Tag Archives: science

We All Have to Die…But How?

As the title says, we are all going to die one of these days. But what are the odds that Ebola will kill you? Turns out it is fairly small. Smaller than your pyjamas catching on fire and killing you. Or even your regular clothes catching fire. How did I know that? Well, the Washington Post put together a nice interactive piece to do just that. It starts you out at Ebola and works up to the most likely causes of death. If you are looking for your morning pick-me-up, this might not be it. Fair warning.

Small chance Ebola will kill you

Small chance Ebola will kill you

Credit for the piece goes to Richard Johnson and Lazaro Gamio.

Philae on 67P

In a few hours—not long after this blog post is published—we should know whether or not the washing-maching sized probe Philae has successfully landed on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The operation is very complicated, this is a moving and spinning comet with a boulder-strewn surface dotted with ice spires. And as of a few hours the lander was having problems with the gas thrusters designed to slow the lander to a hover above the comet surface. Space is hard. So to explain what is happening and the scale of the things involved, we have an illustration from the Washington Post.

How big is the comet?

How big is the comet?

Credit for the piece goes to Bonnie Berkowitz, Patterson Clark, and Richard Johnson.

Calories and Consumption

National Geographic recently published a piece designed and built for them by Fathom Information Group. Content-wise, they looked at the historic consumption of food by several different countries. What do individual food groups contribute to the overall nutritional breakdown? For the piece this basically amounted to morphing donut charts. I get the reference, but do not care for the result.

Instead more interesting is the second main view of the piece: meat consumption. Using stacked line charts, National Geographic explores changes in consumption patterns over the last 50 years. Some countries change a bit, others not so much. But as always the best examples are called out with an explanation as to why the changes. Mexico, for example, has the story about slashes in government subsidies and economic problems as to a decline in pork consumption.

Mexican pork consumption

Mexican pork consumption

Clearly I still have issues with the data visualisation. I would much rather see the selected view isolate the selection off the common baseline. But a nice touch is the small multiples from the country selection mechanism appearing to the right.

Credit for the piece goes to Fathom Information Design.

Chinese Nuclear Submarine Navy

This weekend the Wall Street Journal published an article that combined my interest in data visualisation with my interest in naval ships. The article looks at the growth of the Chinese nuclear submarine programme. And alongside the article are maps, charts, illustrations, and a narrated video that support the written word.

Choke points for the Chinese navy

Choke points for the Chinese navy

Credit for the piece goes to Alberto Cervantes and the Wall Street Journal’s graphics department.

How Ebola Works/Kills

To continue with this week’s theme of Ebola, we are looking at another Washington Post article. Online the Post presents it as an interactive, guided explanation of how Ebola basically kills people. Spoiler, it is not pretty. But what I do really like about this online presentation is how the Post has a downloadable .pdf version of the piece available.

How Ebola works

How Ebola works

Credit for the piece goes to Patterson Clark, Darla Cameron, and Sohail Al-Jamea.

Ebola vs Other Infectious Diseases

Yesterday we looked at the New York Times’s reporting of some basic facts about Ebola. Today to continue along the refutation of scaremongering path, we have an article from the Washington Post. I understand that people are afraid of Ebola, because if you catch it, you have a good chance you are going to die. The current strain for the outbreak in West Africa is about 50%. But, you are far more likely to catch less-deadly disease. Like the flu.

Comparing modelled outbreaks

Comparing modelled outbreaks

Credit for the piece goes to Bonnie Berkowitz and Lazaro Gamio.

Ebola

I really enjoy reading articles where graphics accompany the text and not just for the want of graphics. While the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is tragic, the data allows for some nice visualisation pieces. Additionally, one could say that the United States is victim to quite a bit of scaremongering as a result of a few isolated cases of Ebola in Dallas, Texas. Spoiler, an Ebola outbreak is not really a threat to the United States or Western Europe. Perhaps to relieve some of said scaremongering, the New York Times has a nice article titled Ebola Facts that outlines just that, the facts about Ebola. And guess what? The article is accompany by a number of useful inline graphics.

Ebola outbreaks

Ebola outbreaks

Credit for the piece goes to the New York Times’ graphics department.

Hitting a Baseball

Tonight is Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. For those of you who do not follow baseball, this is the semi-finals for the national championship called the World Series. Anyway, hitting a baseball is hard because you have so little reaction time. The Wall Street Journal has an article about how some baseball teams are beginning to experiment with neuroscience. The idea is to better train hitters to recognise pitches earlier, in essence, giving them said reaction time. The article is accompanied by an illustration showing just how little time there is to hit a pitch.

Think quickly

Think quickly

Credit for the piece goes to Mike Sudal.

Ebola Treatment Centres

Ebola is still a thing. And it is still getting worse. Or rather, with deaths and/or infections in both Europe and the United States, we are finally paying a bit more attention to it. We have no cure for Ebola, but we still need to treat people for symptoms, but most importantly we need to isolate those infected from the broader population. How and where is this done? Thankfully, the BBC put together an interactive graphic illustrating a typical treatment centre. Each main section is a clickable link that explains the functions and key points to the different areas.

A treatment centre

A treatment centre

The article goes on to explain in more detail what is going on and does so with photos and also a map of treatment centres in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.

Ebola on a Plane

Definitely not really, but far more interesting than snakes. Today’s piece comes from the Guardian. Admittedly, the piece and thus the data is a month old, but it still is an interesting way of looking at the impact of the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

Flight impacts in Sierra Leone

Flight impacts in Sierra Leone

The graphic begins with a map highlighting the spread of the outbreak and some of the immediate measures taken by different governments. By clicking on a button, however, the user can get more details on the specific impact of quarantines and border closures. In this case, I have clicked on Sierra Leone and can see that a good number of flights are either suspended or partially suspended.

Credit for the piece goes to Achilleas Galatsidas and Mark Anderson.