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.
Today’s post features an animated map by a doctoral candidate at Penn State. It plots out month-by-month protests across the world. It moves a bit fast and could perhaps make use out of some guided navigation, e.g. focusing the user’s attention on specific areas at specific times, but is still an interesting view of the world.
Last week a new study revealed that the injection of wastewater from oil drilling and fracking may contribute to earthquakes. Put simply, the theory is that the wastewater injected into the ground lubricates fault lines. And when sufficiently lubricated, the resistance between sides of the fault vanishes and an earthquake is triggered to release the tension in the fault line.
Mother Jones used an animated .gif to explain just how the process of fracking works, specifically to show the wasterwater portion. I chose this piece because it is the first .gif that I have seen attempting to use the looping animation to convey information or a story, especially as an infographic. Make sure to click the image to go the Mother Jones’ article for the animated version.
Step 2 of the graphic
Credit for the piece goes to Leanne Kroll and Brett Brownell.
Reality is never what you think. Over at the Washington Post’s Wonkblog I found a post about a YouTube video looking at wealth inequality in the United States. It looks at a study that compared what Americans thought the distribution of wealth in the United States is vs. what they think is an ideal distribution. And then the video compares that to the actual distribution.
The video is rather solid and does a fairly good job at explaining its point. And those unsure about wealth inequality and how it is different from and sometimes more meaningful than income inequality should read the post along with the video.
Credit for the video goes to a YouTube user named Politizane.
The United States is not the only country in the world to have an election this November. It isn’t even the only big country. China is/had elections to replace the top leadership in Beijing. That’s right, it’s that about that time once every ten years when the Chinese political leadership is replaced.
The Wall Street Journal had a nice interactive piece introduced with an animated video explaining just how the Chinese political system works. Or at least how we think it works. It’s not an entirely transparent system. Though as Americans have discovered lately, the transparency in seeing how large pieces of legislation are conceived, written, and passed is not necessarily a good thing.
Along with the diagram of the system, the piece offers photos and brief biographies for the presumed front runners. The “winners” of the elections should be announced sometime Thursday. Along with the new leaders, the Communist Party may also reduce the Politburo Standing Committee from nine members to seven members for more efficient governing. But nobody knows. We’ll see Thursday.
We are in the home stretch of the presidential campaign and the first of the four debates (three presidential, one vice-presidential) is tonight in Denver, Colorado. Unfortunately debates tend to be less about ideas and more about talking points, gotchas, and zingers. Regardless of the debates’ utility, candidates do not always convey everything they express through words. Sometimes they send a message through their body language. The New York Times looks at a few, what they call, signature gestures used by President Obama and Governor Romney.
Presidential (Candidate) Gestures
The gestures are illustrated and then explained and shown in three examples from the respective candidate’s convention speech. The overall use of the gesture is then indicated in a bar showing how often and when in the speech the gestures were used.
Credit for the piece goes to Aquin G.V., Alan McLean, Archie Tse and Sergio Peçanha.
Supporting an article about how the clouds are the last great hope for the climate change skeptics, the New York Times published an interesting infographic that looks at cloud cover and insolation, the amount of solar energy that irradiates the planet.
The main feature is an animation of a year’s worth of cloud cover. The mapped data begins to clearly show the difference between air circulation over the oceans and over land, with the interface between the two creating the rough outlines of the continents.
Supplementing the animation are four small multiples of different measures that look at energy and its conservation across the planet.
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
along the tidal basin
Drawings by Patterson Clark and narration by AJ Chavar.
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
Credit for the piece goes to Mika Gröndahl and Xaquín G.V.