Tag Archives: illustration

S-300 Surface-to-Air Missiles for Iran

Russia has agreed to complete its years-old sale of advanced S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran. What does this mean? Well, it does not make Iran’s airspace invulnerable, but it will be a significant upgrade with the potential to deter Israel from launching an air raid against Iranian nuclear sites. In a nice, illustrated piece the Washington Post explains what the S-300 system is.

S-300 SAM system

S-300 SAM system

Credit for the piece goes to the Washington Post graphics department.

Pitch Recognition

Hitting a baseball is hard. Really, really hard. You’re good at it if you fail 7 out of 10 times. Part of the way you get good at hitting baseballs is by recognising the spin or rotation of the red seams on the white outside of the ball. This article from CBS takes a look at five common pitches and what they look like to the batter.

I have certainly never been able to see these

I have certainly never been able to see these

Credit for the original piece goes to an unknown person, I don’t think it was the article’s author.

Germanwings Flight 4U 9525

Yesterday an Airbus A320 operated by Germanwings, a subsidiary of Lufthansa, crashed in the French Alps with no survivors. This morning, I am showing the two best graphics I have come across thus far attempting to explain just what happened.

The first is from the New York Times. In a series of maps, it points out through satellite photography the roughness of the terrain and therefore the difficulty likely to be experienced by recovery crews. The final line chart plots the altitude of the flight, which fell from a cruising altitude of 38,000 feet to just over 6,000 feet in eight minutes. Overall, especially given the limited amount of information that we currently possess, not a bad piece.

The New York Times' explainer map

The New York Times’ explainer map

The second comes to us from the Washington Post. What I enjoy about this piece is that it combines the altitude chart with the map. This gives a bit context to the fact that despite being still 6,000 feet above sea level, the aircraft was in fact flying into the high mountains of the Alps.

The Washington Post's explainer map

The Washington Post’s explainer map

Credit for the New York Times piece goes to the New York Times graphics department. And credit for the Washington Post piece goes to Gene Thorp and Richard Johnson.

Moon Bases

Today’s post falls somewhere between just for fun and science reality. Remember moon bases? Newt Gingrich’s ridiculed comment about a habitable moon base by 2020? Well, one problem with colonies on other planets—or even interstellar transport for that matter—is radiation. The moon has no magnetosphere and no atmosphere. So it can be bombarded by both radiation and meteorites.

But, now we have lava tubes. Well, in theory at least. Scientists have run the numbers and found that if lava tubes exist on Mars, they would be structurally sound to support colonies within lava tubes. And that brings us to the raison d’etre of today’s post: the diagram used to explain that science.

I present you all with your hypothetical moon base: New Philadelphia.

New Philadelphia looks just like today's Philadelphia

New Philadelphia looks just like today’s Philadelphia

Credit for the piece goes to David Blair.

Tree Maps

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.

Tree map

Tree map

Credit for the piece goes to Samuel Granados.

America’s Most Popular Beers—And Almost All Are Crappy

Or so says Adweek. I would heartily disagree about their inclusion of Yuengling in their group of crappy. Though the other nineteen, yeah, I would tend to agree. Regardless, the infographic that sparked the Adweek post is quite blah. I do enjoy the illustrations of the bottles and labels, but the data visualisation below is weak.

The 20 best in table form

The 20 best in table form

So because of Yuengling, I decided to take a quick stab at ways to improve it. My first finding in the data was that the different brands were assigned a Beer Advocate rating, and Yuengling rated the highest—though not terribly high overall. Still, unless you are looking to get drunk, it does offer a good taste/cost value among the consideration set.

Visualising some of the data

Visualising some of the data

Credit for the infographic goes to VinePair.

The Disappearing Polish S

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.

English vs. Polish alphabets

English vs. Polish alphabets

Credit for the piece goes to Marcin Wichary.

He’s dead, Jim.

For those of you living beneath a Taurusan boulder, Leonard Nimoy died last week. He is perhaps best known—at least to me—for his role of Spock in Star Trek. Clearly your author is too young to have ever watched Star Trek during its original run. Instead, I belong to the next generation of Star Trek fans—the domain of Picard not Kirk. But, as I grew older, I could rent the original series films. And in the age of the Internet, I could watch the original series. And so I learned to appreciate the green-blooded, pointy-eared hobgoblin Spock. And through the new movie series, another generation can now enjoy Star Trek. But even then, we had Leonard Nimoy cameos to enjoy.

Well, as you can imagine, today’s piece is an infographic I found that looks at Star Trek the Original Series.

Star Trek

Star Trek

Credit for the piece goes to Olka Kirsanova and Natalya Platonova.

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.

Ukraine Retreats from Debaltseve

This is a short piece—it is only really an inline map—but it illustrates fairly well why Ukraine’s loss of Debaltseve in eastern Ukraine last week is kind of a big deal. Basically, the now mostly abandoned city is a transport hub linking the two quasi capitals of the Novorossiya.

Rebel-controlled area

Credit for the piece goes to Gene Thorp.