Posts Tagged ‘twp’

Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor (Wash Post)

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

terracotta

[Editor's note: The famous Xian warriors are stationed at National Geographic's Explorer's Hall in Washington, DC, thru March 31, 2010, open daily with late Wednesdays. Entrance fee applies, museum has details.]

Republished from The Washington Post.

An army for the afterlife
By Michael O’Sullivan. Friday, November 20, 2009

Buried for more than 2,000 years until their accidental discovery by Chinese farmers in 1974, the world-famous terra cotta warriors — a life-size militia of about 7,000 clay figures created to protect China’s first emperor in the afterlife — have arrived in Washington. Well, 15 of the 1,000 or so that have been unearthed, along with more than 100 related artifacts from the grave site of Qin Shihuangdi (259-210 B.C.) in Shaanxi province.

On view through March 31 at the National Geographic Museum, the last stop on a four-city U.S. tour, “Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor” is the first time this many of the figures have traveled to the States. What’s more, according to museum director Susan Norton, museum-goers here will be able to get within a few feet of the warriors, far closer than even at the original archeological site, where visitors look down on the burial pits from a distance.

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

Political prerogative in the embassies (Kelso via Wash Post)

Monday, October 26th, 2009

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[Editor's note: I created this bivariate Dorling cartogram for Al's column on Friday. The bubbles are grouped by geographic region show number of total ambassadors and the subset (in red) who have been political appointees the last 49 years. The subset is aligned bottom middle instead of sharing the same center point as the total bubble. If you haven't seen our Head Count interactive database tracking all Obama's federal appointments, check it out!]

Republished from The Washington Post. Reported by Al Kamen.

Just after the election in November, we wrote that an Obama administration was likely to eschew “the traditional sale of most ambassadorships, so aptly carried on during the Bush administration.” The chatter was that the new team would pick political types, but with some foreign policy cred — as the Clinton administration tended to do — and maybe reduce the percentage of politicals in favor of more career Foreign Service officers.

Yeah, well, we must have been eschewing something. The fat-cat contributors naturally got the plum postings, as usual.

But judging from data compiled by the American Foreign Service Association, the career employees union, it appears that Obama is on track to reduce, at least marginally, the percentage of jobs going to contributors and cronies. While there are still a lot of vacancies, AFSA officials project that Obama is likely to end the year appointing fewer political folks than either Bush or Clinton to the 181 ambassadorial postings — but still too many, as far as the career diplomats are concerned.

About 30.1 percent of Bush’s ambassadors during his eight years were political folks, AFSA found. Clinton’s average, 33 percent politicals, was higher, but Clinton’s folks were a mix of non-career people who actually knew a lot about the countries or regions to which they were named and pure cash types — our favorite was hotelier Larry Lawrence for Switzerland, the guy whose body was exhumed from Arlingon National Ceremony when it turned out he lied about being in the Merchant Marine.

If Obama’s first-year total ends up slightly lower than Bush’s, then Obama’s eventual four-year — or eight-year — percentages will probably be clearly lower than his immediate predecessors’, we’re told, because the first round of appointments tends to skew more to paying off politicals than do the later rounds.

Of course, the politically connected still get the finer spots in the Caribbean and Western Europe. As the accompanying chart shows, the career diplomats head to somewhat less delightful (even nasty) postings in Central Asia (100 percent career since 1960), the Middle East, Africa and South America.

Since 1960, no Foreign Service officer has ever run the embassy in Dublin and only one, Ray Seitz, has gone to the Court of St. James’s in London. On the other hand, no political appointee has ever gone to Chad and only one has gone to Bulgaria.

See AFSA’s full data at http://www.afsa.org/ambassadors.cfm.

SOURCE: American Foreign Service Association, data 1960 through today. | Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso and Karen Yourish/The Washington Post – October 23, 2009

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

Wasting Away: The Squandering of D.C.’s AIDS Dollars (Wash Post)

Monday, October 19th, 2009

twp_aids_interactive_map

[Editor's note: Great interactive map from Kat Downs and Mary Kate Cannistra at The Washington Post for our 3-part investigative series on the District's widespread waste and mismanagement to overwhelm the city's AIDS services. Map allows several ways for the user to group (all/active) and filter (amount of award, year of award, and funding source) their analysis of groups receiving city money and calls out the 6 groups highlighted in the series. A popup menu allows the user to jump alphabetically to the group name they already know rather than wading through the map.]

Republished from The Washington Post.

Between 2004 and 2008, the D.C. Department of Health awarded approximately $80 million in grants to about 90 specialized AIDS groups, which along with medical clinics make up the front lines in the District’s fight against the disease. But while some provided a critically needed lifeline to the sick, others were wracked by questionable spending, practices and services. During those five years, one in three dollars earmarked for local AIDS groups went to these troubled programs, a total of more than $25 million.

SOURCE: D.C. Department of Health HIV/AIDS Administration, D.C. Department of Health fact sheet, 2009
GRAPHIC: Kat Downs, Meg Smith, Debbie Cenziper, Lauren Keane and Mary Kate Cannistra

(screenshot above) Interact with the original at The Washington Post . . .

A Complicated Dig: Dulles Airport MetroRail Extension (Wash Post)

Monday, October 19th, 2009

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[Editor's note: Explanatory graphic from this weekend's Washington Post illustrates how "Building a Metrorail Tunnel at Tysons Corner Takes Brute Force Applied With a Deft Touch" in five panels. Click image above for larger version.]

18 Feet Done, Many More to Go

Republished from The Washington Post.
By Lisa Rein. Graphic by Todd Lindeman and Brenna Maloney.
Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cars crawl down Route 123 in the afternoon rush. Forty feet below them, giant machines and men wearing yellow hard hats begin their advance under Tysons Corner to bring Northern Virginia commuters their holy grail: a new subway.

At $85 million, the half-mile tunnel is the costliest and most complex engineering feat of the 23-mile Metro extension to Dulles International Airport. It will be built while 3,500 cars and trucks cross its path each hour, while the Courtyard Marriott serves breakfast and guests swim in its pool, while hands are shaken over aerospace deals at BAE Systems. It will carry on under two miles of tangled utility lines that convey to Tysons everything from electricity to some of the nation’s most secret intelligence. As of Friday, after three months of digging and prep work, workers had hollowed out the half-mile tunnel’s first 18 feet.

One wrong move and the foundation of an office garage could settle, a top-secret communique through the U.S. Army’s microwave tower right above the tunnel’s path by Clyde’s restaurant could be lost.

“You’ve got gas lines, water lines, drainage lines, electrical duct banks, black wires and a lot more in a busy urban area, which makes for a very challenging tunneling environment,” says Dominic Cerulli, the engineer for Bechtel in charge of building the tunnel. He guides visitors on the first tour of the project on a recent weekday. “I’ve been on jobs where you’re tunneling out in the middle of a parking lot. Here you’ve got to keep businesses up and running.”

When it opens in 2013, the first leg of the rail line will extend 11.5 miles from East Falls Church through Tysons to Wiehle Avenue in Reston. The tunnel, scheduled for completion in late 2011, will connect two of the four Metro stations in Tysons. Cerulli likes to say his project is the toughest part of the line. “But don’t say I said that, because the guideway is also complicated,” he jokes, referring to the elevated section, still 18 months off, that will carry the trains 55 feet above the Capital Beltway.

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

Water Measured From the Sky: Satellites Track Land’s Consumption (Wash Post)

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Republished from The Washington Post.

In Idaho, scientists are using remote imaging to study evapotranspiration, the loss of water to the atmosphere by evaporation from soil and water, and by transpiration from plants.

Water management is serious business in the American West, where precipitation is scarce, irrigated agriculture is a major industry, new housing subdivisions spread across arid landscapes and water rights are allocated in a complicated seniority system.

Related story from The Washington Post »

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Day of the Gaucho Waning in Argentina (Wash Post)

Friday, September 11th, 2009

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[Editor's note: Interesting geography piece in yesterday's Washington Post about how Argentina is producing less free-range beef in favor of US-style feedlots. The days of the cowboy are indeed numbered.]

Republished from The Washington Post.
By Juan Forero. Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cattle Being Moved Off Plains and Into U.S.-Style Feedlots

MAGDALENA, Argentina — Cattle once ruled the seemingly endless grasslands here, delivering decades of prosperity for Argentina and producing a brand familiar to the world — natural, grass-fed beef.

But a quiet revolution has arrived on the famously fertile pampa, a swath of plains bigger than Texas.

Instead of roaming freely and eating to their hearts’ content, a growing number of Argentine cattle are spending a third of their lives in U.S.-style feedlots. There, crammed in muddy corrals, they are pumped with antibiotics and fed mounds of protein-rich grain, which fattens them up fast but hardly conjures up the romantic image of the Argentine cowboy, the iconic gaucho, lassoing cattle on the high plains.

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

News Dots (Slate)

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

slatenewsdots

[Editor's note: This is one of the first tools I've seen that links topics, people & places into a network of graduated circles based on their ranking in the news. The circles are arranged based on their edge connections within the overall topology using the Flare visualization package in Flash AS3. As seen in the above screenshot, Germany is linked to Afghanistan, NATO, the Taliban, The Washington Post, and 20 other nodes. This project is one step forward in the vision I outlined in Topology and Projections: 21st Century Cartography. Disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Company, my employer, but I was not involved in this project.]

Republished from Slate.

Introducing News DotsAn interactive map of how every story in the news is related, updated daily.

Like Kevin Bacon’s co-stars, topics in the news are all connected by degrees of separation. To examine how every story fits together, News Dots visualizes the most recent topics in the news as a giant social network. Subjects—represented by the circles below—are connected to one another if they appear together in at least two stories, and the size of the dot is proportional to the total number of times the subject is mentioned.

Like a human social network, the news tends to cluster around popular topics. One clump of dots might relate to a flavor-of-the-week tabloid story (the Jaycee Dugard kidnapping) while another might center on Afghanistan, Iraq, and the military. Most stories are more closely related that you think. The Dugard kidnapping, for example, connects to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who connects to the White House, which connects to Afghanistan.

To use this interactive tool, just click on a circle to see which stories mention that topic and which other topics it connects to in the network. You can use the magnifying glass icons to zoom in and out. You can also drag the dots around if they overlap. A more detailed description of how News Dots works is available below the graphic.

Interact with the original and learn more at Slate . . .

Old Troubles Threaten Again in Bosnia (Wash Post)

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

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[Editor's note: Before working on Natural Earth Vector, I had no idea Bosnia was composed into two countries awkwardly joined into one state. As the following article from this Sunday's Washington Post explains, the war that ended 14 years ago did little to solve the conflict. Map by Gene Thorp using Landscan population estimates at 1km grid resolution, mashed up with ethnic distribution map by administrative district.]

Republished from The Washington Post.
By Craig Whitlock. Sunday, August 23, 2009

14 Years After War, Leaders Suggest U.S. Should Step In to Rewrite Treaty

SARAJEVO, Bosnia — Fourteen years after the United States and NATO intervened to stop war and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, the old divisions and hatreds are again gripping this Balkan country.

In June, the international envoy who oversees the rebuilding of Bosnia invoked emergency powers that he said were necessary to hold the country together. Although U.S. and European officials have been trying to get Bosnia to stand on its own feet for years, many Bosnian leaders say the only thing that can permanently fix their gridlocked government is for Washington to intervene — again — and rewrite the treaty that ended the war in 1995.

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

Being the Fastest Is Not Enough (InfoGraphicsNews)

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

mapita22

[Editor's note: You'll start seeing more mashups on The Washington Post site the next month. Staff are being trained to use a new mashup maker tool I made that churns out decent maps in 5 minutes flat. Just like in print, normal rules about accuracy in reporting apply. The bottom line, don't show more location detail than you know to be true, as this blog post from InfoGraphicsNews illustrates. Thanks Laris!]

Republished from the InfoGraphicsNews blog.
Original on 12/04/2008.

Yesterday, the terrosrist group ETA killed another person in Spain. In this cases, as most of the cases, internet media have the initative. The first idea is to place the new. Shw where it took place. But the problem is that in this kind of news all the information is changing all the time during the first hour, and the data are not accurate. Yesterday, we only knew that Ignacio Uria was killed while he was going to his favourite restaurant, Kiruri. We didn’t even knew if he came form his house or form his job.

The punch line:

None of those that placed the killing on a exact place were right.

Some rectified later, others didn’t even change it. Being the fastest can’t go before telling the truth. On reconstructions many editors use to say that “the reader know this is not exactly the truth, that we’re just guessing”. I don’t want the reader to not trust us. I prefer to have a reader who really think that when we say something we know it and we’re not guessing.
These are screenshots from some spanish websites two hours after the agencies gave the news:

Continue to view screenshots at InfoGraphicsNews blog . . .

Natural Earth Vector Preview: Cities

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

We’re closing in on having the cities for Natural Earth Vector complete. The final compilation has been made (focusing on a universal coverage based on regional importance, even if the town has less than typical population). Dick Furno has headed up this data theme and is half way thru applying 8 scale ranks to the cities. Population estimates will be added in a final step by another contributor. Screenshots show quick plots of the GIS data. Color implies ranking.

California (below):

california

Alaska-Yukon (below):

alaska-yukon

Europe Biggest Cities (below):

europeless

Europe All Cities:

europemore

Beijing-Tokyo biggest cities (below):

beijing-tokyo