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.

I’m On a Quest

For those that may have missed it, earlier this week Google released its newest addition to its Google Maps product offering: the 8-bit Quest map. Never before has the world been seen in such high-resolution. And if you look close enough, you might even be able to spy some interesting features.

America…if only Vespucci had a map like this
America…if only Vespucci had a map like this
The Chicago metropolitan area
The Chicago metropolitan area
My old stomping grounds
My old stomping grounds
Monsters in the southeast suburbs, another reason not to visit Indianapolis…
Monsters in the southeast suburbs, another reason not to visit Indianapolis…
Scranton–Wilkes-Barre is also under monster threat…
Scranton–Wilkes-Barre is also under monster threat…
Wolfman…I'll be near him when on holiday next weekend…maybe I'll okay…
Wolfman…I'll be near him when on holiday next weekend…maybe I'll okay…
And if you know where Swedesboro is you get bonus points…
And if you know where Swedesboro is you get bonus points…

Happy Monster Hunting Quest.

Comparing Surgeries

We have an obesity problem in the United States. And in some cases, obesity leads to diabetes. A study was commissioned to discover whether surgery is more effective than the usual prescription of drugs, diet, and exercise. It turns out that surgery may very well be more effective.

The New York Times produced an infographic to explain the three types of surgery investigated in the study.

Comparing surgeries
Comparing surgeries

The Science of Cherry Blossoms

The Washington Post explains the science—or is it art—of the cherry blossom in D.C. though an illustrated video. Certainly this is literally more illustrative in concept than some other posts here, but the illustrations nonetheless match the audio explanations and parallel nicely with the aesthetic qualities of the cherry trees.

the early stages
the early stages
along the tidal basin
along the tidal basin

Drawings by Patterson Clark and narration by AJ Chavar.

Busting Bunkers

There is quite a lot of talk these days about the possibility of Israel, either with or without American assistance, launching an attack on Iran to halt the further development of its nuclear programme. The trouble is that Israel may not have the weapons necessary to carry out a successful attack, but the US has quite the arsenal. And one of the most useful, for just such a task is the Massive Ordnance Penetrator.

The National Post created an infographic to look at the bomb and just how it might be used if the US should decide to use it.

Bomb options
Bomb options

Credit for the piece goes to Mike Faille and Richard Johnson.

Fatal Passenger Train Derailment

Sunday afternoon in Burlington, Canada, a VIA passenger train—think Canada’s version of Amtrak—derailed shortly after switching tracks. The two engineers in the locomotive and their trainee died in the accident, which is still under investigation.

The National Post covered the story and included a few graphics to explain just what happened. Maps pointed out exactly where the train derailed. The graphic below details how a switch works for those unfamiliar with rail transport.

How rail switches work
How rail switches work

And lastly, a larger graphic attempts to explain what may have happened in lieu of the final accident report from the Canadian Transportation Safety Board.

How the derailment occured
How the derailment occured

Credit for the switches graphic goes to Andrew Barr and for the accident diagram credits go to Richard Johnson.

Replacing the Bay Bridge for the Long Term

Bridges are vital parts of infrastructure networks connecting two separate pieces of territory, but often they can be choke points. Damage to a bridge can result to isolation at worst and at best long, circuitous reroutes that add significant time to travel. In the San Francisco area authorities are building a new bridge to replace the current Bay Bridge. But as everyone knows, buildings and infrastructure in that area can be significantly damaged during earthquakes. And the area is waiting for the ‘Big One’ that shall come some day or another.

So how to build a new bridge for the long-term that will also survive a major earthquake? The New York Times explains it in an interactive piece accompanying an article. The interactive piece includes an animation with voiceover explaining the details of the design, with diagrams illustrating the components placed next to the video player. At the bottom, anchoring the piece (pun intended), is a photo-illustration of the new bridge’s design.

Diagram explaining the Bay Bridge replacement
Diagram explaining the Bay Bridge replacement

Credit for the piece goes to Mika Gröndahl and Xaquín G.V.

Picture Graphs ca. 1937

Among my legions of books are a few from my grandfather’s days when he was a student. After going through some photos yesterday, I realised that I had taken photos of his elementary school algebra text book. Among the first chapters was an entire section on graphing and chart types. I hope to go through these in more detail in some later posts, but here’s one for the stereotypes.

A picture graph
A picture graph