Invisible-5 – unique audio tour of California’s Interstate 5

For those of you who live and travel in California, the Invisible 5 Audio Project is a unique self-guided audio tour of the landscape along I-5 between San Francisco and LA. What makes it different is that it is put together by a collaborative of environmental and other watchdogs groups to give a very different perspective on the I-5 corridor, including pollution, water issues, and other political and social issues. Even if you don’t have first-hand knowledge of the area, check out the site and read about the Invisible-5 project. It’s definitely a unique and ambitious project.

Via Trends and networked_performance

Visualizing World Population

The Hive Group created this cool visualization of population facts for the world’s countries using 2004 CIA Factbook data. In addition to representing countries in a tree structure that can be organized by continent, area, population or density, there are also slider filters that let you zoom up and down the tree structure. Definitely worth checking out.

Via Digg

California Car Culture Could Heighten Earthquake Woes

Sorry for the excessive alliteration there, but it sums up this article quite nicely, I think. It appears that the infrastructure that surrounds car ownership does more than generate excessive amounts of smog. Carports, garages, overpasses and the like could pose a significant risk to California residents should a massive earthquake like San Francisco’s 1906 quake strike. I think we’ve all seen the historic footage of the Golden Gate Bridge shaking like a polaroid picture. Imagine that happening anywhere around the state and you can see the concern!

Gospel of Judas Found

This is rather off the beat and path from our normal news, but I thought it was interesting given the National Geographic Society’s involvement. Apparently a National Geographic Society expedition has discovered a leather wrapped papyrus manuscript written in Greek in Egypt. This manuscript featuring what is believed to be the gospel according to Judas is considered to be the “most significant ancient, nonbiblical text to be found in the past 60 years.”

Via the New York Times

Trying to Stop Extinction Before It Happens

The BBC has an interesting article about a group trying to pinpoint speicies that might soon be candidates for extinction. The idea is that if you can identify a speicies in trouble before the critical point, you can save more of them (clearly). Apparently this group has identified 20 areas that are prime for human development and thus potential species extinction.

National Agricultural Statistics Service Updates Site, Includes Mapping

The National Agricultural Statistics Service updated their site to include a whole host of new ways to get their data, including a fancy new mapping service. The latest data I could find on their map was 2002, but you can really get at what you want pretty easily, either map or table form. One note is that their maps are in SVG format, which is an extenstion put out by Adobe. It allows for some pretty cool dynamic quering of data but it does require a plugin. If you’re into US agricultural statistics, the site is definately worth a look. Here’s the direct link to the site.

Comparing ancient landscapes and communities

A recent article on the National Geographic News page discusses the research done by Robert Drennon and Christian Peterson from the University of Pittsburgh comparing 3 ancient chiefdoms in a number of ways, including mapping the housing patterns and other aspects of the landscape. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed a great deal of diversity between the communities located in the Oaxaca Valley of Mexico, Alto Magdalena in the Andes, and Hongshan in China. The authors noted they hoped more datasets can be collected from the sites of ancient communities around the world.

“Million Dollar Blocks” mapping project

The Spatial Information Design Lab at Columbia University has been working with the Justice Mapping Center to map the phenomenon of “million dollar blocks” in US cities. These are US Census Blocks where the cost of incarcerating the residents of that block who are in prison is $1 million or more. The aim of the project is use mapping and spatial analysis to try to understand the phenomenon and offer insight that can be applied to real life policy initiatives.
Via We Make Money Not Art