Tag Archives: history

The American Empire

The United States has a long history of deploying troops overseas. How long? And where to? Well, ABC (as in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) mapped out every US deployment dating back to 1798. I captured the year 2014, but if you are curious, you should check it out for yourself.

US Deployments Abroad

US Deployments Abroad

A neat little bonus, watch the growth of the borders of the United States from 1798.

Credit for the piece goes to Simon Elvery.

Armistice Day

Today is Armistice Day, alternately known as Remembrance Day or Veterans Day. Originally the date remembered the armistice that ended World War I (hence those two names). The war ended at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month. But in the preceding years, millions of Europeans died along with just over a hundred thousand Americans. (We entered the war quite late.) This had a dramatic impact on the populations of European countries. In the United Kingdom, the Office of National Statistics put together a page for Remembrance Day 2014 that looks at four charts detailing the changes to the UK’s population structure. Suffice it to say there were lasting effects.

UK population in 1921

UK population in 1921

Credit for the piece goes to the ONS graphics department.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. But with the reunification of Germany a year later, has the former East Germany been able to catch up to what was West Germany? The Economist looks at the results in this graphic and the answer is yes. And no.

East vs. West. 1989 vs. 2013.

East vs. West. 1989 vs. 2013.

Credit for the piece goes to the Economist’s graphics department.

The Evolution of Art

I work in the field of graphic design—or visual communications design for those of you younger whippersnappers. Regardless of what you call it, the field itself generally did not become a discipline until the early parts of the 20th century. Obviously, painters and illustrators were performing many of the tasks in the 19th century and before then. But design comes from art, from painting and drawing. How old are those?

Well recent discoveries have just pointed to some really old paintings in Indonesia that rival the ages of what we already know in the cave paintings in France. The significance is that this means art likely did not spread from Europe to Asia as once thought. It either developed independently or stems from an earlier African ancestry. For the purposes of this blog, the writeup I found included an illustration of how these dates were determined.

Indonesian cave paintings

Indonesian cave paintings

Credit for the piece goes to the original authors of the Nature report.

Losing Ground

If you want a better understanding of the difficulties facing Louisiana in the coming years and decades, you should start with Losing Ground. It’s a very nice experience that integrates data and narrative along with maps and written word and spoken word to show how badly the wetlands have degraded.

A look at Leeville, LA

A look at Leeville, LA

Credit for the piece goes to Bob Marshall, Al Shaw, Brian Jacobs, Della Hasselle, Ellis Lucia. Edmund Fountain.

Maps of London

A little while back, the Guardian posted an article about an exhibit in London chronicling the history of the city through maps. This is from the time of two competing cities: London and Westminster through to the modern era when those two cities have merged (along with others) to become greater London.



Credit for the piece goes to the various cartographers over the centuries.

Scotland Votes

By the time this post goes live, Scotland will have already been voting on independence for several hours. At the time of writing this post, it appears more a toss-up than anything else. And so today we highlight a piece that is a little bit different than what I might normally cover. Here we have a long-form piece from the BBC that looks at how different trends across recent decades of history have converged at this point in time to give Scotland this choice.

Scotland's Decision

Scotland’s Decision

Credit for the overall piece goes to Allan Little, Paul Kerley, Finlo Rohler, Jonathan Duffy, Kevin McKeown, Darren McLarkey, Marcelo Zanni, Sally Morales, Giles Wilson, and the opening illustration (the screen capture) is Cognitive Media.

Super Moon

Monday witnessed Super Moon. It’s not a bird, nor a plane. It’s the Moon. But bigger. Thankfully the Guardian put together a nice graphic that explains what was going on and puts the Super Moon into context of regular, average guy Moon.

How the (regular) Moon was formed

How the (regular) Moon was formed

Credit for the piece goes to Paul Scruton.

Borehole Graphics

Long articles often mean lots of vertical space. But it is only every so often when an item can complement itself with a narrow, vertical graphic. The Los Angeles Times has just that in today’s piece, looking at the layers of sedimentation from a borehole.

What's in the borehole?

What’s in the borehole?

Credit for the piece goes to Thomas Curwen, Lorena Elebee, and Javier Zarracina.

What if Britain Had Won?

A few weeks ago, one of my coworkers, sent me a link to a Newcastle Ale campaign video asking what would America be like if Britain had won the Revolutionary War. Anybody who knows me really well knows I am an Anglophile. I say mobile instead of cell phone, from time to time I switch from apartment to flat or truck to lorry or elevator to lift. So naturally I checked out the campaign site and what did I find? A map of place names if the Americans had not won the war. You can search for your residence or hometown and see what the Brits would have named it.

Though this ignores the fact that most of where I am from was actually named by the Brits. West Chester was originally called Turk’s Head, but after the a bunch of boundary changes that separated the British named Chester from my area, Turk’s Head was renamed West Chester because it is west of Chester, located on the Delaware River. Anyway, place names are cool. Happy Friday, everybody.

I would have grown up in West Chesterwich

I would have grown up in West Chesterwich

Credit for the piece goes to the design team behind the ad campaign.