Weed is Super Safe, and This Chart Proves It.

Washington D.C. voted to legalize marijuana last November by a landslide, with that Initiative taking effect today. While the nation’s capital won’t be the next Amsterdam, it does raise questions in the continuing debate about marijuana safety. Just how safe is smoking weed?

Ask any recreational or medical marijuana user and they’ll quickly tell you that the drug is safe (and a LOT of scientific research backs that up), but recent research is suggesting it might be even safer than we’ve thought. In findings published in the journal Scientific Reports (a research publication from Nature), researchers worked to quantify the risk of death associated with commonly used drugs when used in typical fashion.

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Charting the Downs and Ups of US Income Inequality

NPR recently released an interactive chart which clearly demonstrates the growing US income inequality over the last 100 years. But what it shows best is the two major trends the century has followed.

The scatter plot charts average income for the bottom 90% of earners on one axis, and the average income for the top 1% on the other. (For comparison purposes all figures are inflation adjusted to 2012 dollars)

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3 Striking Charts Show How Vaccines Have Impacted 20th Century Diseases

Despite the few very loud voices still claiming vaccines are dangerous (and getting a lot of attention in the process), there is overwhelming evidence that they make the world a much safer place. Take the seven interactive heat maps created by Tynan DeBold and Dov Friedman for the Wall Street Journal. Each of the three examples we’ve featured here show the number of cases before and after a vaccine was introduced. Striking isn’t it?

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Polarized Approval: Republican & Democrat Opinion of Every President Since Eisenhower

For Presidents Day, Pew Research Center produced an eye opening visualization of presidential approval over the past 62 years, ranging from the beginning of the Eisenhower administration to the latest poll for Barack Obama. Unlike most presidential approval charts, however, this one splits ratings by political party. Overall, 47% of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance (up from 42% in December), but that score hides a growing polarization between Democrats and Republicans.

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If The Moon and Mars Had Oceans, What Would They Look Like?

Humans have long dreamt of living on other planets, but last time we checked they weren’t too keen on setting up permanent residence on the red dusty plains of Mars or even on a Moon mountain. The climate on those two celestial bodies isn’t exactly inviting – but there are plenty of people who dream of changing that. Terraforming is the theoretical process of modifying a planet to make it more Earth-like, and these two fascinating maps from data scientist Seth Kadish show what it could look like on Mars and the Moon.

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Here’s Waldo: Data Cruncher Randy Olson Discovers The Optimal Search Strategy For Finding Waldo

Much of the fun of finding Waldo, in his famous red and white striped shirt and hat, is having no idea where to start. But data cruncher Randy Olson wanted to help those of us who just don’t have the time. He challenged Slate’s “foolproof” strategy and came up with his own that he believes could find Waldo even faster. Since we’re all about that data here at Visual News, we are a big fan of Olson’s visualizations.

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What Is The Most Common Job in Every US State?

NPR has just released a fascinating interactive map which reveals the most common job in each US state. While you might think clerks would be topping this list, the whole country seems to be dominated my one job – truck drivers. How could this be?

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Data Visualization 101: Area Charts

In our Data Visualization 101 series, we cover each chart type to help you sharpen your data visualization skills.

Like the mountains that they resemble, area charts are a representation of change over time. Whether you’re looking to chart net earnings for individual departments month to month or examining the popularity of music genres since the ‘50s, there are few chart types that communicate time-series relationships so well. Let’s see how area charts can work for you.

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How Much Does It Cost to Live In Each of the World’s Countries?

How much does it cost to live in Sweden? How about Morocco or Japan? You can’t just compare exchange rates to figure that out. You need people on the ground reporting on how much they pay for a loaf of bread, an apartment or a glass of beer in Stockholm, Fez and Tokyo. That’s what Numbeo has been doing for years, creating a cost of living database with a lot of help from people all around the world. Movehub recently took that information and created a fantastic series of maps comparing how expensive it is to live in all the world’s countries. How does yours measure up?

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Learn The Incredible Physics Behind Falling Dominos

In this video, Stephen Morris gives a fantastic demonstration of how dominos work. He uses a collection of dominos made from steel, with each one 1.5x larger than the one toppling before it. Pushing over the minuscule first domino (just 5mm high and 1mm thick) starts a chain reaction that looks nearly impossible – especially when it knocks over the last domino that weighs over 100lbs.

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