Words to live by when making illustrations; words that are mostly ignored by most people. But since I had a free evening (social engagements in this cold? No way I'm living my comfy warm home!), I decided to make a couple of figures, just to keep the skill well-honed.
First, using data from Spaceflight Now, I punch a hole through the most dramatic part of the plot of The Martian, the mutiny:
We're living in a space opera future: 13 space launches planned for December
And using a 1853 geographical survey of San Francisco, from the NOAA archives, I make fun of the San Francisco Millennium Tower, also known as the Leaning Tower of San Francisco:
If you believe that these are good communication tools, I recommend Edward Tufte's web site as a source for information design. If you don't I still recommend it.