[Editor’s note: This Flash-based interactive experience features several 3d panoramas shot from high above Manhattan. Spin the views around, listen to tunes, and download desktop wallpaper pictures. Thanks Laris!]
Posts Tagged ‘karklis’
[Editor’s note: The Times produced a fantastic interactive time-based tag-cloud-on-a-map showing twitter chatter across the US keyed to major events in the Super Bowl game between the Steelers and Cardinals. Several thematic channels are available. Kudos to Matthew Bloch and Shan Carter. Thanks Laris!]
Republished from The New York Times.
Orig pub date: Feb. 2, 2009.
As the Steelers and Cardinals battled on the field, Twitter users across the nation pecked out a steady stream of “tweets.” The map shows the location and frequency of commonly used words in Super Bowl related messages.
[Editor’s note: Truly bizarre science graphic about how the human brain processes sensation and the wacky tricks that expose the artifice of our senses. Thanks Laris.]
Republished from the Boston Globe. Sunday 11 Jan. 2009.
How to hallucinate with ping-pong balls and a radio
Text by Johan Lehrer, graphics by Javier Zarracina
DO YOU EVER want to change the way you see the world? Wouldn’t it be fun to hallucinate on your lunch break? Although we typically associate such phenomena with powerful drugs like LSD or mescaline, it’s easy to fling open the doors of perception without them: All it takes is a basic understanding of how the mind works.
The first thing to know is that the mind isn’t a mirror, or even a passive observer of reality. Much of what we think of as being out there actually comes from in here, and is a byproduct of how the brain processes sensation. In recent years scientists have come up with a number of simple tricks that expose the artifice of our senses, so that we end up perceiving what we know isn’t real – tweaking the cortex to produce something uncannily like hallucinations. Perhaps we hear the voice of someone who is no longer alive, or feel as if our nose is suddenly 3 feet long.
Click image for larger view.
[Editor’s note: Continuing coverage of Obama inauguration on January 20th, 2009. Unprecedented crowds are expected, severely disrupting commuting patterns. If you are within two miles of the National Mall experts say to walk to your destination (and expect security checkpoints around the Mall itself). Other coverage includes: overview map, ticketed seating, special bus corridors, and road closures and parking restrictions.]
Republished from The Washington Post.
The bad news: Witnessing this historic occasion in person will require a bit of a schlep. The good news: Officials say pedestrians will be allowed to go just about everywhere. So what about those who have to park their cars and venture over the Potomac and Anacostia rivers on foot for the first time? Put on your sturdy shoes, grab a wind-resistant jacket and climb down into this guide to walking over the 10 bridges into the District of Columbia. — Reporting by Bonnie Berkowitz
SOURCES: U.S. Secret Service, Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, D.C. Department of Transportation
NOTE: Closures and corridors are subject to change at the discretion of security officials.
Graphic By Laris Karklis — The Washington Post
Map: Inauguration Road Closures, Bridge Closures, Parking Restrictions, Tour Bus Parking (Wash Post)Sunday, January 11th, 2009
[Editor’s note: Continuing coverage of Obama inauguration on January 20th, 2009. Unprecedented crowds are expected, severely disrupting commuting patterns. If you are within two miles of the National Mall experts say to walk to your destination (and expect security checkpoints around the Mall itself). Other coverage includes: overview map, ticketed seating, and special bus corridors.]
Republished from The Washington Post.
Original post on Jan. 7th, 2009.
[Editor’s note: Continuing coverage of how to best experience or cope with the Inauguration of Barack Obama as 44th President of the United States on January 20th. Other posts include: Overview map and Ticketed seating.]
Republished from The Washington Post. Jan. 9, 2009.
Metro has designated 23 special bus corridors to run extended rush-hour service from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Jan. 20. Corridor service mainly follows existing Metrobus routes and bus stops across the region. The buses on these corridors pick up and terminate at 14 stops just outside the restricted area. They will run about every 10 minutes to accommodate inauguration crowds.
[Editor's note: Beautiful, compact map in Thursday's paper showing 4 main natural gas pipelines feeding Europe from Russia on a globe. I think this map is by Laris Karklis. He even has the Arctic Circle on there!]
Economy, Politics Stoke Russia-Ukraine Gas Quarrel
Deliveries Halted To European Users As Feud Deepens
MOSCOW, Jan. 7 — Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia and Ukraine have wrangled over fuel prices, with both sides holding a powerful bargaining chip. Russia has had the natural gas Ukraine needs to power its industries. Ukraine has owned the pipelines Russia depends on to transport the gas it sells to Europe.
The two have often engaged in brinkmanship, threatening to cut off deliveries. But they have never followed through on the threats for very long – until now.
A confluence of factors tied to the global economic crisis and political uncertainty in both countries have altered the dynamics of the annual dispute. For the first time, Russian gas deliveries to Europe through Ukraine came to a complete halt Wednesday, as the standoff between the two countries stretched into a seventh day.
Russia accused Ukraine of shutting down pipelines that deliver a fifth of the continent’s fuel, while Ukraine charged that Russia had simply stopped sending gas. With more than a dozen countries scrambling to maintain heat and electricity amid a bitter cold snap, the European Union urged both countries to accept international monitors to verify gas flows.
Direct talks were scheduled to resume Thursday, but analysts said progress would be difficult for the same mix of economic and political reasons that led the two nations to dig in this week instead of compromising, as they had done in years past.
With its economy in deep trouble, Ukraine has little to lose by using its control of European fuel shipments to resist Russia’s demand for a price increase. By contrast, Russia is suffering huge losses in immediate gas revenue and enormous damage to its reputation as an energy partner seeking European investment. Yet political considerations seem to have prevented the Kremlin from surrendering.
[Editor’s note: This graphic from the New York Times shows how the crux of the auto bailout is not a labor pricing issue but a core a supply and demand issue. The labor costs of a new car is only 10% of the price of a car and any remaining “labor” cost difference after recent union concessions is due, like any large company, to supporting prior retirees, a cost that newer companies have yet to experience (Diane Rehm Show, 15 Dec 2008). If the Big Three could make cars that were smart, efficient, reliable, and had resale value, now that’s the ticket. Besides, it’s not like the Heritage cadre were crying foul over big financial firm bailouts when those white collar workers certainly make more than the average American worker. Thanks Laris!]
$73 an Hour: Adding It Up
That figure — repeated on television and in newspapers as the average pay of a Big Three autoworker — has become a big symbol in the fight over what should happen to Detroit. To critics, it is a neat encapsulation of everything that’s wrong with bloated car companies and their entitled workers.
To the Big Three’s defenders, meanwhile, the number has become proof positive that autoworkers are being unfairly blamed for Detroit’s decline. “We’ve heard this garbage about 73 bucks an hour,” Senator Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said last week. “It’s a total lie. I think some people have perpetrated that deliberately, in a calculated way, to mislead the American people about what we’re doing here.”
So what is the reality behind the number? Detroit’s defenders are right that the number is basically wrong. Big Three workers aren’t making anything close to $73 an hour (which would translate to about $150,000 a year).
But the defenders are not right to suggest, as many have, that Detroit has solved its wage problem. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler workers make significantly more than their counterparts at Toyota, Honda and Nissan plants in this country. Last year’s concessions by the United Automobile Workers, which mostly apply to new workers, will not change that anytime soon.
And yet the main problem facing Detroit, overwhelmingly, is not the pay gap. That’s unfortunate because fixing the pay gap would be fairly straightforward.
The real problem is that many people don’t want to buy the cars that Detroit makes. Fixing this problem won’t be nearly so easy.
The success of any bailout is probably going to come down to Washington’s willingness to acknowledge as much.
Let’s start with the numbers. The $73-an-hour figure comes from the car companies themselves. As part of their public relations strategy during labor negotiations, the companies put out various charts and reports explaining what they paid their workers. Wall Street analysts have done similar calculations.
The calculations show, accurately enough, that for every hour a unionized worker puts in, one of the Big Three really does spend about $73 on compensation. So the number isn’t made up. But it is the combination of three very different categories.
The first category is simply cash payments, which is what many people imagine when they hear the word “compensation.” It includes wages, overtime and vacation pay, and comes to about $40 an hour. (The numbers vary a bit by company and year. That’s why $73 is sometimes $70 or $77.)
The second category is fringe benefits, like health insurance and pensions. These benefits have real value, even if they don’t show up on a weekly paycheck. At the Big Three, the benefits amount to $15 an hour or so.
Add the two together, and you get the true hourly compensation of Detroit’s unionized work force: roughly $55 an hour. It’s a little more than twice as much as the typical American worker makes, benefits included. The more relevant comparison, though, is probably to Honda’s or Toyota’s (nonunionized) workers. They make in the neighborhood of $45 an hour, and most of the gap stems from their less generous benefits.
The third category is the cost of benefits for retirees. These are essentially fixed costs that have no relation to how many vehicles the companies make. But they are a real cost, so the companies add them into the mix — dividing those costs by the total hours of the current work force, to get a figure of $15 or so — and end up at roughly $70 an hour.
The crucial point, though, is this $15 isn’t mainly a reflection of how generous the retiree benefits are. It’s a reflection of how many retirees there are. The Big Three built up a huge pool of retirees long before Honda and Toyota opened plants in this country. You’d never know this by looking at the graphic behind Wolf Blitzer on CNN last week, contrasting the “$73/hour” pay of Detroit’s workers with the “up to $48/hour” pay of workers at the Japanese companies.
These retirees make up arguably Detroit’s best case for a bailout. The Big Three and the U.A.W. had the bad luck of helping to create the middle class in a country where individual companies — as opposed to all of society — must shoulder much of the burden of paying for retirement.
So here’s a little experiment. Imagine that a Congressional bailout effectively pays for $10 an hour of the retiree benefits. That’s roughly the gap between the Big Three’s retiree costs and those of the Japanese-owned plants in this country. Imagine, also, that the U.A.W. agrees to reduce pay and benefits for current workers to $45 an hour — the same as at Honda and Toyota.
Do you know how much that would reduce the cost of producing a Big Three vehicle? Only about $800.
That’s because labor costs, for all the attention they have been receiving, make up only about 10 percent of the cost of making a vehicle. An extra $800 per vehicle would certainly help Detroit, but the Big Three already often sell their cars for about $2,500 less than equivalent cars from Japanese companies, analysts at the International Motor Vehicle Program say. Even so, many Americans no longer want to own the cars being made by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.
My own family’s story isn’t especially unusual. For decades, my grandparents bought American and only American. In their apartment, they still have a framed photo of the 1933 Oldsmobile that my grandfather’s family drove when he was a teenager. In the photo, his father stands proudly on the car’s running board.
By the 1970s, though, my grandfather became so sick of the problems with his American cars that he vowed never to buy another one. He hasn’t.
Detroit’s defenders, from top executives on down, insist that they have finally learned their lesson. They say a comeback is just around the corner. But they said the same thing at the start of this decade — and the start of the last one and the one before that. All the while, their market share has kept on falling.
There is good reason to keep G.M. and Chrysler from collapsing in 2009. (Ford is in slightly better shape.) The economy is in the worst recession in a generation. You can think of the Detroit bailout as a relatively cost-effective form of stimulus. It’s often cheaper to keep workers in their jobs than to create new jobs.
But Congress and the Obama administration shouldn’t fool themselves into thinking that they can preserve the Big Three in anything like their current form. Very soon, they need to shrink to a size that reflects the American public’s collective judgment about the quality of their products.
It’s a sad story, in many ways. But it can’t really be undone at this point. If we had wanted to preserve the Big Three, we would have bought more of their cars.
A website which maps global surnames has been launched to help people find the origins of their name and how far it may have spread.
[Editor’s note: Originally published August 30th but the site was hit so hard I did not promote at the time. Thanks Curt and Laris!]
Visit the site at: http://www.publicprofiler.org/worldnames/
The Public Profiler site plots eight million last names using data from electoral rolls and phone directories.
The site covers 300 million people in 26 countries, showing the origins of names and where families have moved to.
David Beckham, for example, has an English name, but there are more Beckhams in the US than Britain.
But the region of the world with the highest concentration of people called Beckham was even further from the footballer’s east London origins – in the New Zealand province of Northland.
The site – www.publicprofiler.org/worldnames – also reveals which of the five million forenames are most closely associated with different surnames and lists the top regions and cities for each surname.
A name is now not just a statement of who you are but where you are
Professor Paul Longley
It was developed by a team of geographers from University College London.
Professor Paul Longley, one of the researchers, said: “The information is not just historical but geographical.
“We can link names to places – a name is now not just a statement of who you are but where you are.”
Most surnames originated in specific places in the world and remain most frequent in those areas, but have often spread to other countries because of migration, the research showed.
Searches for Britain’s three multi-gold medallists at the recent Olympics and the leaders of the three main political parties revealed some mixed results.
• Swimmer Rebecca Adlington’s surname is most prevalent in New Zealand
• Cyclist Chris Hoy’s surname is Irish but more common in Denmark
• Cyclist Bradley Wiggins’s surname is most popular in the US
• Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s surname tops the list in Australia
• Conservative leader David Cameron’s surname is most prevalent in New Zealand
• Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg’s surname is still most common in Britain
Prof Longley said that the site was currently struggling to cope with demand.
“We are being deluged with requests and we ask people to be patient. There is obviously a lot of interest in family names and family history globally,” he said.
Here are some example maps of my surname (Kelso):
[Editor's note: curious interactive map from the Financial Times. I like the "top 10" listings in tables but wish there was more going on with the maps themselves (choropleth coloring, direct interactivity). The technique of using background images (oil derek and oil tanker) seems to be making a comeback at the FT, WSJ, and elsewhere of late. I think it is more effective when masked by an area chart.]
Updated with 2007 data, [this Financial Times] interactive map examines the world’s largest oil producers, consumers, and how oil flows around the world. Updated: June 18 2008.
Screenshots below. Interactive version here.