The Economist brought interactive datavisualization to its print edition this week with an unsettling infographic on Honduran murder rates.
The graphical component of the feature compares the annual risk of murder in Honduras to that of South Africa, Brazil, the United States and Singapore. The odds for each country are represented by red area bars in a rather ordinary-looking histogram.
Things get interactive when readers are instructed to pin that page of the magazine to a wall and treat it as a dart board. The squares of the histogram, it turns out, are sized not only relative to one another, but the page on which they are printed: The square that corresponds to the odds of being murdered in Honduras in 2012 takes up 1/599 of the magazine page. The tiny square that depicts annual murder risk in Singapore, by comparison, could be printed 256,100 times in the same area. To stand blindfolded before the page and throw a dart in its direction, then, is to partake in a game of life-and-death:
The chance of it hitting the large red square (assuming it lands somewhere on the page...) is the same as a Honduran man's annual chance of being murdered. Over [an expected 71-year] lifetime, a Honduran man's risk of being killed accumulates to a horrifying one-in-nine. That is equivalent to the chances of your dart landing anywhere in this red-outlined box.
The murder rate in Honduras fell by 6.5% in 2013 – from 85.5 per 100,000 people in 2012 to 79 – but remains the highest in the world.