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Sometimes there's nothing like a great infographic for showing what data only says.

Making scientific data a visual thing can really drive home a truth. It's amazing how saying something without words can be this powerful.

Sometimes there's nothing like a great infographic for showing what data only says.

Cold, hard numbers are nice for experts. But how can the rest of us understand them?

Visualizations and infographics are everywhere these days — TV, mobile devices, wherever you look. They seem like a very modern, friendly way of getting a science-y point across. But as the Nature video below explains, they actually have a long history that includes some surprises, including a historical name you may recognize.

Remember Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing, the “lady with the lamp"?


She was actually an eminent statistician. Who knew?

Nightingale translated war statistics into something regular folks could understand.

This infographic is her most famous work:

It made its point about the benefits of sanitary practices so eloquently that it changed the way science was done in the 1880s. Even politicians could understand it. (Joke. Well, they could.)

It's easy to understand what it says, once you realize the picture on the right is "before" and the one on the left is “after." The blue area shows preventable diseases that could be controlled by more sanitary practices. “Before" shows the original amount these illnesses, and “after" shows what happened after things got cleaned up. Simple and powerful evidence for her cause.

Another example? The Human Genome Project.

Mapping human and animal genes has involved the collection of a gargantuan amount of data. Infographics to the rescue.

Here's an example. To show the genetic material that a person has in common with a chimp, a dog, a chicken, and a platypus, scientists spun the data into circles that show a human chromosome in the bottom half and any genetic material the animal has in common in the top.

Here, doggie!

Each of the 22 chromosomes has its own colored circle, and there are also circles for the male and female X and Y chromosomes. These circles are used all the time in scientific literature because they make it so easy for scientists to see what they've got.

And check out this more hypnotic, lovely way to show ocean currents.

This beautiful animation of ocean-current data collected by satellites and buoys speaks for itself. This isn't made-up movement. It shows what the data actually says. Wow.

Turning data into animations — OK, cartoons — like this doesn't make light of it.

It just lets more people in on the wonder of discovery.

And now, the video:

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.