A Detroit High School, Then and Now

DETROITURBEX Detroit then and now 9

No other American city has been quite so effected by boom and bust as Detroit. A once bustling metropolis famous for being the production hub of the US auto industry, the city is perhaps most famous now for its blocks of abandoned buildings, massive crime and general distopian atmosphere. Detroiturbex is a website dedicated to raising “awareness of the social and economic challenges the city of Detroit faces through photography.” Here they’ve created a shocking series of photographs inside the now demolished Lewis Cass Technical High School, overlaying old photographs over the new. The contrast – from just a few years ago in many cases – is shocking.

One Hot Year: Visualizing US Fires in 2012

By just about any standard, 2012 was a massive year for U.S. wildfires. According to data from both the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) and NASA, over 9.1 million acres burned this year… and that was only tracking until November 30th. That figure places 2012 as the 3rd most wildfire filled year since 1960, and with the total number of fires being 55,505 – a relatively low number – the year holds the current record for the largest average fire size.

American Life: Rare Color Photographs During WWII

Black and white photographs always seem to be stuck in the past, giving us an often unrealistic perspective on how long ago events really were. Think about it, most of us know someone who was alive during the 1940s, many of them fully grown members of society. For them life during World War II was a vibrant one full of memorable experiences, both challenging and enjoyable. These images, taken by photographers working for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI), make the war years look much more recent using one rare tool of the time: color film.

Visual Bits #307 > The Old And The New: Election 2012

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Wasteland Wanderlust: Derelict Vehicle Drawings

Paul White has been obsessed with cars since a young age, loving trips to find parts in the wrecking yards of his childhood home in western Sydney. Surrounded by the car culture of his area, he drew the hot cars of his era… a passion which later developed into work in the professional art world and a style uniquely his own.

Visual Bits #227> Independent Sky



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500 Year Old Map of America Found Hidden in Book

Just in time for Independence Day, one of the first European maps to recognize the continental mass known today as North and South America was discovered tucked between the pages of an old geometry book in the Munich University Library. The map, which is over 500 years old, was created by German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller using data from Amerigo Vespucci’s voyages to “The New World” from 1501-1502, hence the designation “America”. Until now, the map had been lost sometime in the 19th century after being misfiled in the university library. Including this one, there are only 5 versions of the map that are known to exist and one of them sold for $1 million at an auction in 2005.

The Growth of American Food Portions

It’s no secret that waistlines and food portions have been ballooning across America, the land of the free and home of the artery clogging super-sized value menu. The last few decades have seen a massive shift in the thinking of American consumers, restaurants, fast-food chains and food manufacturers. The emphasis has changed into giving the consumer more food for less money; hasn’t anyone noticed that a small soda has turned into a medium, a medium into a large, and so on? This focus on more for less doesn’t just stop at out-of-home options either: packaged food companies are making portions larger, plates are getting bigger, and we’re so surrounded by this growth that we don’t know how much we really need to eat.

Death & Taxes: How is the U.S. Spending Our Money?

Death and Taxes is a behemoth graph of the federal budget. Containing 500 of the largest programs and departments, nearly all that receive over 200 million dollars each year, the graphic gives us a revealing look at where the U.S. puts its financial priorities.

Created using data from the president’s 2012 budget proposal, Jess Bachman spends a few months each year creating a new edition to keep us up to date. All of the program circles are proportional in size to their funding levels and for comparison the percentage change from both 2012 and 2002 is included so you can identify trends. For a full sized, zoomable view, or to purchase the yearly poster, head to deathandtaxesposter.com

The History Of English In 10 Minutes

Did you know that Shakespeare alone contributed more than 2000 new words to the English language? How about that the words cow, sheep and swine, come from English farmers while their culinary versions, beef, mutton and pork, come from French? With its many borrowed and newly invented words, the English language is one that continues to adapt to a changing world. This witty 10 minute animation (in 10 parts) looks at some of the diverse history surrounding the popular language.