I have returned from my trip up north to Minnesota and Wisconsin. Unfortunately, from the research side it was not the most successful of trips. I did find some records, but none that answered any of the big questions I had. If anything, I now have far more questions. Most of the information I learned deals with the homesteaded land that John Spellecy received in 1888, at the young age of 70. It turns out by the time he was given the land by the US government, he had already made one contract to sell a portion of it. And so to make some semblance of it, I made this animation to show how the land grant disappeared over only a 12 year period.
How the Spellecy plot disappeared
For the curious, the background image is a digitisation of the US government’s original land survey. The A.160 denotes 160 acres, the maximum allowed by a homestead claim.
Today the Supreme Court takes up gay marriage. Again. This is, you know, after they decided two years ago that the federal government has to recognise gay marriages when performed in states where it is legal. Anyway, last week, Bloomberg Business looked at the United States preference for changing its mind through a nice series of charts.
How interracial marriage changed in the US
They took six key issues, including interracial marriage shown above, and looked at how the position shifted over time. They identified the basic trend as being early adopter states followed by rapid acceptance to a critical mass, at which time the federal government stepped in, e.g. via the Supreme Court.
Credit for the piece goes to Alex Tribou and Keith Collins.
For those of you who don’t know, the British Parliament was dissolved today ahead of the 7 May elections. In other words, it is now election time. Last week the Economist published a small interactive piece that allows you to look at the composition of the British Parliament from 1870 through today.
Parliament over the years
While many (some?) of us would remember times from recent history, e.g. the 1997 electoral victory of Tony Blair, the memory might be a bit foggier one hundred years in the past. But to help you, if you click on a particular year, the view changes from an overview to a focus on Parliament in that particular year.
Parliament in 1915
Credit for the piece goes to the Economist’s Data Team.
Lee Kuan Yew died this weekend. He is lately responsible for designing and implementing the policies that transformed Singapore from a poor fishing village to a commercial hub. The transformation came at a price of course. Singapore enjoys limited free speech and the country is effectively a one-party state, with the one party now controlled by Lee Kuan Yew’s son. Regardless of the faults, the transformation itself is remarkable. And the Economist put together a timeline to showcase that.
The Life of Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore’s development
Credit for the piece goes to the Economist’s graphics department.
I always enjoy the combination of two of my interests: data visualisation and genealogy. So this BBC article that references a Nature article piqued my interest. It looks at the distribution of DNA across the United Kingdom and identifies different cluster areas. The most important finding is that the Celts, i.e. the people of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Cornwall are not a single genetic group. Another finding of interest to me is that the people of Devon are distinct from both Cornwall and Dorset, Devon’s bordering regions. That interest is because my New England ancestors largely hailed from Devon and Dorset.
The colours don’t imply relationships, for what it’s worth
Credit for the piece goes to the Nature article authors.
Spring is the time for the blossoming of cherry trees. Philadelphia has its own cherry blossom festival, but Washington’s is even bigger. The Washington Post put together a small infographic about the the trees, the symbolism, and the reason behind the presence of Japanese trees in the capital of the United States.
But, mostly I get to say we have a good example of a tree map.
Today’s piece is not a chart, nor is it some complicated piece of data visualisation. Instead, we are looking at a piece from Medium that attempts to explain the disappearing Polish S. Basically, it is a roundabout way of saying that it is very difficult to type in foreign languages on American keyboards because of the additional letters and/or diacritics. If you are at all interested in typography, the article makes nice use of comparative photographs and highlighted colours in the alphabet to illustrate its case.
Last week, NASA’s Dawn probe entered orbit above Ceres, a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt. But later this summer, the New Horizons spacecraft is set to race past Pluto, formerly a planet but now a dwarf planet. New Horizons launched in 2006 and will have taken nine years to reach Pluto. But how long is a year on Pluto? Thanks to the New Horizons team, we can see how one year on Pluto is 248 Earth years, or longer than the history of the independent United States.
A year on Pluto
Credit for the piece goes to the NASA/New Horizon team graphics department.
I came upon this piece a little while ago and realised that it in some ways paralleled my own interest in genealogy. Basically the story comes down to realising that you probably only know a mere fraction of the stories behind all the people who led up to you. To put in another context: “you’re the product of 127 romances, just in the last 200 years alone”. Anyway, the article is a nice read and explains the math with illustrations.
War is bad for the population business—arguably good for business business. A year ago, the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies released a .pdf that looked at peace and conflict and their respective drivers. The designers clumsily pieced everything together so that the sum is less than the constituent parts. But, if you isolate each piece and look at it alone, you can ignore the overall design and focus on the merits of each component. The excerpt below looks at the deaths in wars over time and their share of world population.
You don’t see the word Westphalian used very often
Credit for the piece goes to Tim Sweijs and Joshua Polchar.