visual data

Donald Trump has been president for two weeks, and he is already facing dozens of lawsuits over White House policies and his personal business dealings. That’s far more than his predecessors faced in their first days on the job. The lawsuits started on Inauguration Day, and they haven’t let up.

Most of the 50-plus lawsuits filed so far relate to the travel ban on refugees and nationals from seven mostly-Muslim countries that Trump ordered on Jan. 27. They were filed in 17 different states by doctors, professors, students, people fleeing violence and Iraqis who have worked for the U.S. military. Some were detained in American airports for hours over the weekend; others were barred overseas from boarding planes bound for the U.S. Two Syrian brothers with visas to enter the country say they were turned around at Philadelphia International Airport and sent back to Damascus.

After 2 Weeks In Office, Trump Faces More Than 50 Lawsuits

Chart: Parker Yesko, Katie Park and Candice Kortkamp/NPR

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What can we learn from ants and plants?  

That’s what IBMer Mauro Martino set out to answer in his award-winning data visualization, Network Earth. It explores nature’s interconnected relationships, and how they affect each other and our planet. By making the complex but important topics easier to visualize, we hope to help make more of them accessible to all.

Incoming! We’ve Got Science from Jupiter!

Our Juno spacecraft has just released some exciting new science from its first close flyby of Jupiter! 

In case you don’t know, the Juno spacecraft entered orbit around the gas giant on July 4, 2016…about a year ago. Since then, it has been collecting data and images from this unique vantage point.

Juno is in a polar orbit around Jupiter, which means that the majority of each orbit is spent well away from the gas giant. But once every 53 days its trajectory approaches Jupiter from above its north pole, where it begins a close two-hour transit flying north to south with its eight science instruments collecting data and its JunoCam camera snapping pictures.

Space Fact: The download of six megabytes of data collected during the two-hour transit can take one-and-a-half days!

Juno and her cloud-piercing science instruments are helping us get a better understanding of the processes happening on Jupiter. These new results portray the planet as a complex, gigantic, turbulent world that we still need to study and unravel its mysteries.

So what did this first science flyby tell us? Let’s break it down…

1. Tumultuous Cyclones

Juno’s imager, JunoCam, has showed us that both of Jupiter’s poles are covered in tumultuous cyclones and anticyclone storms, densely clustered and rubbing together. Some of these storms as large as Earth!

These storms are still puzzling. We’re still not exactly sure how they formed or how they interact with each other. Future close flybys will help us better understand these mysterious cyclones. 

Seen above, waves of clouds (at 37.8 degrees latitude) dominate this three-dimensional Jovian cloudscape. JunoCam obtained this enhanced-color picture on May 19, 2017, at 5:50 UTC from an altitude of 5,500 miles (8,900 kilometers). Details as small as 4 miles (6 kilometers) across can be identified in this image.

An even closer view of the same image shows small bright high clouds that are about 16 miles (25 kilometers) across and in some areas appear to form “squall lines” (a narrow band of high winds and storms associated with a cold front). On Jupiter, clouds this high are almost certainly comprised of water and/or ammonia ice.

2. Jupiter’s Atmosphere

Juno’s Microwave Radiometer is an instrument that samples the thermal microwave radiation from Jupiter’s atmosphere from the tops of the ammonia clouds to deep within its atmosphere.

Data from this instrument suggest that the ammonia is quite variable and continues to increase as far down as we can see with MWR, which is a few hundred kilometers. In the cut-out image below, orange signifies high ammonia abundance and blue signifies low ammonia abundance. Jupiter appears to have a band around its equator high in ammonia abundance, with a column shown in orange.

Why does this ammonia matter? Well, ammonia is a good tracer of other relatively rare gases and fluids in the atmosphere…like water. Understanding the relative abundances of these materials helps us have a better idea of how and when Jupiter formed in the early solar system.

This instrument has also given us more information about Jupiter’s iconic belts and zones. Data suggest that the belt near Jupiter’s equator penetrates all the way down, while the belts and zones at other latitudes seem to evolve to other structures.

3. Stronger-Than-Expected Magnetic Field

Prior to Juno, it was known that Jupiter had the most intense magnetic field in the solar system…but measurements from Juno’s magnetometer investigation (MAG) indicate that the gas giant’s magnetic field is even stronger than models expected, and more irregular in shape.

At 7.766 Gauss, it is about 10 times stronger than the strongest magnetic field found on Earth! What is Gauss? Magnetic field strengths are measured in units called Gauss or Teslas. A magnetic field with a strength of 10,000 Gauss also has a strength of 1 Tesla.  

Juno is giving us a unique view of the magnetic field close to Jupiter that we’ve never had before. For example, data from the spacecraft (displayed in the graphic above) suggests that the planet’s magnetic field is “lumpy”, meaning its stronger in some places and weaker in others. This uneven distribution suggests that the field might be generated by dynamo action (where the motion of electrically conducting fluid creates a self-sustaining magnetic field) closer to the surface, above the layer of metallic hydrogen. Juno’s orbital track is illustrated with the black curve. 

4. Sounds of Jupiter

Juno also observed plasma wave signals from Jupiter’s ionosphere. This movie shows results from Juno’s radio wave detector that were recorded while it passed close to Jupiter. Waves in the plasma (the charged gas) in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter have different frequencies that depend on the types of ions present, and their densities. 

Mapping out these ions in the jovian system helps us understand how the upper atmosphere works including the aurora. Beyond the visual representation of the data, the data have been made into sounds where the frequencies
and playback speed have been shifted to be audible to human ears.

5. Jovian “Southern Lights”

The complexity and richness of Jupiter’s “southern lights” (also known as auroras) are on display in this animation of false-color maps from our Juno spacecraft. Auroras result when energetic electrons from the magnetosphere crash into the molecular hydrogen in the Jovian upper atmosphere. The data for this animation were obtained by Juno’s Ultraviolet Spectrograph. 

During Juno’s next flyby on July 11, the spacecraft will fly directly over one of the most iconic features in the entire solar system – one that every school kid knows – Jupiter’s Great Red Spot! If anybody is going to get to the bottom of what is going on below those mammoth swirling crimson cloud tops, it’s Juno.

Stay updated on all things Juno and Jupiter by following along on social media:
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Learn more about the Juno spacecraft and its mission at Jupiter HERE.

Grab a slice of pie chart.

There are millions of data points that surround us, and one day soon we’ll all be able to see them too. The AR team at IBM has created an AR data visualization using high-dimensional data and the Immersive Insights app. Take a look at how they can reach out and interact with data floating in midair. Ye’ old static bar graph doesn’t stand a chance.

See how it works ->

Medicaid is the government health care program for the poor.

That’s the shorthand explanation. But Medicaid is so much more than that — which is why it’s become the focal point of the battle in Washington to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

President Obama expanded Medicaid under his signature health care law to cover 11 million more people, bringing the total number of people covered up to 69 million.

Now Republicans want to reverse that expansion, and they want to go much further in cutting back on the number of people covered and federal dollars spent. The legislation they’re contemplating in both the House and Senate shrinks and fundamentally restructures the program.

The report issued by the Congressional Budget Office on Monday estimates that 15 million people would lose coverage through Medicaid by 2026 under the proposed Senate bill.

Here are five key things to know about Medicaid as the debate moves forward.

From Birth To Death, Medicaid Affects The Lives Of Millions

Chart: Alyson Hurt/NPR

This is what inspiration looks like.

Some people see music in color. Grammy-winning producer Alex Da Kid is one of them. So when Alex needed inspiration for a new song, the Cognitive Color Design Tool turned powerful imagery into colors that would show Alex the emotion behind five years of cultural data. That’s why Alex Da Kid’s music has so many feels.

Listen to ‘Not Easy’ by Alex Da Kid on Spotify or iTunes

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Sea levels are rising and climate scientists blame global warming. They predict that higher seas will cause more coastal flooding through this century and beyond, even in places that have normally been high and dry.

But mapping where future floods will strike has barely begun.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency maps where people are at moderate or high risk of flooding. Most people with property in hazardous areas — where the annual risk of a flood is one in a hundred or more — are required by law to buy federal flood insurance from FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.

But FEMA’s insurance maps are based on past patterns of flooding. Future sea level rise — which is expected to create new, bigger flood zones — is not factored in.

So some communities are doing the mapping themselves. Like Annapolis, the state capital of Maryland.

Mapping Coastal Flood Risk Lags Behind Sea Level Rise

Images: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post/Getty Images; Leanne Abraham/NPR

Americans broadly disapprove of the Senate GOP’s health care bill, and they’re unhappy with how Republicans are handling the efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Just 17 percent of those surveyed say they approve of the Senate’s health care plan, the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Fifty-five percent say they disapprove, while about a quarter said they hadn’t heard enough about the proposal to have an opinion on it.

With mounting defections within the GOP caucus over the bill, leaders decided to delay a vote on the legislation until after Congress returns from next week’s July 4th recess.

Just 17 Percent Of Americans Approve Of Republican Senate Health Care Bill

Chart: Brittany Mayes/NPR

Women are more enthusiastic than men about the idea of a Trump impeachment, according to the Public Religion Research Institute. Nearly half of women — 47 percent — believe President Trump should be impeached, compared with 32 percent of men.

Not only that, but women are a big reason why his approval rating is so low, Gallup data show. Women approve of Trump far less than they have approved of any other president at this point in his administration in at least the last 64 years, according to data collected since Dwight Eisenhower was in the White House. Men, meanwhile, are within the historical norm.

Impeachment is highly unlikely, but discussion of it has grown more mainstream with developments in the investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election and whether there was any collusion with the Trump team. In particular, Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey in May got lawmakers referring to the I-word as something that was within the realm of possibility. Trump and the White House have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Women Are A Huge Reason Why Trump’s Poll Numbers Are So Bad

Chart: Danielle Kurtzleben/NPR