Before and after photos of areas affected by the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, displayed via Google Street View and on the site Memories for the Future. You can also see the dates of each photo on the lower right corner of the images.
The New York Times has updated its interactive timeline of tornadoes and notes that, with the deaths from yesterday’s outbreak in Joplin, Missouri, 2011 is the deadliest year since 1953. Curious to see where tornadoes occur the most (realizing, of course, that this is information that I could easily find elsewhere), I combined all the years into the single map above. Blue dots represent tornado touchdowns, and yellow circles represent deaths.
An interesting observation from playing the timeline is that there is a large, step-wise increase in the number of touchdowns starting in 1996. Compare the number and spread of tornadoes since 1996 to the previous 45 years:
Except for 2011, the number of deaths for each year in this recent period is not significantly different from that of the previous years. Is the higher reported incidence of touchdowns due to better reporting, or have there really been more tornadoes in the last 15 years?
Weather disasters and quakes: who’s most at risk? The analysis below, by Sperling’s Best Places, a publisher of city rankings, is an attempt to assess a combination of those risks in 379 American metro areas. Risks for twisters and hurricanes (including storms from hurricane remnants) are based on historical data showing where storms occurred. Earthquake risks are based on United States Geological Survey assessments and take into account the relative infrequency of quakes, compared with weather events and floods. Additional hazards included in this analysis: flooding, drought, hail and other extreme weather. (Map)
I’m not sure I can believe this. Is the West Coast, with its earthquakes, really safer than the South and its tornadoes and hurricanes? I guess you can argue that one risk factor is better than two, but I don’t see volcano risk on this map, which would knock the Pacific Northwest down a peg or two, no? And, although the wildfires in Texas have been in the news lately, it seems that California has them every year. Incidentally, Slate did an assessment in 2005 and named Storrs, Connecticut as the safest American city, but this map pretty much ranks the entire Eastern Seaboard at medium risk. Different metrics, different results.
The Gawker Network unveiled their latest redesign to their platform of content sites yesterday with some… hiccups.
First, the network crashed, then came the flood of mixed reviews (many not too flattering), and, of course, some press from Nick Denton on the Observer saying how the platform redesign will boost page views for their Oct. 2011 traffic (sales) goals. Seeing how everything is now a click, this would seemingly inflate pageviews as long as the viewers are not bothered by things like rich media flash units running up and down the page, colors changing on once favored sites like Gizmodo and Lifehacker every time they have a major advertiser, and a tablet-style UI.
We don’t often post strong opinions one way or the other—we held back on Tropicana, iTunes and the Gap—but, when something is self-proclaimed as “the biggest event in Gawker Media history,” coming from someone whose business model revolves around cutthroat editorial, satire comes naturally.
Click on the image above to see my visual mapping and annotations on the “big event.”
This is the extent of the 2010 Pakistan floods, shown relative to the size of the US. It would pretty much cover the Eastern Seaboard.
We’ve probably all seen the BP oil spill superimposed over a local map by now. In a similar vein, the BBC has produced visualizations of other recent disasters, including Chernobyl and Bhopal. See how many of your neighbors would be affected if these disasters came to your hometown.