In a few hours—not long after this blog post is published—we should know whether or not the washing-maching sized probe Philae has successfully landed on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The operation is very complicated, this is a moving and spinning comet with a boulder-strewn surface dotted with ice spires. And as of a few hours the lander was having problems with the gas thrusters designed to slow the lander to a hover above the comet surface. Space is hard. So to explain what is happening and the scale of the things involved, we have an illustration from the Washington Post.
How big is the comet?
Credit for the piece goes to Bonnie Berkowitz, Patterson Clark, and Richard Johnson.
Last week we looked at the BBC and its rendition of an Ebola treatment centre. This week we are looking at the Washington Post and how they treated the same material. As you can imagine, with the same source material, the treatment is fairly similar. I do appreciate the colour applied to the various elements called out in the illustration. Though, to be super nitpick-y, I could probably do less orange with the fence. It becomes a bit distracting from some of the other details.
To continue with this week’s theme of Ebola, we are looking at another Washington Post article. Online the Post presents it as an interactive, guided explanation of how Ebola basically kills people. Spoiler, it is not pretty. But what I do really like about this online presentation is how the Post has a downloadable .pdf version of the piece available.
How Ebola works
Credit for the piece goes to Patterson Clark, Darla Cameron, and Sohail Al-Jamea.
Today you are going to get two posts. The first is this, which is a break from the week’s theme. But news stories happen. The second will be back to regular programming at the regular time. Basically, the Swedish government is reporting that a foreign submarine is operating within its waters and the available evidence points to Russia. I have seen some ridiculous claims that one of Russia’s largest submarines is in trouble there. But I highly doubt that. And here is why.
I really enjoy reading articles where graphics accompany the text and not just for the want of graphics. While the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is tragic, the data allows for some nice visualisation pieces. Additionally, one could say that the United States is victim to quite a bit of scaremongering as a result of a few isolated cases of Ebola in Dallas, Texas. Spoiler, an Ebola outbreak is not really a threat to the United States or Western Europe. Perhaps to relieve some of said scaremongering, the New York Times has a nice article titled Ebola Facts that outlines just that, the facts about Ebola. And guess what? The article is accompany by a number of useful inline graphics.
Credit for the piece goes to the New York Times’ graphics department.
Happy Friday, everybody. I’m looking forward to a pint. But thanks to some research, as an American, I might actually be looking forward to 10 pints if I fall within the highest decile of American drinkers. They imbibe on average over 73 alcoholic drinks per week. Yep, that means over 10 per day. Bottoms up, Merica. The Washington Post brings up the graphic summary of the study.
Credit for the piece goes to Christopher Ingraham.
Tonight is Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. For those of you who do not follow baseball, this is the semi-finals for the national championship called the World Series. Anyway, hitting a baseball is hard because you have so little reaction time. The Wall Street Journal has an article about how some baseball teams are beginning to experiment with neuroscience. The idea is to better train hitters to recognise pitches earlier, in essence, giving them said reaction time. The article is accompanied by an illustration showing just how little time there is to hit a pitch.
Ebola is still a thing. And it is still getting worse. Or rather, with deaths and/or infections in both Europe and the United States, we are finally paying a bit more attention to it. We have no cure for Ebola, but we still need to treat people for symptoms, but most importantly we need to isolate those infected from the broader population. How and where is this done? Thankfully, the BBC put together an interactive graphic illustrating a typical treatment centre. Each main section is a clickable link that explains the functions and key points to the different areas.
A treatment centre
The article goes on to explain in more detail what is going on and does so with photos and also a map of treatment centres in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.
Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.
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
Credit for the piece goes to the original authors of the Nature report.
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
Credit for the piece goes to Bob Marshall, Al Shaw, Brian Jacobs, Della Hasselle, Ellis Lucia. Edmund Fountain.