I came upon this piece a little while ago and realised that it in some ways paralleled my own interest in genealogy. Basically the story comes down to realising that you probably only know a mere fraction of the stories behind all the people who led up to you. To put in another context: “you’re the product of 127 romances, just in the last 200 years alone”. Anyway, the article is a nice read and explains the math with illustrations.
People, science is your friend. Vaccinations are not only for the benefit of yourself, but for others. Anyway, let us take a look at the measles outbreak through some graphics produced by the New York Times. It started in Disneyland. Because we had eliminated the disease about 15 years ago. Science, people.
Where the outbreak had spread as of 6 February
Credit for the piece goes to Jonathan Corum, Josh Keller, Haeyoun Park, and Archie Tse.
While last week ended with an xkcd post, I want to start this week with an older one I missed about spacecraft. Because spacecraft are awesome every day of the week. In particular it looks at mass and payload capacity of spacecraft and rockets over time.
Readers of this blog know that I am a fan of rail travel. And in particular, how the rail system on the East Coast is brilliant when compared to anywhere else in the States. Unfortunately, the railway system on the East Coast is also old and in need of serious capital investment. The tunnels linking New York and New Jersey beneath the Hudson River are a prime example. But a few years ago, Governor Christie of New Jersey killed Amtrak’s plans to build new tunnels to provide a backup to the existing infrastructure and increase overall capacity. The Wall Street Journal takes a look at Amtrak’s new plan to cross the Hudson. Let’s hope this venture is a bit more successful.
The new project
Credit for the piece goes to the Wall Street Journal graphics department.
Spoiler alert, it’s big. Thankfully Scientific American has attempted to put the West African outbreak in the context of all other Ebola outbreaks. I think the one thing missing, rather the one thing I would have done differently, is to include some kind of background element to show the difference in scale. A giant circle behind the whole graphic. Or a giant diamond. Of course the designer may not have had the space to do that, because the scale difference is just that extreme.
Putting the ongoing outbreak in context
Credit for the piece goes to Pitch Interactive for Scientific American.
Science is great. But science is also a process and scientific progress goes boink. Some of the mis-steps in chemistry have been erroneous elements. Thankfully the Boston Globe built a small periodic table of non-elements with short anecdotes about the selected few.
Table of non-elements
Credit for the piece goes to Mary Virginia Orna and Marco Fontani.
I apologise for the lack of posts over the last two weeks, but I was on holiday. Naturally, I have returned just in time for some snowstorms in the Midwest. But today’s piece comes from WGN and it explains how the type of winter precipitation that falls depends not solely on ground temperatures. Rather, temperature profiles in the upper atmosphere can make all the difference between rain, sleet, and snow.
How temperatures create different precipitation types
Credit for the piece goes to Steve Kahn and Jennifer Kohnke.
We hear a lot about deforestation around the world. But, in this piece from the Washington Post, we see how over the last century, Europe has actually managed to reverse that trend and reforest parts of the continent.
At the time of writing, Orion has yet to launch. But by the time this is published, Orion—NASA’s successor to the space shuttle—will hopefully be at or near the greatest distance from Earth achieved by a spacecraft since the Apollo programme. The Houston Chronicle illustrated the different stages of the unmanned test flight. Hopefully in several years when the programme has its manned flight this blog will still be here and somebody out there will similarly illustrate that mission.
What is out there beyond our solar system? Are there little green men in flying saucers? Or Klingons waging war? The first step in figuring that out is knowing how many planets can be inhabited by life as we know it. This interactive graphic from National Geographic explores just that. And as it turns out, most of the exoplanets we have discovered are not habitable. But a few offer promise. If only we could warp on over and properly explore them.
Credit for the piece goes to John Tomanio and Xaquín G.V.