A global pandemic and a Netflix mini-series breathes new life into a 1500 year old game.

Being a student and working part-time, I try to actively avoid conversations about binge-worthy TV shows. But even I couldn’t ignore the whispers about The Queen’s Gambit and it’s 99% Rotten Tomatoes rating.

One weekend and seven episodes later, I felt no shame; it was just what the lockdown-doctor ordered.

As I do with most pop culture phenomena, I looked into the data. But a lot of people beat me to it (although apparently with not much originality): The Queen’s Gambit Sparking a Surge of Interest in Chess, The Queen’s Gambit’ is sparking a surge of interest in chess, The…


I’m going to explain proper data structure — following the tidy data principles — using a calming Spring scene because that’s all our brains can handle right now.

The Spring Scene

A Red Bird laid five eggs in a tree. Her friend, the Blue Bird, laid three eggs in the same tree. The Red Bird also laid four eggs in the tree next door (it was a busy Spring!). Each egg varied in colour and weight.

Fiona, the Birdwatcher wanted to record these observations in her notebook. She intended to analyze the data later on, so she didn’t want to miss any detail.


After two failed training attempts through ice and snow in Canada, I ran my first half marathon in May 2019. As it turns out, I have just enough perseverance for a mild, rainy UK winter.

The anonymous medal collecting dust on my shelf didn’t seem like enough to commemorate a goal I’d been running after for so long. So naturally, I created an elaborate data illustration to always remember it by.

Figure 1 Fun Of The Run DataViz I created last year

With this year’s race pushed and my training off the rails, I thought I’d explain what goes into a data visualization project like this instead. …


I’m going to explain, using a fruit bowl, how we’re at risk of masking real problems — or worse, completely overlooking them — when we default to an aggregated view of data.

The fruit bowl

A bowl of fruit is put out in an office common area. At the end of the day, if there’s fruit left, it’s thrown out. The same fresh selection is put out the next morning. The fruit bowl programme is piloted for five days.

This is what the fruit bowl looks like at the start of each day:

This is what it looks like at the end of each day:

Sam Shannon

Using both sides of my brain. Research, data analysis, data visualization, and illustration. 📈✏️💭

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