Posts Tagged ‘infographics’
From our old friend David McCandless and his ever-illuminating Information is Beautiful, a look at length… The image above is the beginning of a fascinating infographic in which he compares the relative length (code base size) of applications, devices, and (considering DNA to be “code”) organisms. There are some surprises (Mac OSX 10.4 is bigger than the U.S. Army’s Future Combat System; the software in a modern high-end car is bigger than both); and– as one sees when one scrolls all the way to the bottom, a poignant relevancy: the Healthcare.gov website (according to most-recently released figures) is much, much bigger still– over 8 times the size of Facebook’s code base, almost 4 times as large as the genome of a mouse.
*Blaise Pascal (often attributed to Mark Twain, who did also say it)
As we contemplate complexity, we might send efficiently-printed birthday greetings to Johann Alois Senefelder; he was born on this date in 1771. A playwright and actor who’d fallen into debt over printing problems with one of his plays, Senefelder began to experiment with cheaper ways of bringing his works to market– a less expensive and more efficient printing alternative to relief printed hand set type or etched plates. His invention, lithography, was the biggest revolution in the printing industry since Johannes Gutenberg’s movable type.
The principle is simple: an image is drawn with greasy crayon (traditionally, on Bavarian limestone) and chemically treated/fixed; the image areas of the stone accept oil-based ink and undrawn areas reject it. Today, photo lithography is the primary technique used to print magazines and books; but Senefelder’s original process of drawing by hand on litho stones is still in use in the fine arts.
As October, National Pizza Month, draws to a close, Flowing Data offers a rigorous examination of pizza chains across the U.S. and the relative proximity of their outlets in different areas. It’s the handiest of guides– and one to use: surely Americans can improve on last year’s statistics; surely we can do better than 251,770,000 pounds of pepperoni consumed…
As we ask for extra crushed red pepper, we might recall that it was on this date in 1937 we– the entire population of the earth– narrowly avoided (by twice the distance of the Moon… but that’s only three seconds) obliteration as the 500,000 ton asteroid/planetoid 69230 Hermes failed to collide with our planet. (In 1989, the earth had an even closer approach, but by the smaller 4581 Asclepius.)
… and some tell more complicated stories than others…
This  chart, digitized by the Library of Congress, depicts major battles, troop losses, skirmishes, and other events in the American Civil War. (Click on the image to arrive at a zoomable version, or visit the LOC’s website.)
The “Scaife Synoptical Method,” advertised at the top of the timeline, aimed to fit as much information as possible into a single chart. Information on Arthur Hodgkin Scaife is scant, but the Comparative Synoptical Chart Company, apparently based in Toronto, also published his “Synoptical Charts” of the “Cuban Question,” English history, and the life of William Gladstone…
Read the whole story at Vault.
As we concentrate on consolidation, we might recall that it was on this date in 1863 that Union Generals Alexander M. McCook and Thomas Crittenden were relieved of their commands and ordered to Indianapolis, Indiana, to face a court of inquiry following the Federal defeat at the battle of Chickamauga in Georgia (c.f., the chart above). As History. com explains…
Eight days before, the Union Army of the Cumberland, commanded by General William Rosecrans, had retreated from the Chickamauga battlefield in disarray. On the battle’s second day, Rosecrans mistakenly ordered a division to move into a gap in the Federal line that did not exist, creating a real gap through which the Confederates charged, thus splitting the Union army. One wing collapsed, and a frantic retreat back to Chattanooga,Tennessee, ensued. The other wing, led by General George Thomas, remained on the battlefield and held its position until it was nearly overrun by Confederates.
The search for scapegoats began immediately, and fingers soon pointed to McCook and Crittenden. Their corps had been part of the collapsed flank, so Rosecrans removed them from command. Crittenden’s removal stirred anger in his native Kentucky, and the state legislature sent a letter to President Abraham Lincoln demanding a reexamination of the firing. In February 1864, a military court cleared McCook and Crittenden, but their careers as field commanders were over. By quickly removing McCook and Crittenden, Rosecrans had been trying to save his own job. Within weeks after firing the generals, Rosecrans was himself replaced by Thomas.
Every now and then a dataset comes along that just has to be mapped. This is one of those times.
Bigfoot. Sasquatch. Skookum. Yahoo. Whatever you call it, the towering man-like ape is a folklore staple. From stories of Yeti in the Himalayas to Wildmen in the Pacific Northwest, people have been talking about and trying to find the creature for ages. Occasionally, some form of evidence – like Patterson’s famous 1967 film – emerges and either feeds our fascination or gets dismissed as a hoax. In either case, it’s easy to see why believers search for proof and skeptics remain doubtful.
Through archival work and reports submitted directly to their website, the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization has amassed a database of thousands of sasquatch sightings. Each report is geocoded and timestamped. Occasionally, even photos and videos of the alleged evidence are included. I’m not quite sure how I stumbled across this, but I’m glad I did.
After crawling the data and converting it to a more convenient format, I mapped and graphed all 3,313 sightings that were reported from 1921 to 2013…
Read Josh Steven‘s fascinating notes on “92 Years of Bigfoot Sightings in the U.S. and Canada” (and do browse the comments…)
As we we ask Nessie if she’s seen him, we might recall that it was on this date in 1836 that HMS Beagle called at the Island of St. Michael’s (north of the Azores) for letters, then sailed for England. The ship’s naturalist, Charles Darwin, did not sight Bigfoot.
Just one of the entries at WTF Visualizations: “visualizations that make no sense.”
As we recall that not all pictures signify, we might send well-worded birthday greetings to Samuel Johnson; he was born on this date in 1709. A poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor, and lexicographer, Johnson’s best-known work was surely A Dictionary of the English Language, which he published in 1755, after nine years work– and which served as the standard for 150 years (until the completion of the Oxford English Dictionary). But Dr. Johnson, as he was known, is probably best remembered as the subject of what Walter Jackson Bate noted is “the most famous single work of biographical art in the whole of literature” : James Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson. A famous aphorist, Johnson was the very opposite of a man he described to Boswell in 1784: “He is not only dull himself, but the cause of dullness in others.”