Washington Post

203 posts
How N95 masks work

In efforts to reduce further spread of the virus, the US is set to distribute millions of free N95 masks across the country. Aaron Steckelberg and Bonnie Berkowitz for The Washington Post illustrated how the masks work. Early in the pandemic, N95 masks were hard to get. My wife, who is a healthcare worker, described how she and her colleagues would have to reuse N95 masks and store them in...

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Congressmen who enslaved people

Using old Census records and documents, Julie Zauzmer Weil, Adrian Blanco and Leo Dominguez for The Washington Post tallied the congressmen who enslaved people over time. There were more than 1,700 enslavers over Congress’s first 130 years. The grid (or tile) map above shows the timeline for each state, showing the percentage of officials who were enslavers from 1789 to 1923. Periods before states gained statehood status are faded out....

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Play miniature golf, learn about congressional redistricting

Congressional redistricting and gerrymandering are important topics, because they can directly change election results. However, gerrymandering is called gerrymandering, so it’s too easy to get lost in the details. Well, fret no more. Dylan Moriarty and Joe Fox for The Washington Post made a miniature golf game to teach what’s currently at stake. It’s a ten-hole course where each putting green is in the shape of a district. The shapes...

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Analysis of Facebook groups before January 6

The Washington Post and ProPublica analyzed Facebook group posts that disputed election results: To determine the extent of posts attacking Biden’s victory, The Post and ProPublica obtained a unique dataset of 100,000 groups and their posts, along with metadata and images, compiled by CounterAction, a firm that studies online disinformation. The Post and ProPublica used machine learning to narrow that list to 27,000 public groups that showed clear markers of...

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Mapping the weather disasters of 2021

Zach Levitt and Bonnie Berkowitz for The Washington Post mapped and animated the natural and weather disasters from 2021. Differing from the 2019 version by Tim Meko, they framed it by month, which let them start with floods in January, through the storms in March, April, and May, to fires in July, up to the tornadoes in December. It was a rough year for many, only compounded by that virus....

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Why we listen to the same Christmas songs

You know it’s the holiday season when Mariah Carey starts singing about wanting you for Christmas. The Washington Post goes into why we listen to the same songs every year: Holiday music burrows into a sweet spot in our brains’ wiring, said Brian Rabinovitz, a lecturer at the College of William & Mary whose expertise is the neuroscience of music. All music can stimulate the brain’s pleasure centers, he said,...

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Rapidly growing African cities

In a multi-faceted piece, The Washington Post described the rapidly growing cities in Africa that are projected to be the most populated cities in the world: In three projections by the University of Toronto’s Global Cities Institute, Africa accounted for at least 10 of the world’s 20 most populous cities in 2100. Even in the institute’s middle-of-the-road development scenario, cities that many Americans may seldom read about, such as Niamey,...

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Bird power rankings

Using data from Project FeederWatch, which is a community tracking project to count birds around feeders, Miller et al. estimated the pecking order among 200 species. This was in 2017. For The Washington Post, Andrew Van Dam and Alyssa Fowers worked with the researchers for an updated ranking using a more comprehensive dataset. The result is bird power rankings 2021 edition. Tags: birds, ranking, Washington Post

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Job growth was underestimated

Andrew Van Dam for The Washington Post used a bar chart with corrections to show new monthly estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for job growth: After the revisions, disappointing months like August looked a lot more like October, a month that was hailed as a labor market rebound. In hindsight, while a blockbuster June and July were even better than they looked, they didn’t lead to months of...

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Commuting calculator

Sergio Peçanha and Yan Wu for The Washington Post made a calculator that shows how much time you spend commuting in a year and what you could do with that time instead. The input, interaction, and calculations are straightforward. Just use the slider to specify your roundtrip commute time, and the numbers update. The easiest thing to do would be to just provide the total hours. You commute for an...

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