Ivory Trade

This graphic from the New York Times looks at the illegal ivory trade out of Africa and into, primarily, the markets of Asia. I think the map works fairly well in showing why certain countries are centres for the illicit industry. But the two donut charts integrated into the graphic as part of the Indian Ocean are a bit weaker.

Ivory trade
Ivory trade

My main problem is that the shares are a bit difficult to distinguish as arcs, especially when looking at the export countries. But the second chart with the import markets does work a little bit better. In this case there are really only three markets: China, Thailand, and Others. But the chart contains the ambiguous China or Thailand. So in theory, that demarcation could fall anywhere between China and Thailand—a point harder made if comparing simply by bars. This means that the chart really is looking at China vs Thailand that combine to 87% vs. Others. The trick is finding the break between China and Thailand. Is this chart perfect? No, but in this case I think it an acceptable use of the donut—though I likely would have treated it a little bit differently to emphasise that point.

Made in the USA. Exported to Mexico.

We trade a lot with China. Everyone knows that. But people might not realise that both Canada and Mexico are also among our largest trading partners. (I suppose it helps that they are both right next door.) Mexico is the second-largest importer of US goods after Canada. (China is third.) The Washington Post looked at which states are exporting the most to Mexico and what their largest exports happen to be.

Exporting to Mexico
Exporting to Mexico

Credit for the piece goes to Wilson Andrews, Emily Chow, and Bill Webster.

Revising the Jobs Reports

Last Friday was the jobs report for the month of August. And it was not as high as economists had expected. The problem is that the initial report is often inaccurate despite the fact we make such a big deal about the report. So the Washington Post looked at the revisions that take place in the months afterwards. Yeah, the initial reports are not so accurate.

Revising the Jobs Reports Numbers
Revising the Jobs Reports Numbers

The first two sets of charts (not shown above) look at the initial versus the revised numbers. The third (the cropping above) looks at the difference between those figures. The result is that the first few years of President Obama’s presidency created more jobs than expected but that the last two months have seen worse-than-expected job creation. I would be curious to see how this correlates to the end of the stimulus plan, but I imagine it would be difficult to link that to the jobs reports.

Credit for the piece goes to Todd Lindeman.

Climate Change

When I was younger—albeit not by much—I applied my interests in geography, history, and politics to create maps of fictional places. I used knowledge of things like the Hadley cell and the Koppen climate classification system to figure where on the maps I drew people would be able to live in temperate climates and where nobody could live because it would be an arid desert. I also read encyclopedias growing up, so go figure.

But I never bothered to apply my amateurish interest in geography and climatology to Earth. Rather, to an alternate Earth. But Randall Munroe over at xkcd did take a “what if” about a rotated Earth’s surface and investigated what would be the results. Of course he is also not an expert and even after thousands of years of living on this planet, humanity has yet to figure out all the variables that determine climates. But he gave it a shot. And he explained how it works (in theory). The result is called Cassini.

Climate of Cassini
Climate of Cassini

Blue is cold; think Siberia. Green is temperate; think rain and trees and, well, green things. Yellow is arid; think deserts. Red is hurricane zones—appropriate for summer. Think, well, hurricanes.

Cities on Cassini
Cities on Cassini

Turns out Philadelphia would still be a great place to live. Just saying.

How Has the Republican Party Changed

Yesterday I shared an infographic looking at the demograhics behind the evolution of the Democratic Party—and by comparison the Republican Party. Today is the Washington Post’s infographic on the evolution of the Republican Party’s policy platform. Since the 1960s the party has shifted from a socially liberal agenda coupled with fiscal conservatism to an extremely conservative social agenda and an even more fiscally conservative platform. (For example, one wonders if the Tea Party remembers how the great conservative in Ronald Reagan raised taxes because it was how to generate increased revenue?)

An evolving GOP platform
An evolving GOP platform

Credit for the piece goes to Marc Fisher, Laura Stanton, and Karen Yourish.

How Has the Democratic Party Changed

This past weekend the Washington Post published an infographic looking at how the Democratic Party has demographically changed over time and compared those changes to those in the Republican Party. The piece is large, but shows some interesting trends particularly with the racial diversification of the political parties—or lack thereof. It is an important trend when considering the white population is growing at much slower pace than minority groups.

Democratic Party trends
Democratic Party trends

The Second Battle of Bull Run or The Second Battle of Manassas. Take Your Pick.

So the battle has two different names, but it was undoubtedly bloody. The Washington Post created an infographic exploring this important battle of the Civil War that led to a bloody Union defeat.

Second Bull Run
Second Bull Run

Credit for the piece goes to Gene Thorp, Brenna Maloney, Laura Stanton, and Don Troiani.

Indo-European Language Origin

Polonius once asked Hamlet what he was reading. Hamlet replied “Words.”

I still love that scene. But, it turns out that we now have an even better idea of where our words came from. It turns out that it is more likely that our shared Indo-European languages originated not in the steppes of Russia but rather Anatolia in Turkey. The New York Times created a graphic that looked at just how the Indo-European family of languages can be broken out.

Branches of our family tree
Branches of our family tree

 

Space. Something About a Frontier?

Today’s post comes via one of my co-workers. I don’t have any information on it other than it being an infographic looking at our exploration of the solar system (and in the near future beyond, thanks Voyager). My guess is that it isn’t particularly new, as I would imagine that the designer would have liked to have called out the Curiosity mission that just landed on Mars. But so far as I can tell, that mission is absent from the infographic.

We Start at Earth
We Start at Earth

Hurricane Isaac vs Hurricane Katrina

I live in the Midwest but I grew up on the East Coast. I spent my summers at the Jersey shore. (No, not that one.) I know a thing or two about hurricanes. Isaac is expected to make landfall later today in the New Orleans area almost seven years to the day when Katrina made landfall. There are some notable differences between the two storm systems and the New York Times has attempted to elucidate those important distinctions in this graphic.

Differences
Differences