How much trash do you think you produce in a day? How about a year?
It adds up a lot faster than you might think — especially in the United States, which collectively generates more garbage — or municipal waste — than any other nation on earth. With only five percent of the world’s population, America creates roughly 25 percent of the planet’s waste. On average, each American produces more than seven pounds of trash a day (or 2,555 pounds a year) according to a recent Columbia University survey. That’s a big pile of garbage, and it’s the cause of some unsettling consequences. But it’s also great fodder for a catchy animated music video, composed by the folks at Explainer Music for The Lowdown. See below for a closer look at the numbers.
Includes cartoon infographic
In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision last June to strike down a key oversight provision in the Voting Rights Act, a number of states have already enacted controversial new voting rules that had previously been barred. In the third part of his cartoon series on the VRA, Andy Warner explores some of these changes. Continue reading
Courtesy of Flickr/Loren Javier
For the record 47 million people who rely on food stamps — about 1 in 7 Americans — paying the cost of a full Thanksgiving meal tomorrow may be a bit tougher than it was last year.
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
On Nov. 1, monthly benefits for most families on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) were reduced by about 5 percent. That amounts to roughly $36 in cuts per month for a family of four — from $668 to $632 — based on maximum benefit levels, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency overseeing the program. The reductions stem from Congress’ refusal to renew about $5 billion in additional benefits that were provided as part of the 2009 stimulus bill.
So how does that translate in Thanksgiving dollars?
In its annual survey, the Farm Bureau Federation — a conservative group — calculated the average cost (nationwide) of all the standard fixings in a Thanksgiving meal for 10 people at about $49 – or $4.90 per person. Even assuming the cheapest ingredients and small portion sizes, it’s a very conservative and somewhat dubious estimate and obviously varies significantly by region. But for the sake of argument, let’s use it. (See the last Lowdown post for the breakdown of costs.)
Includes cartoon infographic
The U.S. Supreme Court in June struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act. The decision significantly hinders the enforcement authority of the federal government to prevent voter discrimination in state and local elections. This cartoon infographic, the second in a three-part illustrated series on voting rights in America, explains the court’s decision and the immediate implications of the ruling (see part 1 here). Continue reading
Includes interactive graphics
By Lewis Lehe and Matthew Green
Who doesn’t love sitting in traffic? Especially when there’s no apparent reason for it: no crashes, no tolls, no flaming mattresses. Just a sudden and infuriating slowdown of the cars ahead, causing you to slam on the brakes, spill coffee all over yourself and slow to a glacial crawl, usually when you’re already late for something important — a job interview, for instance. Pure gridlock. Continue reading
Includes cartoon infographic
By Andy Warner
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key part of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. As voters across the country head to the polls today in the first national Election Day since the court’s momentous decision, it’s worth explaining what exactly the Voting Rights Act is, how it came to be, and how the court’s recent decision will alter the law. This cartoon infographic is the first in a three-part illustrated series on voting rights in America. To view as a slideshow, click the link below. Continue reading
Quick shopping quiz:
That $130 pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing for weeks is now marked down 20 percent. To sweeten the deal, you have a coupon for 10 percent off your entire purchase. In other words, you’re looking at a discount of: 10% off 20% off $130.
So … how much would you end up paying?
Percentages. You can run, you can hide … but they’ll find you.
From sports to the news, to — most importantly — shopping, they are pretty hard to avoid. And if you’re among the 80 percent of our population who doesn’t really understand the math behind percentages (OK, so maybe I just made that percentage up), then you’re missing out on a whole bunch of important information (fabulous shopping discounts included). In these three short videos, animator and explainer extraordinaire Josh Kurz, breaks down the basic math behind common percentage conundrums.
Part I: The Basics
Includes Cartoon Infographic
Following up on his last cartoon infographic exploring “the poverty threshold” in the United States, graphic journalist Andy Warner digs into the concept behind “the poverty line,” the origins of that measurement and why it’s considered so outdated today. View it below in full, or in segments as a slideshow. Continue reading
Includes images, video and charts
This is what U.S. federal debt looks like in physical dollars (and bear in mind that today’s debt has grown to more than $17 tirllion). Image by demonocracy.info
And here I was just starting to get my government shutdown groove on.
I mean, without the thrill of waking up every morning to the debt default doomsday machine ticking down to the brink of economic catastrophe, life honestly seems a bit mundane. At least Congress didn’t go too nuts and actually resolve the issue; they just went ahead and did what any rational group of people do when confronted with a difficult situation: they put it off for another day — you know, kicked the can down the road. Anyone smell a sequel? (And yes, I’ve already reserved front row tickets for Round 2 in January. I hear it’s gonna be awesome. My sources tell me that before the final death match, John Boehner reveals himself as President Obama’s real father).
But seriously … With the stroke of a pen, the government sputtered back to life last Thursday morning after Obama and Congress ended a 16-day political standoff that had left large swaths of the federal government shuttered and put the U.S. at risk of losing it’s ability to borrow money. The compromise allows federal agencies to resume operations, reopen public facilities and abruptly end the unpaid staycations of hundreds of thousands of furloughed employees. Continue reading
Includes interactive maps/charts
As Bay Area commuters once again brace for the possibility of a prolonged BART strike and look to alternative transportation means, it seems apropos to feature this innovative multimedia piece: a collection of some of the region’s major public transit lines and the dramatic income disparities that exist among the communities living along those routes. Continue reading