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March 31, 2008

Martin Luther King assassination: What really happened?


Let's talk mysteries, shall we?

Forty years ago, there was a high profile shooting of Rev. Martin Luther King and authorities were confident they caught the bad guy, James Earl Ray. Fast forward about 25 years to 1993 and Ray gets a mock trial on HBO that was arranged by his lawyer and King family friend, Dr. William F. Pepper.

Interest builds and next thing you know, two guys connected to the original case pop up. One says he knows who the real assassin is then eventually goes back to knowing nothing. The other was an FBI agent who says he took some papers but didn't realize how important they were.

Who do you believe? TheJustice Department took matters into their own hands and investigated the claims in 1999. Pepper wrote two books, Orders to Kill and An Act of State, both of which you can find at the Broward County Library.

And if that's still not enough conspiracy for you, then check out CNN on Thursday, April 3 for their show "Eyewitness to Murder," which promises to be an in-depth documentary into the case.

Meanwhile, check out my News Illustrated to learn the basics of the case. Just remember not to take my word for it.

POSTED IN: Belinda Long-Ivey (39), History (20)

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March 28, 2008

Martin Luther King National Memorial: MLK tribute closes in on $100 million goal


Check out this Flash graphic I did last year for the Rev. Martin Luther King's National Memorial that's being built in Washington, D.C. You can check out what it will look like through artists renderings and video. By the end of 2007, it had received more than $93 million in donations. Visit the memorial's official Web site, where you can make a donation. It is scheduled to completed sometime in 2009.

King assassination: Conspiracies still surround MLK's death 40 years later
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr's assassination, I have a graphic coming out in Sunday's Outlook section that revisits the crime scene. You'll find a 3D model of the Memphis neighborhood that illustrates the Lorraine Motel (where King was shot) and the boarding house where police say the assassin fired his weapon. I've highlighted key shops and buildings that play an important part in the case. And pay attention to the details because they eventually weave into the tales of key players who came forward in the early 1990s with new evidence. If anything, you'll at least learn some interesting conspiracies about King's murder.

POSTED IN: Belinda Long-Ivey (39), History (20)

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March 27, 2008

Light pollution takes 'star' out of gazers

Light pollution is most prevalent in urban areas across the U.S. Many parts of Florida are not good for people looking to catch a nice view of stars. Here's some information about where you'll find the most and least polluted areas in case you want to do some star gazing.


Here is another map that has details about where to check out the night sky, including detailed light pollution maps for areas all over Florida.


POSTED IN: Environment (52), LIndsay Dubois (35), Science (44), Space (9)

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March 26, 2008

How construction cranes work


With the recent construction crane accident in Miami, we thought a page created last July by former graphics reporter Hiram Henriquez would be informative. It explains how construction cranes lift, how much they cost, and how they are constructed.

To download the News Illustrated page, click here.

POSTED IN: Renee Kwok (24), Technology (27)

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March 25, 2008

Drones to tell NOAA about storms

Back in September, 2005, a News Illustrated page introduced the use of unmanned drones to allow hurricane hunters to safely study the lower regions of tropical cyclones. It explained how the aerosondes are flown into the storm where stongest winds are found and save data and measurements every 10 seconds on the plane's hard drive. It also explained how it communicates with a ground station to complete flight plans. To download the News Illustrated page, click here.

POSTED IN: Renee Kwok (24), Technology (27)

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March 24, 2008

Red Palm Mites found in Florida, Caribbean invader confirmed in December

Select this interactive graphic to see how mites damage plants.

These bugs spread like the wind, seriously; they hop on a gust. Officials want people to submit plant material and insects for testing to get a better idea on how they spread. Download a form to submit samples and read these directions. Mites or infested plant material must be placed in a container with rubbing alcohol. Treatment options are also available.

I know that a lot of you may worry that your trees/plants have mites. These unwelcome pests prefer palms, banana, gingers, heliconia and other flowering plants. A complete list is available. Additional information can be found at Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Affairs, Or in Broward County, call 954-370-3725 . In Palm Beach County, call 561-233-1700

To find out if red palm mites have been spotted in your area download the News Illustrated page.

POSTED IN: Cindy Jones-Hulfachor (46), Environment (52)

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March 21, 2008

Red Palm Mites attack Florida, that sucking sound is your plants dying

Photo illustration, photos by the United States Department of Agriculture, NASA

Well I just finished a page about a monstrous looking bug invading South Florida. The Raoiella indica Hirst, alias red palm mite, can’t physically take on Florida but can do major damage to 32 species of palm and various other plants. The Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Affairs, has basic info on this little monster.

Stop back by on Sunday for an interactive explainer of how the mites attack plants — and which plants you are likely to have in your garden. If you think you have the mites, we'll tell you how to send in plant samples for identification.

And don't forget to check out my page in Sunday’s edition of The Sun-Sentinel. It's on the back of the Outlook Section and it’s full of information you need to know. It also shows the mite up close. I mean REAL close.

POSTED IN: Cindy Jones-Hulfachor (46), Environment (52)

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March 20, 2008

Do stingrays have a killer rep?

blogThumb2.jpgHere is a News Illustrated page that was done back in 2006 when there was an attack in the Intracoastal Waterway and "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin died. It explains a lot of things about stingrays, like the stinger, body parts, size, etc. Hopefully it can give some insight into the animal that killed a tourist from Michigan Thursday morning in the Florida Keys.

POSTED IN: Environment (52), LIndsay Dubois (35)

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Florida population changes, U.S. and World population clocks march on


I built the really awesome interactive map above so that you can see how the population has changed in Florida from 2006 to 2007. It's pretty neat to see what is going on in your neck of the woods.

If you find all this interesting and want more, here is a link to a U.S. and World population counter. It's always updating, so you can watch the world grow right from your computer.

Here is another really cool link that tells you the number of people of people being born, dying, etc. every few seconds. Not terribly useful for everyday life, but definately cool trivia to know. There are also some world population numbers.

If you want to see the changes as they happen, here is the place for an RSS feed.

POSTED IN: Government (48), LIndsay Dubois (35)

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March 19, 2008

Iraq war casualties by state and city


The map above was produced with data from the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count web site. Once you are there, click on a state to get detailed information. It has city-by-city details of forces who have died or been injured in Iraq. The information is collected from several sources, including Centcom, the Multi-National Force of Iraq, news reports and the Department of Defense. All reports must be confirmed by the Department of Defense to be counted.

Who's doing the counting? Here's an excerpt from the site:

This site is maintained by amateurs. We have no affiliation with the government, think tanks, or news organizations. The site is maintained during the early morning hours, late at night, and during lunch breaks. This site is provided as a free service and is self financed with cost off set by user donations.

Their records match the Department of Defense in most cases. Casualties that have not yet been confirmed are listed but identified as such.

POSTED IN: Government (48), Len De Groot (29)

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March 18, 2008

Welcome to News Illustrated

Hello and welcome to one of the Sun-Sentinel's newest blogs. Rather than bore you with who we are and why we're here (check About This Blog if you really want to know), here's some examples of what we do and what you can expect.


You may have seen the Florida property tax calculator before. We struggled to explain how portability would affect individuals (including us — we have homes, too). So Karsten Ivey built a calculator to figure it out. It made his brain bleed a little, but the end result is simple to use and informative.

Lake OkeechobeeSome graphics just work better when you can play with the information. This Lake Okeechobee water level graphic lets you scroll on a timeline and watch lake levels change.

A Broward County and Palm Beach County home foreclosures graphic lets you investigate detailed information in your neighborhood. Go ahead, we'll wait.

You're back? Excellent! Did watch you the lunar eclipse in February? Well, we produced a total lunar eclipse graphic to help you plan your viewing.

PrimaryElection.jpgPolitical junkie? We have you covered. We built a Florida primary election results map for the January primary. It updated every two minutes on election night. Look for more of these in November.

But we're not afraid to have fun.

Are you a snowbird? Did you come down and forget to leave? Well, we know there are somethings you can't help but miss. So check out our South Florida snowman builder. It's good for what ails you.

paperairplane.jpgOr check out our Paper Airplane Garage. That's right, we actually got paid to play with paper airplanes so that you could too. Choose from several different models, customize their appearance then print them out and build 'em.

Well, now you've got an idea of the things we do.

Be sure to let us know what you think. And give us your ideas and requests. We'll try to so something with the best of them.


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Jason Taylor fox trot easy as 1, 2, 3, 4...


Last night on "Dancing with the Stars", Jason Taylor used these basic fox trot steps to wow home viewers.

To learn more about ballroom dancing check out The site has diagrams, videos and other instructional information on all types dances, including the waltz, tango, cha cha, rumba, paso doble and the jive.

POSTED IN: Fun and games (21), Len De Groot (29), Sports (15)

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