Evolution of beer

Beer dates back thousands of centuries, but it was not the beer we know today. It might have been more… chewy? More like gruel? Sounds amazing. With a fun illustrated piece, The Washington Post describes the evolution of beer, from the chunky fermented grain stuff to the clear carbonated beverage in cans.

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Evolution of Lego brick colors

Lego started with five brick colors: red, yellow, blue, white, and clear. The selection peaked in 2004 but then surprisingly decreased to cut costs. For The Washington Post, Kati Perry shows the evolution.

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Looking for the best pizza for different styles in different places

Locating the best pizza depends on where you are and what kind of pizza you’re looking for. The best-of lists that favor New York-style pizza and the east coast aren’t much good when you want Chicago-style pizza on the west coast. So The Washington Post parsed Yelp reviews to find the best pizza places for a selected style and state.

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Using cold lake water to cool buildings

There are buildings in Toronto, Canada that make use of a deep lake water cooling (DLWC) system, including Scotiabank Arena, home of the Toronto Raptors. Cold water pumps from nearby Lake Ontario and then flows through pipes in buildings to absorb heat. For The Washington Post, Tik Root, with graphics by Daisy Chung and photos by Ian Willms, describes the system.

It sounds a lot like the system I use to cool my beer, well, wort at that point, when I’m brewing.

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Comparing home run in distance different stadiums

In Major League Baseball, a player hits a home run when the ball flies over the outfield fence. However, the distance between the hitter and the outfield fence varies by stadium, which means a home run in one stadium might not be far enough for a home run in a different stadium. For The Washington Post, Kevin Schaul made a thing that lets you compare stadiums.

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Increasing alcohol-related deaths

Alcohol consumption, based on ethanol volume estimates, has been rising over the past couple of decades. The pandemic appears to have sped that up, leading to more deaths. For The Washington Post, Caitlin Gilbert, David Ovalle and Hanna Zakharenko report:

At the same time, the number of deaths caused by alcohol skyrocketed nationwide, rising more than 45 percent. In 2021, alcohol was the primary cause of death for more than 54,000 Americans, causing nearly 17,000 more deaths than just a few years before, in 2018, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Fonts primer

The Washington Post provides an introduction to fonts with mini-quizzes and straightforward examples. You can also change the font of the article:

You make font choices every day. You pick type designs each time you use a word processor, read an e-book, send an email, prepare a presentation, craft a wedding invite and make an Instagram story.

It might seem like just a question of style, but research reveals fonts can dramatically shape what you communicate and how you read.

Everyone knows Comic Sans is always the best choice.

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Competitive hot dog eating requirements

Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest, so gross to watch but impossible to look away, is coming up in celebration of America’s independence. Joey Chestnut is likely to win another title. For The Washington Post, Carson TerBush provides the timeline and explains the physical requirements to shove multiple hot dogs into your mouth in a small amount of time.

I knew Chestnut has been improving over the years, but I’m surprised the rest of the competition hasn’t really followed. Also, plus points for the cute, little hot dog symbols on the time series chart.

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A year of flight paths, for someone with an unlimited pass

United Airlines sold a lifetime unlimited pass in 1990 for $290,000. Tom Stuker bought one and has since flown 23 million miles over the decades. For The Washington Post, Rick Reilly, with graphics by Youyou Zhou, described the flight patterns of a man who figured out how to turn his unlimited miles into unlimited upgrades and gift cards.

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Using gaps in location data to track illegal fishing

Speaking of non-location in the seas, researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz, NOAA Fisheries, and Global Fishing Watch are trying to use the absence of data to identify boats fishing illegally. Harry Stevens for The Washington Post has the maps showing when fishermen turned off their transponders to hide location.

There’s plenty of (missing) data, but the tricky part is figuring out if the shutoffs are during illegal activities or are just fishermen keeping their spots private from competitors and pirates. [Thanks, Michael]

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