Sometimes Small Infographics Are Most Important

This is certainly not the largest, nor the most glamorous infographic. But to drivers in Los Angeles, probably a very useful one. It is a diagram of forthcoming changes to a series of on- and off-ramps to Interstate 405 and Wilshire Boulevard.

Ramp changes
Ramp changes

Simple things like having a dangerous red for the soon-to-be-closed ramps set against the calmer, desaturated colours of the safer, separated ramps of the future highlight the important area of the shared lanes. I probably would have called those areas out with something more than a black, many-pointed star, but it does still work.

Credit for the piece goes to Tia Lai and Anthony Pesce.

Revisiting the End of the Shuttles

This is a post that goes back a little bit in time, but that I stumbled upon and found worth a post. Last summer the United States ended the Space Shuttle programme by retiring all of our orbiters. And of course this prompted many to attempt infographics about the history of bringing liberty and freedom to space.

Amidst the fond farewells, I missed this interactive piece from the Philadelphia Inquirer about the history and the future of Americans in space.

Interactive history
Interactive history

The interactive piece contains three separate sections. The first looks at the individual Americans who made it into space. The second compares the Space Shuttle to the Russian Soyuz craft that we now must use to get into space. The third looks at the future, and what we might use.

But, the Inquirer also had a print edition to worry about, and published a static version of the piece. Is it perhaps a bit cluttered, yes, but the addition of the photographs and the annotations (even though the annotations are available as rollover conditions in the interactive piece) makes the print version more welcoming to explore and read at leisure. Additionally, the difference in scale of the three segments of the piece give a clear importance to the individuals rather than to the technology. This distinction is lost in the interactive piece because each segment is the same size and receives the same scale of treatment.

Static shuttle
Static shuttle

Credit for the interactive piece goes to Kevin Burkett and Rob Kandel. Credit for the print piece goes to Kevin Burkett.

A Nine-story Log Cabin

It’s like a log cabin. But taller. A lot taller. The New York Times reports with an infographic on a nine-story block of flats (apartment building for us Americans) in London called the Graphite Apartments that was built almost entirely of timber.

Log cabin
Log cabin

Credit for the piece goes to Mika Gröndahl.

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.

How to Salvage a Ship

You might recall that back in January an Italian cruise ship sank after striking submerged rocks. In case you were wondering, the ship is still there. But the plan is to refloat the ship and then tow it to a harbour on the Italian mainland and scrap the ship. The Guardian put together a nice interactive infographic explaining just how the process will work.

How to salvage a ship
How to salvage a ship

Credit for the piece goes to Paddy Allen.

How an E-mail is Sent. (And No, I Don’t Mean by Pressing Send.)

Google is a big company. What do big companies do from time to time? Market themselves. And so this is a screenshot from a fun interactive infographic piece that has supplementals from text to photos to videos as Google explains how an e-mail is sent. All the while Google touts its green energy initiatives and energy efficiencies. It’s a game changing win-win paradigm-shifting grand slam of a piece. (Sorry, that just felt like an appropriate place to use CorporateSpeak.)

How an e-mail gets from A to B
How an e-mail gets from A to B

Canada Invades the Land of the Mole People

Subways. Home of the mole people. And in the United States an unwanted recipient of government money to build things. Along with being generally unwanted. By those who do not live in cities. Probably because of said mole people. Or something.

But in Canada, they like subways. At least enough that Toronto is building an extension to a university and from there to a suburb. But the invasion of the mole people homeland is a complex process that, fortunately, the National Post explains in an illustrative infographic, a cropping of which is below.

One of four sibling boring machines: Holey, Moley, Yorkie, and Torkie.
One of four sibling boring machines: Holey, Moley, Yorkie, and Torkie.

Credit for the piece goes to Mike Faille and Peter Kuitenbrouwer.

It’s Neither a Bird Nor a Plane. It’s a Space Shuttle. On Top of a Plane.

I loved the space shuttle. I mean how awesome is it that the lead ship of the class is named after the Enterprise from Star Trek. But seriously, it was a brick with little stub wings for gliding. It was not meant for flying. So now that all the shuttles are all retired—that’s a whole separate issue—how do they get from Kennedy Space Center to the various museums and installations?

Piggy back rides. On massive 747s. The Los Angeles Times made an infographic to explain just how the process works.

How to attach a space shuttle to a 747
How to attach a space shuttle to a 747

Credit for the piece goes to Tom Reinken, Raoul Ranoa, and Anthony Pesce.

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.