Income Distribution

From the firm the personal finance site HowMuch, an interesting visualization of income distribution in the United States. The data was drawn from 2018 Social Security Administration wage data.

The visualization draws upon 2018 wage data from the Social Security Administration. The circle graph represents 100% of the total wages earned in the U.S. Each slice of the circle represents the percentage of Americans whose net compensation fell within a certain interval, such as $0-$4,999 or $5,000-$9,999. The larger the slice of the circle, the higher the percentage of Americans within that net compensation range. In addition, each slice of the circle is color-coded. The shades of pink indicate lower wages, while the shades of blue and green indicate higher wages. At first glance, you can see that most of the circle is pink, corresponding with the high percentage of low-income Americans.

There are so many nuances and circumstances at the individual level that make surveys and analysis like this so difficult to interpret. In addition, it does not factor in ‘foreign’ spending or investment which is clearly a massive influence in US economics.

I’m a focus group of one however just using a basic ‘eye test’ of what you see on a day to day basis across different regions of the country compared to what is depicted in this chart, things do not seem to match up. Yet with that said, it is still a very interesting visual to further understand what is happening across the country from a wage perspective, especially considering the huge hit that the US economy is taking as a result of COVID-19.

More Digitally Enhanced Videos From The Turn of 19th Century

I am completely fascinated by the efforts of the Polish firm Neural Love to to restore old, choppy grainy movies from the 1890s-1910’s using neural network technology. The end results are just amazing, especially those that are taken in some of our major cities, such as the one below from Paris. It is especially poignant when you compare it to Claude Lelouch’s “Rendezvous” and to the fact that Notre Dame went up in flames about a year ago.

Another restored video that I find interesting is the one below of miners and laborers from the United Kingdom. This video, originally filmed around 1901, was originally part of an 2013 exhibit at London’s Tate Britain museum about L.S. Lowry’s art. The connection is that the video below as taken at Pendlebury, just outside of Manchester, and Lowry’s had moved there in 1912.

As I’ve said before, the quality of the restored videos bring out so much rich detail and they feel like they could have been taken last week with a bunch of actors playing the parts. Just a wonderfully restored lens into life 120+ years ago that make you wonder who the people in the video were and what became of their lives.

Trends Driven By COVID-19

Interesting visuals from the firm Glimse detailing several different search trend lines as a result of COVID-19 and the fact that 80% of the world is now on ‘stay at home’ instructions. From the above screen grab, it is interesting that while the interest in Skype has grown significantly, it is about a third less searched than Zoom. The old guard, standard bearer for video calls has lost some of its luster to the new hot girl.

And with everyone staying at home and social distancing, our personal hygiene and sex lives are pretty much going to shit.

Ferrari Racing Through Paris

With all the great cities around the world looking like ghost towns these days due to the CoronaVirus pandemic, thought it would be a good time to revisit arguably the first epic ‘street racer’ video of all time – Claude Lelouch’s “Rendezvous”. While the video has gained legendary status over the years, not all felt so enamored with what he did:

Due to the illegal nature that had to be undertaken in order for the movie to be filmed, the director Claude Lelouch was arrested upon the first screening

What I found great about this classic is being able to see how Paris looked in the mid 1970s – and especially the vintage 1970s cars on the streets – while at the same time being able to clearly recognize the classic sites and venues that the city has to offer. It’s only 10 minutes long and being able to ride shotgun at high speed through the relatively empty streets of Paris still gets the blood pumping.

In 2012, filmmaker Alex Roy made a short video analyzing and breaking down Lelouch’s classic video:

Twitter Tuesday – The Week In Tweets

London Underground Stations

File this under “content you didn’t realize you needed”.

For some reason, I have taken my hobby of creating computer desktop wallpapers to both the next level and to the depths of London town, as I have created desktop wallpapers representing each and every station in the London Underground system. They are done in two “flavors” – one that has the Tube stop logo overlaid on top of a map of the whole system. The other has the Tube stop logo with a ‘subway tile’ background.

Why did I do this? I’m still trying to figure that out. I guess it is just a romanticism with the city of London, and it’s eponymous Tubes system. I love the simplicity of their branding and logo system. I love the complexity of their subway map, underlying the utter chaos that is the street system of London itself. I love the small, unique neighborhoods of London as much as I like the grand spaces like Piccadilly and Hyde Park.

So if you’ve ever spent time in London, and you had/have a Tube stop that you can call your own, head on over to my London Underground page, find your station, and download it and decorate your computer or your iPad or your iPhone.

Another Illustration of Why Social Distancing Is So Important

So you may have seen videos from a few weeks ago of college aged “Spring Breakers” in Florida completely ignoring the guidance to ‘social distance’

“If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I’m not gonna let it stop me from partying”

NOTE: To the kid’s credit, he did apologize for the tone deaf comment, however the damage was done.

To further illustrate how important it is to practice ‘social distancing’ during this time to prevent the acceleration of COVID-19, a data tracking service called Tectonix GEO (a little self-serving but that’s another story) demonstrated how one specific cluster of ‘spring breakers’ on a beach in Fort Lauderdale – where if even one of them had the virus – could/would/did exponentially spread it throughout the country.

Each little dot on this screen grab above represents a mobile device. So first thing they did was highlight a fairly small but specific set of devices located on the beach in Fort Lauderdale a couple of weeks ago. From there, using what they called a ‘spider query’, they then tracked the movement of those specific devices over the next few weeks to demonstrate how this one isolated beach gathering could rapidly and exponentially spread the virus.

That is pretty much the clearest demonstration of how important ‘social distancing’ is in combating the spread of this virus. I mean, seriously look at that map. That small cluster of phones on the beach in Florida essentially distributed out to every state east of the Mississippi and few west of there.

Now, to really make you shudder, think of this same scenario playing out repeatedly in NY or Chicago or San Francisco. In fact, we saw it play out in real time with the first really publicized case out of New Rochelle, NY. That one lawyer who had the virus, went into and out of NYC without knowing he had it, and through community spread, easily exposed upwards of 1,000 people to the virus before anyone knew.

You can watch the full demo below (only a minute long):

Twitter Tuesday – The Week In Tweets

The Vikings Were Badasses

The Draken Harald Hårfagre. via drakenhh.com

Through history and popular culture, the Vikings of the northern parts of Europe (Norway, Sweden, Finland) have always had a the reputation as hardened, sturdy folk who were able to deal with any situation head on, with the matter of fact clarity that make men and women swoon.

In my opinion, the importance of the Norse on European culture has always been underrated. They were prolific explorers and a critical piece of their traveling exploits were the amazingly sturdy, iconic boats that they built.

So as we fast forward a couple of thousand years to present day, we find the Norwegian Sigurd Aase, who in 2008, initiated a project to build a modern day version of the traditional Norse ship – the Draken Harald Hårfagre. The ship looks exactly like the traditional Norse ships, all the way down to the decorations and embellishments, and was built to as close to specification as could be.

The Vikings left almost no record of how they built their ships, or how they sailed them. Draken Harald Hårfagre is a recreation of what the Vikings would call a “Great Ship”, built with archaeological knowledge of found ships, using old boatbuilding traditions and the legends of Viking ships from the Norse sagas.

Yet, at the same time it has very modern technology built into it. Here is a video of it traversing the North Sea during a storm.

From their YouTube page:

Sometimes it is hard to imagine that this was just a couple of months ago. Draken and her crew have been through storms on the North Atlantic Ocean. What an achievement, sailing from Norway, to Shetland Islands, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland – just like the Vikings did a 1000 years ago, and into the St Lawrence Seaway, trough the locks and into the Great Lakes. She made it, it is a real modern Viking voyage.

Now, let’s think back a couple of thousand years when the ‘real’ Vikings sailed around the North sea, wearing handmade fur outerwear, navigating the seas in these boats with nothing but wooden oars. Pretty amazing. Pretty badass.

Visualization of Past Pandemics

Great visualization and fact based article detailing some of Earth’s most significant pandemics, going all the way back to Justinian in the 5th Century. While we are in the early stages of the CoronaVirus (COVID-19) and we have yet to determine the long term human impact of this outbreak, this visual does put it in perspective compared to the Black Death/Bubonic Plague of the 1300’s and the Spanish Flu of the early 20th Century.

What is interesting as noted in the article is how the rise of urbanization, globalization, and the ease in which society can now travel around the world has been a key driver of the spread of pandemic incidents:

We arrive at where we began, with rising global connections and interactions as a driving force behind pandemics. From small hunting and gathering tribes to the metropolis, humanity’s reliance on one another has also sparked opportunities for disease to spread.

Urbanization in the developing world is bringing more and more rural residents into denser neighborhoods, while population increases are putting greater pressure on the environment. At the same time, passenger air traffic nearly doubled in the past decade. These macro trends are having a profound impact on the spread of infectious disease.

As organizations and governments around the world ask for citizens to practice social distancing to help reduce the rate of infection, the digital world is allowing people to maintain connections and commerce like never before.

Nicholas LePan, Visual Capitalist

COVID19 Life – Day 5

Today was the fifth day of the full on quarantine. For many, this experience started way earlier but for me and my family, things have radically changed within the past week as it has for so many others. Thankfully, none of us are showing any symptoms and we all appear healthy.

For me, the hardest part of this experience has been the impact that it has had on my children – one who is a Freshman in college and one who is a Junior in high school. Those ~6 years – late high school and college – are arguably some of the best and most important years in a person’s life, where you grow, where you change, and where you make deep meaningful friendships with your peers. Not to mention, it is the period where you find and hone your interests and try to set a path for the rest of your life. That experience has suddenly been ripped away from my kids and it is just heartbreaking.

My son has been doing virtual schooling via his high school since Monday. My daughter started her virtual college classes today. In general, the transition to virtual classes has been fine, but both have expressed really missing the interactions with their peers and the fun of spending time with their friends. The novelty of it for a week or three may sustain both of them, but I am worried when we get to May and they are still doing the virtual classes. How will their state of mind be by that point? What will be the emotional toll?

The scary thing is that this may not be a temporary thing. This situation could have long, deep, lasting impacts that go beyond when ‘things get back to normal’, because I don’t (and no one knows) what normal will look like. How will colleges and universities operate in the near term, with kids living so close to each other and interacting so closely on a campus? How will this impact kids who are the same age as my children from a social and emotional perspective? For high school kids in their Junior year, how will colleges evaluate their applications and factor this experience into the equation? How will universities factor the emotional and psychological toll of this experience into how these high school Juniors performed during this year? What about the kids who are high school Freshmen and Sophomores? Will all the schools out there transition to become the University of Phoenix?

Those are the things that I am thinking about these days, as we get all sorts of prognosticators predicting how long this will be the way we will live.

Optimistically, the medical community will find a vaccine for COVID-19 and it will eventually go away like mumps, rubella, and polio. But how long will that take? Because, I’m more interested in seeing how ‘social distancing’ will impact how we interact with each other in the near and long term future.

Twitter Tuesday – The Week In Tweets

A Trip Through 1911 NYC

Another amazing restoration of a vintage movie – this time from 1911 – depicting life in and around NYC – using modern computing neural networking capabilities. Many of the scenes in this video could be from today, if not for everyone wearing suits, white straw hats and bowlers. What is most amazing to me is how you can instantly recognize certain street intersections (beyond the obvious Flatiron Building/23rd Street/5th Avenue one). Worth a watch.

MLS Wallpapers Updated for 2020 Season

A touch late after the kickoff of the 2020 MLS season but I have updated all the Home/Away wallpapers to resemble the kits for the full slate of MLS teams. As always, I took a little ‘artistic license’ with some of them however you should find that they all are true to their 2020 kit designs.

Some random thoughts: Piling on with the hatred of the new Chicago Fire logo and highly bland kit designs….I think I like the Toronto FC away kits the best out of the whole league…with the Houston Dynamo’s funky orange striped ones a close second (so funky, I could not replicate it on my version of their wallpaper…will have to revisit it one day soon)…still can’t believe that the NE Revs still have that horrid 1990s faux painted logo…No surprise that Sporting FC has the most elegant, sharpest kit designs.

Here’s to a solid MLS year ahead and hope that keeps momentum for USA soccer as we look to 2022.