Posts Tagged ‘explore’

Captain Hudson’s journey: Fair to foul and back again (Economist)

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

2709us5[Editor's note: The Economist notes the 400th anniversary of the Netherlands' discovery of the Hudson River, which passes thru New York City, once New Amsterdam. To celebrate, the city moved the annual 4th of July fireworks display to west of Manhattan island.]

Republished from the Economist.
July 2nd 2009 | NEW YORK. Image by Corbis.

The Hudson River, 400 years on

AS AMERICA celebrates its birthday on July 4th, New York is celebrating the discovery of its Hudson river. The Dutch East India Company hired Henry Hudson, an English explorer, to find a north-west passage to Asia. He failed: the route defied all explorers until Roald Amundsen in 1906. But Hudson’s journey of 1609 up the river that would later bear his name led to a valuable trade in furs and eventually to settlement by the Dutch. His shipmate recorded abundant fish and that the surrounding lands “were as pleasant with Grasse and Flowers, and goodly Trees, as euer they had seene, and very sweet smells came from them.” The smells unfortunately, have not always been so sweet.

The Hudson has been exploited and abused. Factories used the river as a dumping-ground. At one time a 20-mile stretch of the Hudson had little or no aquatic life. “You could tell what colour the GM plant in Sleepy Hollow was painting its cars by the colour of the water,” recalls Alex Matthiessen, president of Riverkeeper, an environmental watchdog. Since the 1960s, groups like Riverkeeper and advocates such as Pete Seeger, a folk singer, have fought to restore the river’s ecosystem. The 1972 Clean Water Act helped deter polluters. And in 1984 the federal Environmental Protection Agency classified 200 miles of the river as a Superfund site, eligible for special attention. As a result of all this the river has begun to look like its old self. Water quality has improved. Some fish populations look healthier. The Bald Eagle once again nests nearby.

There are still concerns. Indian Point, a nuclear power plant in Westchester, uses up to 2.5 billion gallons (9.5 billion litres) of river water a day. The water is then discharged back into the Hudson. According to Riverkeeper, the hotter discharged water kills large numbers of fish, larvae and eggs. Indian Point says there have been no temperature-related deaths. There is also considerable contamination by PCBs, toxic chemicals with carcinogenic effects. After years of delays General Electric has now begun a process of dredging to clean up the contaminants. But it was already safe to swim with the fishes, except after heavy rain. Antiquated sewage systems in New York City and in towns and cities further up river cannot handle storm surges.

The Netherlands still retains an interest in its former New Amsterdam. The country is America’s fourth largest investor. It is participating in many of the festivities, including a big flotilla last month. New York’s July 4th fireworks display is taking place on the Hudson. In September a replica of Hudson’s ship, the Half Moon, will re-enact the captain’s journey. But he wasn’t the first to discover the river, of course. Native tribes lived along the “Mahicantuck” for thousands of years.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Impacted U.S. GM Plants (Kelso via Wash Post)

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

[Editor's note: This interactive from Tuesday shows plants set to close under G.M.'s restructuring plan in the context of all of G.M.'s manufacturing facilities. Checkboxes allow different types of facilities to be filtered and zoom presets make it easier to zoom into clusters of markers. A reset button allows the display to return to it's original state. A table below the map contains some of the same information.]

Republished from The Washington Post.

Under GM’s restructuring plan, the automakers’s manufacturing facilities will be reduced to 33 by 2012. Three distribution centers will also be eliminated.

Click on map icons for plant name, location, number of employees and more. Screenshot below.

Interact with original version at The Washington Post . . .

gm_plant_closures_map

INTERACTIVE MAP: Explore D.C.’s Charter Schools (Kelso via Wash Post)

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

[Editor's note: I created this Flash-based Google Mashup to accompany an investigative piece (1 | 2 | 3) about the Washington, D.C. Public Charter School system in Sunday's Washington Post newspaper. Map markers can be turned on and off with check boxes or by using data range sliders to drill in on which schools are performing how well. Clicking on map markers brings up a little info window with some facts and figures about that school, and links to full database entry and comment areas. While publishing this interactive in Flash format may hinder viewing by some viewers, it sure is nice not having to program around HTML rendering funk!]

Republished from The Washington Post.

Use the map below to learn about every charter school in The District. The default view displays all 55 schools for which test score data is available; you can also map the schools with no data, as well as sites offering early childhood and adult education and GED programs. To narrow your search, click the buttons to hide or display school types, or move the sliders directly to the left of the map to display schools by test performance. A full list of all charter schools is also available.

Interact with the original. Downsized screenshot below.

SOURCES: The District of Columbia, individual schools and Washington Post research and analysis.

INTERACTIVE CREDITS: Nathaniel Vaughn-Kelso – The Washington Post, Sarah Sampsel – washingtonpost.com.