knowledge in pictures


Two weeks ago, the German weekly Newspaper »Die ZEIT« started a series of featured Infographics on three current topics.

The first one by Golden Section Graphics in Berlin (website here, blog here) is about virtual water. It explains the amounts of water used to produce things like beer, milk, cheese, jeans and a car by depicting cubes of water with the corresponding volume. This way, the reader gets a very good idea of how many liters of fresh water he actually comsumes by buying or using one of these products. Also, the graphic briefly explains how these amounts are being calculated as well as how much water there is on our planet and how it splits up into groundwater, atmospherical water etc. The daily consuption of one person per day and its parts for hygiene, doing the laundry and watering (among others) is revealed in a simple pie chart.

The first person on the moon 40 years ago is the occasion for the second graphic, and it has one big map of the moon with all sites where past missions, manned and unmanned, succeded or… well, crashed. A neat timeline on the left tells a story about the race to earth’s oldest satellite at the end of the 1960s between the United States and Russia. For many years, there were virtually no efforts for further explorations — the lunar surface was better charted than the earthly seabed. One possible future mission led by the US and planned for not later than 2020 is explained by highlighting a good location for a manned permanent moon station at the south pole. This is an in-house graphic by ZEIT.

The third graphic, published today, is about the evolution of the bicycle. In this case, the start of the Tour de France in two days is the occasion. A spiral timeline carries 11 detailed models and explains the inventions that made the bikes of today secure, comfortable and fast. The oldest one is from 1817 and it had no pedals, no brakes and was etirely out of wood. A second timeline explains other inventions with small illustrations, for example the penny farthing, the chain drive, rubber tires and aluminium frames. This graphic was also made by Golden Section Graphics (see No. 1).

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