Day 351 – Presenting data

OK, this was going to be a longer post and then I had a hell of a day and now I’ve given up on anything except braai’ing and beer, so it’s now going to be a shorter post.

However, my point still stands.

And the point that still stands is this:

If you have data to present, it doesn’t matter how interesting or dull they are, presenting them in an engaging manner can still capture the attention of your audience.

For example, you might have some really dull data about lots of different types of the colour grey which you need to share with your colleagues. A pantone colour table is not going to be the way to do it. No-one cares about the difference between light elephant and rainy sky. However, if you… if you… erm… actually, this is a poor example, because off the top of my head, I can’t think of an entertaining way of presenting data about several differing tones of grey.

If only there was something…

But never mind.

Here’s the data I want to share today. And what an incredble way of doing it.

Yesterday marked 10 years since the 2011 tsunami in Japan, and I was sent this – a snapshot of all the earthquakes in and around Japan in 2011. Japan is pretty seismologically active, so there’s plenty going on, but it’s still rather grey data, right? Not if you present them like this.

You’ll need your sound on and you’ll want to watch (at least) until the 11th March (about 0:45), for obvious reasons. Keep your eye on the event count in the bottom left corner.

It’s quite something, isn’t it? What a way to present fairly basic data in a form that is easy to understand at any age and with any degree of expertise. And what a way to demonstrate the sheer terrifying scale of that earthquake on 11th March 2011.

If you want to view the whole year, it’s on Youtube here.

Day 241 – Libertador O’Higgins

It sounds like a made up name, doesn’t it?
Something you might find in an off-the-wall comedy skit show.

But no.

Crazy name, crazy guy, crazier legacy!

(Not to be confused with Bernard O’Higgins (?–1564) who was an Irish Roman Catholic bishop. He served as the Bishop of Elphin from 1542 to 1564.) (Obviously.)

I discovered Libertador O’Higgins in Chile thanks to there being an earthquake near there last night:

It turns out that Libertador O’Higgins is a region of Chile, just south of Santiago and named for… well… Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins.

And who was he?

Bernardo O’Higgins Riquelme (1778–1842) was a Chilean independence leader who freed Chile from Spanish rule in the Chilean War of Independence. He was a wealthy landowner of Spanish and Irish ancestry. Although he was the second Supreme Director of Chile (1817–1823), he is considered one of Chile’s founding fathers, as he was the first holder of this title to head a fully independent Chilean state.

He was Captain General of the Chilean Army, Brigadier of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata, General Officer of Gran Colombia and Grand Marshal of Peru.

I think that we could have guessed the Irish ancestry bit.

… the illegitimate son of Ambrosio O’Higgins, 1st Marquis of Osorno, a Spanish officer born in County Sligo, Ireland, who became governor of Chile and later viceroy of Peru. His mother was Isabel Riquelme, a prominent local; the daughter of Don Simón Riquelme y Goycolea, a member of the Chillán Cabildo, or town council.

You can read more about his role in the Chilean Independence movement and his time as Supreme Director of Chile – and his part in Peruvian Independence – on that link above.

But this was the bit that got me: he has a really, really impressive array of stuff commemorating him, including (but not limited to):

– an administrative region in Chile (which had an earthquake near it last night)
– a major road in Santiago and a National Park
– a Blue Plaque and a bust in Richmond in London
– plaques, busts and statues in Sydney, Guatemala City, Costa Rica, Buenos Aires, Bogota and Cadiz
– Chile’s highest award for a foreign citizen
– an unorchestrated opera
– 3 ships, a submarine and an Antarctic research base
– a set of stamps in Chile and one in Ireland
– an actual football team

Yes: An. Actual. Football. Team.



Cape Town Earthquake!

Sort of, anyway:

That email to me (personally, see the header) from the USGS ENS, telling me about a quake just down the road ocean from Cape Agulhas. I never felt a thing. But then it was about 2000km away.

Here are the details – phew, it looks like we dodged a bullet:

Although, has anyone heard anything from Bouvet Island this morning?
Their twitter account (here) doesn’t mention anything. Mind you, it seems to have given up when Trump became US President. Perhaps understandably.

An aside: Bouvet Island looks amazing. I’d certainly visit there if it wasn’t for the earthquake danger.

Johannesburg Tremor “M5.3” – USGS

Preliminary indications suggest that the tremor felt by most people in Gauteng this lunchtime was of Magnitude 5.4 and was centred approximately 6km east of Orkney on the border of North West and Free State provinces.
The recorded depth of the tremor was 10km – that’s quite shallow and explains why it was so widely felt.


Interestingly, zooming in on that epicentre lands you right in the middle of the Vaal Reefs Mine complex.

M 5.3 – 6km E of Orkney, South Africa

Time: Location: 26.986°S 26.741°E
Depth: 10.0km

Earthquake mashups

Fortunately, we don’t really have earthquakes here in SA, but if we did have a semi-active geological fault, we’d almost certainly build a nuclear power station on it.
Not so California, of course. They’re well used to living alongside the infamous San Andreas Fault. Fairly recently (January 1994), LA was rocked by a 6.7Mw quake, killing 57 and injuring almost 9,000.

But that was nothing on the April 1906 San Francisco earthquake of 1906. No exact figures have ever been calculated as to how many died that day, but it’s widely believed to be over 3,000, with over 275,000 left homeless.

Now, Shawn Clover of… er… has done some blends or mashups of modern day San Francisco and the city after the 1906 earthquake. And they’re really rather good.

Shawn’s captions are also clever – seamlessly describing both the 1906 and current scenes.

Go and see more in the two parts of his 1906 Earthquake blends, here and here.

Photo credits: Shawn Clover, durr