the case for more expansive data … Continued