Maps of wildfire smoke pollution

Wildfire obviously damages the areas it comes in direct contact with, but wildfire smoke can stretch much farther. Based on research by Childs et al., Mira Rojanasakul, for The New York Times, shows how pollution from smoke spread between 2006 and 2020.

My kids’ rooms still have air filters from a few years ago, when a fire many miles away made the sky orange and our indoor environment smokey.

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Climate and the San Francisco fog

A reliable dense fog in San Francisco is a defining characteristic of the city, to the delight of some and less delight to others, but the pattern of fog could be on its way out as the climate changes. Scott Reinhard, for The New York Times, visualized the flow of fog and what sucks it into the bay. That intro image is something.

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Estimating the condition of the economy

Measuring the condition of the economy is tricky, because there are many parts to the economy. You can’t just say it’s good or bad. So Ben Casselman and Lauren Leatherby, for The New York Times, broke it down with a series of charts to view from different angles.

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Science of the tennis toss

To serve the ball in tennis, a player first tosses the ball in the air. The New York Times explained the details behind the simple action, from mechanics, positioning, to point of contact. They got fancy with it.

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China’s possible blockade around Taiwan

It appears China wants to impose a blockade around Taiwan with ships, submarines, and airplanes. The New York Times mapped the possibility and how it could disrupt life in and around the island.

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Megaflood scenario

Highlighting research by Xingying Huang and Daniel L. Swain, who studied “plausible worst case scenario” extreme storm sequences, The New York Times provides a glimpse of what that might look like in California. There are maps, there are charts, and there is an augmented reality view to put rain in your living room.

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Breaking down the higher price on a restaurant receipt

If you’ve eaten at a restaurant lately, you might have noticed a substantially higher bill than you’re used to. You’d be right to assume that it’s because of things like inflation and pandemic-induced prices, but you might not realize how much the cost of ingredients, labor, and a new takeout business model has gone up for restaurants. Priya Krishna and Umi Syam, for The New York Times, redesigned a single receipt to show a more detailed breakdown.

The receipt presentation and color-coded scrolling are tops. It’s a well-made table that works with the copy to highlight items.

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Tracked while reading about being tracked at work

While reading this NYT article, by Jodi Kantor and Arya Sundaram, on the drawbacks of activity and time tracking for work, the article itself tracks your reading behavior. You see counters for the time you spend reading and scrolling, clicks, keystrokes, idle time, and active time. It comes complete with snippy comments and a final grade — and a bitter taste for productivity tracking.

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Serena Williams’ career rankings

Serena Williams announced her retirement from professional tennis. As is required for any milestone by a great athlete, a step chart from The New York Times shows her world ranking over time.

I like the focus on the higher rankings, which is fitting for the occasion, and dotted lines that indicate the smaller chunks of time Williams ranked below 20.

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Finding illegal airstrips in Brazil

Using a combination of satellite imagery, crowdsourced databases, and analyses, The New York Times identified airstrips used for illegal mining in Brazil:

To confirm these locations and connect them with illicit mining, Times reporters built a tool to help analyze thousands of satellite images. They examined historical satellite imagery to determine that 1,269 unregistered airstrips still appeared in active use within the past year. They documented telltale signs of mining nearby, such as clear cut areas of rainforest and pools that miners use to separate dirt from ore. And they determined that hundreds of the airstrips in mining areas are within Indigenous and protected lands, where any form of mining is against the law.

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