How big is the Moon, really? Reddit user boredboarder8 provided some perspective with this image of the Moon with an overlaid United States. It's roughly estimated (and others would be better at commenting on the accuracy better than me), but after some back-of-napkin math it seems about right. The area of the United States, not including Alaska, is a little over 20 percent of the Moon's surface area. [via io9]
From NOAA, an animation showing a wave of cold during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend last month:
A drop in the jet stream sent temperatures across the United States plummeting over the Martin Luther King Jr Holiday weekend. The pronounced change in temperatures can be seen in this weather data from NOAA/NCEP's Real-Time Mesoscale Analysis. Areas colored blue are below freezing. The diurnal cycle of heating and cooling can be seen over time, but the pattern is clear: much of the U.S. is pretty cold.
While you're at it, you might as well check out other videos on the NOAA Visualizations YouTube channel. Some good stuff.
Neil Freeman reimagined state boundary lines based on population. He started with an algorithm and the fifty largest cities, considered proximity, urban area, and commuting patterns, and then hand-tweaked boundary lines and shapes. The state names are mostly centered around geographic features (although I would have opted for ones based on dating profiles).
"Keep in mind that this is an art project, not a serious proposal, so take it easy with the emails about the sacred soil of Texas." [via kottke | Thanks, Mickey]
Tom Cheesman of Swansea University, along with Kevin Flanagan and Studio NAND, dives into translations of Shakespeare's Othello with TransVis.
TransVis collects, digitises, analyses and compares translations and variations of literary works. In an initial prototype named VVV (»Version Variation Visualisation«), we have proposed analysis methods, interfaces and visualization tools to explore 37 translations of Shakespeare’s Othello into German with more works translated into other languages to come.
The map is more of a browser to see where specific publications were written, rewritten and published, but I wonder if you'll see anything interesting if you looked at just where something is rewritten or translated. It'd be like seeing ideas spreading. Or you know, Twilight copies.
The Mercator projection can be useful for giving directions, but when it comes to world maps, the projection doesn't hold up well as you move far north and south. By how much? Give this puzzle game a try and match the red boundaries to their respective countries.
As the Super Bowl draws near, Facebook took a look at football fandom across the country.
The National Football League is one of the most popular sports in America with some incredibly devoted fans. At Facebook we have about 35 million account holders in the United States who have Liked a page for one of the 32 teams in the league, representing one of the most comprehensive samples of sports fanship ever collected. Put another way, more than 1 in 10 Americans have declared their support for an NFL team on Facebook.
It's a fairly straightforward geographic breakdown based on the most liked team in each county, as shown above. So you can kind of see where rivalries come from.
We've all seen rain maps for a sliver of time. Screw that. I want to see the total amount of rainfall over a ten-year period. Bill Wheaton did just that in the video above, showing cumulative rainfall between 1960 and 1970. The cool part is that you see mountains appear, but they're not actually mapped.
The hillshaded terrain (the growing hills and mountains) is based on the rainfall data, not on actual physical topography. In other words, hills and mountains are formed by the rainfall distribution itself and grow as the accumulated precipitation grows. High mountains and sharp edges occur where the distribution of precipitation varies substantially across short distances. Wide, broad plains and low hills are formed when the distribution of rainfall is relatively even across the landscape.
See also Wheaton's video that shows four years of rain straight up.
Is there more recent data? It could be an interesting complement to the drought maps we saw a few months ago. [Thanks, Bill]
The graphs and maps all show changes relative to average temperatures for the three decades from 1951 to 1980, the earliest period for which there was sufficiently good coverage for comparison. This gives a consistent view of climate change across the globe. To put these numbers in context, the NASA team estimates that the global average temperature for the 1951-1980 baseline period was about 14 °C.
The more red an area the greater the increase was estimated to be, relative to estimates for 1951 to 1980 (especially noticeable in the Northern Hemisphere).
The most interesting part is when you compare all the way back to to the 19th century when it was much cooler. You can also click on locations for a time series of five-year averages. [Thanks, Peter]
From the 1932 Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, these maps paint the picture of transportation in the 1800s. Each line represents how far one could travel in some amount of time, starting from New York. For example, it took about a month to get to Louisiana.
Below the Boat produces beautiful laser-cut wood maps:
Starting with a bathymetric chart (the underwater equivalent of a topographic map), the contours are laser-cut into sheets of Baltic birch and glued together to create a powerful visual depth. Select layers are hand-colored blue so it's easy to discern land from water, major byways are etched into the land, the whole thing's framed in a custom, solid-wood frame and protected seamlessly with a sheet of durable, ultra-transparent Plexiglas.
They should go all the way with it and do "above sea level." [via kottke]
In the 2010 United States Census, 308,745,538 were counted, and Brandon Martin-Anderson from the MIT Media Lab mapped almost all of them (308,450,225 points to be exact). I like the flow-like pattern in the east, which you can see matches the terrain by comparing against a geographic map.
See here for more on the methodology. In a nutshell, he used block-level data as the starting point, uniformly filled blocks with points, and the rest was image processing.
Cartographer Martin Elmer made a truncated history map of the world:
This map was produced by running all the various countries’ “History of _____” Wikipedia article through a word cloud, then writing out the most common word to fit into the country’s boundary. The result is thousands of years of human history oversimplified into 100-some words.
More on the map here.
The Earth as Art is a compilation of NASA satellite imagery that shows the planet from a new perspective. The sensors on the satellite measure light outside the visible range, which makes for beautiful and unexpected pictures.
In 1960, the United States put its first Earth-observing environmental satellite into orbit around the planet. Over the decades, these satellites have provided invaluable information, and the vantage point of space has provided new perspectives on Earth. This book celebrates Earth’s aesthetic beauty in the patterns, shapes, colors, and textures of the land, oceans, ice, and atmosphere.
The New York Times mapped ratings for members of Congress, as given by the NRA.
The National Rifle Association gives members of Congress a grade ranging from A to F that reflects their voting record on gun rights. But in response to the school shooting, some pro-gun Democrats have signaled an openness to new restrictions on guns, and the N.R.A. released a statement that said it was "prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."
Max Fisher for the Washington Post mapped country emotion ratings, based on the results of a recent Gallup study. Singapore was ranked least emotional, whereas the Philippines was ranked most emotional. The United States was also relatively high. From Gallup:
While higher incomes may improve people's emotional wellbeing, they can only do so to a certain extent. In the United States, for example, Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman and Princeton economist Angus Deaton found that after individuals make $75,000 annually, additional income will have little meaningful effect on how they experience their lives. Consider this finding in the context of Singapore, a country with one of the lowest unemployment rates and highest GDP per capita rates in the world, but a place where residents barely experience any positive emotions. This research shows that it will take more than higher incomes to increase positive emotions or decrease negative emotions. Singapore leadership needs to consider strategies that lie outside of the traditional confines of classic economics and would be well-advised to include wellbeing in its overall strategies if it is going to further improve the lives of its citizenry.
I'm curious about what we're seeing here though. The research infers wellbeing, but the survey was done by phone and face-to-face. Did Americans call overseas, or did residents call other citizens? The former might be kind of weird for some.
More importantly though, they asked questions like "Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?" and "Did you experience enjoyment?" Some cultures just don't express emotions, but it doesn't mean they don't feel them. (Read as: I'm not a robot! I have feelings, too!)
The Stones passed the half-century mark as a band this year. An incredible achievement for an incredible band. They also happen to be one of the most prolific touring bands in the world with more than 1,300 concerts all over the world, and over the last 50 years they have have traveled almost 1,000,000 Km (960,000 km actually).
Ben Welsh, Robert Lopez, and Kate Linthicum for the Los Angeles Times analyzed more than a million runs by the Los Angeles Fire Department to estimate response times, based on where you live. The national standard is six minutes. The map shows average response times that are greater in red and those that are under in green (basically, anywhere there is a fire department).
The lead-in mentions that LAFD leaders have said that they routinely fail to meet the national standard, but if you've driven in Los Angeles, it's not hard to imagine why it takes those extra minutes. I wonder how this compares to other high-traffic cities.
Studio NAND and Moritz Stefaner, along with Jens Franke explore FIFA development programs around the world.
The FIFA Development Globe visualises FIFA's worldwide involvement in supporting football through educational and infrastructural projects. Using a 3D globe in combination with interconnected interface and visualization elements, the application provides multiple perspectives onto an enormous dataset of FIFA's activities, grouped by technical support, performance activities, and development projects.
The globe itself is an icosahedron, or essentially a spherical shape made up of triangles. Triangles in each country represent programs and are colored by the three above categories, and you might recognize Moritz' elastic lists in the sidebar to filter through programs, by country, organization, and type. There's also a timeline view, which shows program development over the past five years.
Give it a go here. I should warn you though that it runs in Flash (a client requirement), and it could run sluggish depending on your machine. Sometimes I was disorientated by the interaction and animation, especially when I clicked and nothing happened until a few seconds later.
In a beautiful rendition of the galaxy, Google visualized 100,000 stars, starting at the sun and out to a view of the Milky Way. Start with the tour, which takes you through an overview of what there is to see, and then explore on your own. Specifically, once you zoom out over four light years away from the sun, you start to see other known stars. Click on the labels for information and a closer look at what looks like flaming balls of lava. [via @pitchinc]
After seeing this post that highlights racist tweets after the election, Floating Sheep took a closer look at the geography. Using an estimate that takes into account number of tweets per state, the southeast came out green.
So, are these tweets relatively evenly distributed? Or do some states have higher specializations in racist tweets? The answer is shown in the map [above] (also available here in an interactive version) in which the location of individual tweets (indicated by red dots) are overlaid on color coded states. Yellow shading indicates states that have a relatively lower amount of post-election hate tweets (compared to their overall tweeting patterns) and all states shaded in green have a higher amount. The darker the green color the higher the location quotient measure for hate tweets.
I wondered about Asian remarks after seeing this, but a quick search was depressing and I stopped. [Thanks, Matt]