Friday, May 29, 2009

Progressing Disease

This interactive map showing the disappearance of jobs all around America, is nothing short of scary. It reminds me of full color MRI scans of diseased body parts - with the progression from health to disease so pronounced that it simply cannot be missed. Then again when you consider the the short time-line for the series, it is possible that things may not be quite as dire as they appear or at least not trend in a precipitously negative direction forever. If the author's goal has been to extinguish any glimmer of hope that reader may have had about the future, this visual is the perfect vehicle.

For a message of hope and perhaps grace under pressure - a much larger time-line would have helped. It is amazing how the choice of book-ends for a set of data can make all the difference in what gets conveyed - I experience this in my line of work everyday. Numbers can be coaxed until they fit the story that needs to be told. Yet, the very same numbers can suggest many alternative versions of the truth. So, while these maps are particularly disheartening to see, they are likely neither the full story nor a good prognosticator of what is to come.

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