The Cholera Map in 3D

August 11, 2019

I am fairly sure I have mentioned before my great interest in the way that data can be graphically visualized to create new awareness, or simply to explain something more accurately.  I have even tried to create some myself when I thought they would add value.

One of the most famous early examples of a data visualization leading to political action was Dr. John Snow’s investigation into a cholera outbreak in London in 1854.  By tracking the deaths in one area of Soho, he traced the infection back to a single well that had been polluted.  The map he created to illustrate the specific spread of the disease was instrumental in launching the new science of epidemiology.

Snow’s map was, of course, a two-dimensional display, with all the limits imposed by that technology.  However, the famous map has now been digitized and turned into a 3D object that can be viewed from any angle using the tools on the right of the screen.

This very simple display shows off the potential of 3D mapping very well.

Thanks to the Spatial Awareness newsletter for the tip.


Snacks Tonight #25

August 7, 2019

Homemade mango and coconut ice cream.  Mmmmm mmmm.

Yes We Did, Yes We Can

August 6, 2019

This coming Friday will be the 45th anniversary of the resignation of Richard Nixon as President of the United States.  Some may scoff, and say that is the kind of anniversary that only an old Boomer would remember. But it is far more important than that.

It is a reminder, such as we need in these troubled times, that we did remove a bad President, and we can do it again.

We need to remember this every time the misogynistic racist currently occupying the White House opens his mouth and debases us all with more of his power-hungry vitriol.

Yes, we did it once. Yes, we can do it again.

Mass Killings In the US

August 5, 2019

After the two latest mass killings in the States this weekend, President Trump declared that a primary cause of these killings was that kids play too many violent video games.

“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace,” Trump said in the Diplomatic Room of the White House. “It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this and it has to begin immediately.”

One simple chart proves him wrong, as usual:

Of course, this Administration never likes to have facts get in the way of a good campaign speech.

Thanks to Vox for this.

R.I.P. Barrington Pheloung

August 3, 2019

Barrington Pheloung, one of the most innovative and interesting music composers on TV, has died.

Famous for his theme to the Morse TV series, he also contributed the incidental music for the series, including in his work complex clues to the drama being shown.

“The classical-inspired melancholy score earned the musician global acclaim and a Bafta Award nomination for best original music. Pheloung said the success was down to the show’s unconventional two-hour time slot, which allowed him to write more intricate musical cues.”

He also composed the main themes for both the sequel (Lewis) and prequel (Endeavour) series.


Vancouver City Staff Propose Anti-Democratic Rules

July 23, 2019

There were many many things wrong with Vancouver City Council when it operated under the arrogantly domineering Vision Vancouver majority and its neoliberal pro-development financiers and backroom boys. Perhaps worst of all was their condescendingly dismissive treatment of local residents whose neighbourhoods were being bulldozed solely to satisfy developers’ profits and foreign buyers’ desires.

Vision Vancouver and their mostly American-trained staff created a culture of build for greed rather than build for need that turned Vancouver into one of the least affordable cities on the planet.  Their backers laughed all the way to the bank.

In the last election, Vision Vancouver was essentially wiped out and for one sweet moment we were able to dream of a better tomorrow; a tomorrow in which Vancouver residents would actually be listened to and in which policies would be enacted to enrich our lives and make housing affordable and available to all.

But that dream has become a nightmare. Mayor Stewart (as some of us suspected from the start) is just a less photogenic version  of Gregor Robertson, still under the sway of Visionista advisers and the still-intact cadre of Visionista staff at City Hall. Most of the One City and NPA Councillors have fallen into line, becoming Vision 2.0, pursuing unaffordable property developments, and the Greens have sorely disappointed.  Only Jean Swanson and Colleen Hardwick have had the courage to stand up and be counted for the people.

But things might well get worse.

City staff are proposing to reduce community input even further and to strengthen the hand of City staff and those who influence them.  CityHallWatch have reported on this “ominous” development, coming as it does just before “consultation” is due to begin on the new City Plan process.

“In 2012 CityHallWatch reported extensively on changes to this Bylaw brought in under the then Vision Vancouver regime at City Hall. Another attempt on the Procedures Bylaw was about to be made but abandoned just prior to the October 2018 civic election. It appears this new attempt to curtail the public voice and empower staff is a revival of the wheels set in motion then. The end of July is a strategic time for getting changes through Council with minimal public attention. We have seen this pattern before – for example with Vancouver’s Regional Context Statement under the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy.”

This disturbing proposal is due to be discussed at Council tomorrow.  Here is how you can let Council know that these are anti-democratic policies that need to be rejected.

Wise Words

July 18, 2019

The deeply conservative President Theodore Roosevelt wrote:


“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”


It is way past the time that the GOP should study its history and wonder about its future.