Ukraine has dominated the news much of the last few weeks. But the new 24/7 international news story is the missing aircraft (at least as of my writing this) that was Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. There are presently two nice graphics I have seen attempting to explain the story. The first, a cropping of which is below, is from the Washington Post.
The Washington Post piece
The second piece, again another cropping, is from the South China Morning Post.
South China Morning Post’s graphic
Credit for the Washington Post piece goes to Gene Thorp, Alberto Cuadra, Laris Karklis, and Richard Johnson.
Credit for the South China Morning Post piece goes to the South China Morning Post graphics department.
So Ukraine is even more of a mess and in less than a week’s time, the Crimean people will vote in a referendum on whether they want to remain a part of Ukraine or rejoin Russia. This graphic of mine is an attempt to answer some questions—though hardly all I wanted—about Ukraine, Crimea, and about what the Russians have been doing. (To be fair, the Russians still don’t admit that the troops and soldiers are theirs. But really, I mean come on, we all know they are.)
Business Insider posted a neat graphic that compared the walkability of a suburban neighbourhood outside Seattle to a dense urban neighbourhood in Seattle. Turns out you can walk a lot more and further in a gridded mile than in a faux-organic sprawl.
The West hesitates to use military force to push Russian troops out of Crimea. Likely with good reason as any such campaign would be neither cheap nor bloodless in addition to running the risk of spreading beyond the borders of Ukraine. So that leaves diplomatic and economic isolation. Diplomatic isolation is already underway—the G8 conference to be hosted in Sochi this summer is all but dead. But economic isolation is still being discussed.
The United States is generally in favour, but Europe—namely Germany—has been more cautious. But as my graphic shows, without Europe a sanctions regime would be largely toothless since half of Russia’s exports go to Europe. Except that Russia is also responsible for a significant proportion of Europe’s imported natural gas and sanctions on Russia could cause an interruption in that fuel to Western Europe. Naturally, most of that natural gas is, of course, transported through pipelines running across Ukraine.
A lot of things happened in Ukraine this past weekend. Unfortunately, I was not able to quite capture all of the events and the background I wanted. So, until I do, this quick graphic will have to suffice. In short, Ukraine is a big European country, one of the largest prizes remaining in the struggle between the West/EU and the East/Russia. I took a look at the forecast for Ukraine in 2050 for both number of people and the size of the economy and put that in the context of Europe. And while forecasting that far out clearly has risks, one can see with a grain of salt that Ukraine is set to be an important middle-sized European nation.
A quick introduction to Ukraine
But, like I said, there is more to do. I just was not able to do it.
Last week, the Swiss people narrowly rejected the principle of freedom of movement. This principles serves as one of the foundations of the European Union. And while Switzerland does not belong to the EU, its economy benefits from access to the single market via that freedom of movement principle. That may be an oversimplification perhaps, but it provides some context to the consternation in Europe over the Swiss people rejecting the principle.
This graphic is not particularly complex. It is a choropleth of the vote results. However, it does show that the vote was not unanimous. Rather it was contained to the cantons (analogous to states in the US) more rural in character, i.e. less urban places like Geneva.
Swiss immigration vote results
Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.
Not “the Ukraine” as it is (admittedly) fun to do in pop-culture references to Seinfeld. This comes from the Washington Post and the article tries to show that the protests in Kiev are not necessarily a vast majority against the government. Certainly the opposition is strong, but there is also a very strong pro-government movement. Why? Because in the broadest of senses, Ukraine is where the West, i.e. the European Union, meets the East, i.e. Russia.
A divided Ukraine
Credit for putting this all together goes to Max Fisher. Credit for each of the original graphics is to their respective designers whom I cannot identify.
This piece from the Washington Post examines the idea of economic mobility. That is, what is the likelihood that children born and raised in an impoverished family will surpass their parents’ standard of living.
Credit for the piece goes to Darla Cameron and Ted Mellnik.
The Olympics opened in Sochi this past weekend. Many of us may well be familiar with photographs of urinals without piping, or unfinished hotel rooms, or many other infrastructure problems, but there is a bigger issue facing Sochi. It exists on what the New York Times terms the edge of a war zone. Their overall piece is more text-heavy than graphic-heavy, but several maps lend context to this complicated region of the Russian Federation. If you’re curious to better understand the region, this is a good primer.
The linguistics of the Caucasus
Credit for the piece goes to the New York Times graphics department.
The inability of people to understand geography beyond their own borders is not new. But today’s post uses that to create a new map—albeit from a limited sample. The creator of this map merged 30 different, hand-drawn maps into one to reveal the world as imagined by his sample.