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

 

Missions to Mars

Curiosity shall soon be exploring the surface of Mars seeking to understand the geological history of the planet. But in this infographic, see the cropping below, from the National Post we can see previous missions to Mars. We have not always been successful in operations in and around Mars, but our recent track record is much improved.

Missions to Mars
Missions to Mars

 

 

Credit for the piece goes to Mike Faille.

God Save the Queen

For the Queen’s Jubilee I had been looking for a good infographic or two about how the United Kingdom had changed over the length of her reign, at least thus far. Alas, I found not a great deal of substantial work. This is an infographic from the Guardian that looks at quite a few single figures.

But it also has a map looking at the decline/unravelling of the British Empire.

Decline of the British Empire
Decline of the British Empire

God Save the Queen.

New York Times Lies About Science

In a rare infographic misstep, the New York Times published an incorrect diagram detailing the centre of the Earth.

Centre of the Earth
Centre of the Earth

Clearly, anyone who knows anything about science knows that it is not a solid core of iron at the centre of the Earth, but dinosaurs. And I see no dinosaurs in this diagram.

Credit for the piece goes to Jonathan Corum, Ritchie S. King, and Frank O’Connell.

Who Survived and Who Perished the Sinking of the RMS Titanic

The anniversary of the RMS Titanic’s sinking led to a flurry of graphics related to the sinking, two of which I covered last week. Today’s is from the National Post and looks at the people onboard, most of whom died. Specifically, it breaks out the survivors and those who perished into their class—by berth not birth—and age. It also shows how empty most of the lifeboats were when they launched.

The casualties of the RMS Titanic
The casualties of the RMS Titanic

Credit for the piece goes to Richard Johnson.

How the RMS Titanic Sank

On 14 April 1912—that is 100 years—RMS Titanic avoided slamming bow-on into an iceberg. But her turn allowed the iceberg to slice a long gash beneath the waterline and the North Atlantic gushed into watertight compartment after watertight compartment. Several hours later over 1500 people would be dead.

The BBC has published several articles about the sinking in the lead-up to the anniversary. This one is an illustration through small multiples of how the Titanic sank, from the bow slipping beneath the waves to the point at which the liner split in two to the stern rising vertically out of the water before it too plummeted to the seabed.

How the RMS Titanic sank
How the RMS Titanic sank

At the end of the graphic is an exploration of the wreck and a small chart showing the scale of the depth at which the wreck now sits, slowly deteriorating.

Credit for the painting goes to Ken Marchshall.

Setting the Stage for the Sinking of RMS Titanic

Saturday will be the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. She struck an iceberg just before midnight—at the time the crew thought merely as a glancing blow—and within three hours she would be headed towards the seabed. By the time the survivors were all picked up, over 1500 people would die in what is perhaps the most (in)famous sinking in human history.

But, what about the iceberg? There are of course the reports that a ship scouring the sea for survivors after the sinking found the killer berg. But how did it get there? The New York Times put together an infographic exploring the science behind how the RMS Titanic might have ended up colliding with what originally was part of (probably) a Greenlandic glacier.

The Titanic Iceberg
The Titanic Iceberg

Also in the piece are explanations of how it is possible that the SS Californian did not come to the rescue of the stricken RMS Titanic.

Credit for the piece goes to Mika Gröndahl and Joe Burgess.

Presidential Popularity

Presidents’ Day is actually Washington’s Birthday. That makes sense when you consider how Washington is still a much beloved president. And according to a recent survey, the most favoured president.

Presidential Popularity
Presidential Popularity

What is worth nothing is that most Americans know little of the 19th century presidents, save the big names like Lincoln, Grant, and (Teddy) Roosevelt. Not until the other Roosevelt (FDR) do we start seeing a decline in “Not Sure” responses. But, by far, Washington and Lincoln are the most favoured presidents.

The questions for all of us on this holiday are who’s your favourite? And how does he stack up? (Get it? Eh, chart humour.)

Punxsutawney Phil’s Day in the Sun

Groundhog Day. It’s Punxsutawney Phil’s day in the sun. Or not. Depends upon the year.

Anyway, the Philadelphia Inquirer did a small piece about the history of this famous little groundhog from remote northwestern Pennsylvania.

The Past Prognostications of Punxsutawney Phil (Alliterate that.)
The Past Prognostications of Punxsutawney Phil (Alliterate that.)

Credit for the piece goes to Cynthia Greer.

Income Segregation in the Philadelphia Metro Area

In an area very close to me…quite literally…the New York Times published an article about increasing segregation between the rich and the poor via the areas where they live. The study by Stanford University found that the Philadelphia metropolitan area saw the “sharpest rise” in segregation since the 1970s—the study used census data available through 2007. The accompanying graphic highlights the growth of the segregation from 1970, using small multiples of choropleths to compare 1970 to 1990 to 2007.

In 1970, much of the metro area was middle-income neighbourhoods. Certainly, the central core of Philadelphia was depressed. So too was Chester and rural southwestern Chester County. The upper-income neighbourhoods were in the close suburbs, note the townships stretching due west of the city and you see the Main Line, one of the most affluent areas of the United States, while other veins of wealth extend along other old rail lines leaving the city.

Neighbourhoods by Income in 1970
Neighbourhoods by Income in 1970

Those such as myself who are familiar with both the area and recent history should note that places like Coatesville and Downingtown are shown as middle-income. In the 1970s, areas like this and in similar places like Falls Township in Bucks County had robust steel and manufacturing sectors that employed a substantial portion of the local population.

But, compare this to 2007 and you will begin to see how many old factory towns of middle-income areas became dense pockets of depression while the city of Philadelphia itself saw a flight of wealth to the rest of the suburbs. The rural parts of Chester, Montgomery, and Bucks have seen high growth by means of new developments of upper-middle- and upper-income homes.