Tag Archives: history

Understanding Genealogy

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.

How the story starts

How the story starts

Credit for the piece goes to Tim Urban.

Wars Are Bad, But Not as Bad as They Used To Be

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

You don’t see the word Westphalian used very often

Credit for the piece goes to Tim Sweijs and Joshua Polchar.

Lynchings

Let’s follow up yesterday’s good news story about measles with lynchings. The New York Times mapped and charted historical lynchings from 1877 to 1950 across 12 states in the South.

Locations of lynchings across the South, 1877–1950

Locations of lynchings across the South, 1877–1950

Credit for the piece goes to the New York Times graphics department.

Masses and Payloads

While last week ended with an xkcd post, I want to start this week with an older one I missed about spacecraft. Because spacecraft are awesome every day of the week. In particular it looks at mass and payload capacity of spacecraft and rockets over time.

The space shuttle was big

The space shuttle was big

Credit for the piece goes to Randall Munroe.

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.

Londinium

Londinium

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