Year in Review

I’ve been meaning to put this up for a little while, but since returning from holiday a few other stories popped up. The New York Times published what you could call its year in review article. It links to some of the best work done by the group in 2012, a year that included an election, the Olympics, and a few other big news stories. It’s worth a look or two or three.

nation
nation

When the Levee Isn’t Going to Break

Hint, when the river is at record low levels. But record low levels of water in the Mississippi also makes it difficult for ships to use the river as the critical transport corridor it is. So the Army Corps of Engineers has been working to keep the river open for ships. In this infographic the New York Times illustrates just what the Corps did.

Army Corps of Engineer work on the Mississippi
Army Corps of Engineer work on the Mississippi

The War in Mali Continues

This morning’s graphic returns to Mali. The Malian and French forces are busy engaging the rebels at Konna and Diabaly while the rebels may be attempting to capture Banamba, only 90 miles from the capital Bamako. I also look a little bit more at the Tuaregs and then the basic timeline. That shows how much of the conflict can be traced back to the arming of the Tuaregs by Gaddafi during the Libyan Civil War and then those weapons, training, and experience returning to northern Mali at the end of that civil war.

The war in Mali
The war in Mali

Africa without Borders

Following up on the work that I have done on Mali over the last two days, here is a piece from Le Monde Diplomatique that looks at Africa without the borders generally imposed upon it by European colonial powers. You will note how the trouble today is happening in the area around the collapsing state and nomadic people, i.e. the area around Azawad.

Africa without margins
Africa without margins

Credit for the piece goes to Philippe Rekacewicz.

Operation Serval Continues

Tuesday saw no particularly startling developments in the conflict in northern Mali. The French continued to reinforce their quick reaction forces and sent their troops north to Mopti and Niono. By Tuesday night, press reports indicated that the first joint Malian–French force had left Niono to attempt to retake the town of Diabaly. My infographic below uses the slight lull to expand further upon what forces the French are bringing to bear, who else has promised support to Mali, and lastly tries to show how the rebels are not a unified fighting force. Instead the rebels are at best a temporary alliance of disparate groups with different aims. (Click the image for the larger view.)

Operation Serval on 15 January
Operation Serval on 15 January

Operation Serval

The tricky part about doing an infographic on a current event, like the conflict/war in northern Mali, is to keep the graphics updated and timely. Alas, I don’t have the necessary amount of time to do that. But, I still do want decent graphics explaining just what is happening.

With Mali, the hard part is that the Islamist/Tuareg rebellion against the democracy-overthrowing military government originally backed by the US in an attempt to beef up that military against the rebellion that then defeated that military is so far away and so foreign to much of the American public that so very much needs to be explained and be made relevant. This piece of mine doesn’t quite do that, but my infographic does attempt to show that France is now fighting a war far from its shores (and largely on its own). It also tries to highlight the fluidity of the ground war, especially around the fighting in and around Konna. Konna is the gateway to the city of Mopti which leads straight to the capital Bamako.

Operation Serval
Operation Serval

Follow the (Canadian Foreign Aid) Money

Canada spends quite a bit of money on foreign aid. Last week a National Post infographic looked at the targets for that aid program and in particular highlighted Haiti, a country that has received large sums after the devastating earthquake three years ago.

Canadian foreign aid
Canadian foreign aid

Credit for the piece goes to Kathryn Blaze Carlson, Mike Faille, and Richard Johnson.

2012 Was the Hottest Year on Record

2012 was the hottest year since 1895. That’s 117 years by my count. Of course just being the hottest year ever recorded does not mean everywhere was warmer than usual. Some places were cooler. And the New York Times looked at the US pattern of warmer and cooler than average temperatures. Below the map are small multiples of charts recording the number of days above or below the normal for that day.

That's a lot of warmer than average temperatures…
That's a lot of warmer than average temperatures…

And for anecdotal evidence, I will say that this past summer was godawfully hot in Chicago.

The London Underground Map Turns 150

Today the London Underground turns 150. The Tube opened on 9 January 1863. Yes, the whole endeavour is a marvel of engineering, but from a design perspective think of the map, man. Think of the map. The Underground map is now 150 years old. And we all know transit maps are cool.

Of course the map has evolved and changed over all those years and at the Huffington Post UK, there is an article with a slideshow of different maps. The one below being the first map to show the combined lines.

The first map of the combined lines
The first map of the combined lines

Compare that original system map to the 150th anniversary map.

The 2013 map
The 2013 map

Credit for the photos goes to the London Transport Museum, via the Huffington Post.