The Tallest of the Tall (in Los Angeles)

I have always had an interest in architecture. And so this piece from the Los Angeles Times is just because I like to indulge myself every so often, a look at the five tallest buildings in Los Angeles.

Map of the five tallest buildings
Map of the five tallest buildings

Credit for the piece goes to Scott J. Wilson, Matt Moody, and Anthony Pesce.

Explaining Why Some People Are Losing Their Health Insurance Plans

I have received a few questions in the non-blog world about why certain people have been receiving notices in the post that they are about to lose their insurance plans. The short answer for many of those people is that they likely bought individual, private plans and those plans fall short of the new minimum requirements. But, if you are not satisfied with that explanation, the New York Times does a much better job explaining it than I ever could. It is a piece worth a quick read.

The private insurance market
The private insurance market

Credit for the piece goes to Larry Buchanan, Alicia Parlapiano, and Karen Yourish.

LAX Shootings

I didn’t see a lot of informative graphics regarding the shooting at LAX. But, here are two pieces. The first is from the Los Angeles TImes. Terminal 3 is rendered in three dimensions. Different buttons add views of the remainder of the airport.

Los Angeles Times' terminal diagram
Los Angeles Times’ terminal diagram

The Washington Post opted for a flat, two-dimension drawing in one graphic with both all of LAX and Terminal 3 in the same graphic.

Washington Post's terminal diagram
Washington Post’s terminal diagram

The thing about the three-dimensional rendering is that it adds too much complexity whereas the two-dimensional schematic strips most of it out. Is it important to know the specific details of a building? Or is it more important to see its general shape and an area inside of it?

Credit for the Los Angeles Times piece goes to Javier Zarracina, Raoul Ranoa, Lorena Iniguez, and Anthony Pesce.

Three Hops From Norway

The thing with the NSA spy scandal is not that it collects data on Americans. But it collects data on the Americans that the Americans that the Americans know. Three degrees of separation can actually be quite a few people whose privacy is violated in the name of security. The Guardian has an excellent piece that shows you as in you yourself—if you grant access to your Facebook profile—how many people could be investigated because you know them.

My personal three hops
My personal three hops

Well, I hate to tell you, Norway. But apparently, with me you are far from safe. Or at least a Norway-sized chunk of the American population. More seriously, this is a great piece that personalises an abstract sort of concept. Not just through the use of your own personal data, but by using (potentially) familiar items to contextualise scale. How many people is 190? Almost two Concordes worth. How many is 4,779,123 people? More than the population of Norway. You know, a country. Well done, Guardian.

Credit for the piece goes to the Guardian’s US Interactive Team.

Fixing Fukushima

Two and a half years ago an earthquake and then tsunami devastated Japan. But it was the tsunami that crippled the Fukushima nuclear power station and created the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. Unfortunately things are still not working properly and the plant is still leaking radioactive particles into the local environment. This interactive guide from the Guardian illustrates just what Tepco, the power company responsible for the plant, is trying to do to prevent further radiation from leaking into the ocean.

Location of silt fences
Location of silt fences

Credit for the piece goes to Paddy Allen and the Graphic News.

Two-stroke Engines

Infographics of the science-y, illustration-y kind have always been my favourite. They show you how the world works. Now, it has been a long time since I have used a leaf blower or lawn mower, but I always took for granted how they worked. But this fantastic graphic from the Washington Post makes sure that I know how they work. In animated .gif form. For an infographic. It’s really nice and worth a look.

The two-stroke engine
The two-stroke engine

Credit for the piece goes to Patterson Clark.

Name Dropping Brands

Happy Friday, everybody. Today’s post is a graphic from Vanity Fair that looks at the rapper Jay Z. (And for all those wondering, no, I have never intentionally listened to any of his music.) Specifically, this kind-of-stacked-bar-but-more-icon chart indicates how many times he name drops specific luxury brands in his albums.

Jay Z Brand Mentions
Jay Z Brand Mentions

You can also file this under the graphics to which I cannot relate. Although maybe, just maybe, I once had a pair of Nike trainers. So at least Jay Z and I have that in common.

Credit for the piece goes to Philip Rhie.

Deconstructing the International Space Station

Gravity was released recently. You know, that film about a station in space that gets hit by something and drama ensues. The Washington Post has this fantastic infographic that illustrates how the station was built over the past 15 years. Scroll down the page and watch the station deconstruct itself into its initial Russian power module. Fantastic.

Deconstructing the ISS
Deconstructing the ISS

Credit for the piece goes to Alberto Cuadra and Katie Park.

Funding the Improbable

This interactive map from the Washington Post is one part of a long-form piece that looks at NASA and the improbable tasks facing the agency. Specifically the piece looks at how NASA wants to get to Mars, but how difficult that is and how an also difficult asteroid mission is as a backup plan.

Funding the improbable
Funding the improbable

Really fantastic is about all I can say.

Credit for the piece goes to Joel Achenbach, Alberto Cuadra, Kennedy Elliott, Rebecca Rolfe, and Ricky Carioti.

How Cruise Missiles Would Strike Syria

While we are waiting for Russian help to destroy Syrian stockpiles of chemical weapons, we know that the Pentagon is still ready to strike (most likely with cruise missiles) various targets of the Syrian regime. This graphic from the Wall Street Journal explores some of the options. The interesting bit is the range of Syria’s anti-ship missiles. Because for those of you who do not recall the Israel–Lebanon war of 2006, Hezbollah (known to be aiding the Syrian regime) surprised some by scoring a hit on an Israeli warship with a less-advanced missile than in the Syrian arsenal.

Pentagon plans
Pentagon plans

This is only one of several different graphics from that page. Different graphics look at elements of the conflict, including the refugees, timeline of the regime’s actions, &c.

Credit for the piece goes to the Wall Street Journal graphics department.