Rockhounding in California

Any outdoor activity sounds amazing at this point. Andrea Roberson and Casey Miller for Los Angeles Times put together this charming to rockhounding in California. Each rock type has the tools needed, laws, and where to find it. The guide even has some 3-D models in there for good measure.

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California wildfires map

Los Angeles Times provides a California-specific map of the current wildfires to stay updated on what’s happening right now.

In the zoomed out view, hexagons bin the individual fires and color by number of hotspots. Wavy hatching indicates levels of air pollution. In the zoomed in view, see the individual fires and click for current status.

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Tracking who’s wearing masks correctly

For The Los Angeles Times, Casey Miller went hyperlocal to track mask wearing in three locations in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Over a week, a group of reporters counted people who passed by and tallied if people wore their mask correctly, incorrectly, or no mask at all.

The above is the breakdown for a spot on Main Street in Huntington Beach.

Maybe the best part is that there’s a simple tool at the end so that you can count in your own spot:

If it weren’t so smoky outside, I’d give this a go.

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Warped shape of the galaxy

Dorota M. Skowron et al. made the first 3-D map of the galaxy. Sean Greene and Andrea Roberson reporting for the Los Angeles Times:

Astronomers have understood since the 1950s that the galaxy is curved, but until now, they’ve based that idea on models and indirect measurements.

Over a six-year period, the researchers took more than 100 images of the galaxy from their observatory in the Chilean Andes. In particular, they monitored 2,400 stars called classical Cepheids, a category of “young” supergiants less than 400 million years old.

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Does the first to 100 points usually win in the NBA?

Los Angeles Clippers commentator Ralph Lawler has a saying: “First to 100 wins. It’s the law.” The Los Angeles Times checked the numbers to see how true the statement is. It’s been true for over 90 percent of games over the years, but has become less true as pace and the three-point shot has changed dramatically in recent years. Now it’s more like first to 114.

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Census data downloader to reformat for humans

There is a lot of Census data. You can grab most of the recent aggregates through the American FactFinder or via FTP or some obscure Census page that hasn’t been updated in a decade. It’s, uh, not always the best experience. The Census Data Downloader from the Los Angeles Times data desk is a Python library that streamlines the download process, if just a little bit.

The main added value comes from a way to use existing definitions or make your own to download tables as CSV. That way you get readable headers instead of meaningless table codes.

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French fry power rankings

Lucas Kwan Peterson for the Los Angeles Times ranked fast food french fries. That is all.

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Where Camp fire destroyed homes

The Camp fire death toll rose to 63 and 631 missing as of yesterday. The Los Angeles Times provides some graphics showing scale and the buildings that burned.

Ugh. I live a few hundred miles away and the smoke is bad enough that my son’s school is closed today. It has not been a good year for California in terms of wildfires.

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Every Kobe Bryant shot charted

Every Kobe Bryant shot

In celebration of Kobe Bryant’s final game, the Los Angeles Times charted all 30,699 field goals threw up over his twenty-year career. A tour feature takes you through some of Bryant’s most significant shots, and an exploration mode lets you filter down to the shots you’re interested in, like buzzer beaters, jump shots, or just makes.

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Drought report cards for California water districts

Water Report Card

Thomas Suh Lauder for the Los Angeles Times provides you with a way to see how the water district near you is doing relative to the rest of the state. Look up a location. Get a report card.

It's still not looking good for California's drought situation. Lots of brown yards, parks with dying grass, and barren farm lands up for sale. It depends where you are though. For example, the park near where I live is almost completely brown, but in the city next to mine, the parks are oddly lush green.

Makes this local view all the more important.

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