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April 29, 2008

Tips to help you sell your home

Today's homeowners can get desperate to sell.
Here are some tips to help you focus your efforts on preparing your home.

POSTED IN: Belinda Long-Ivey (39), Cindy Jones-Hulfachor (46), Home (7)

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April 28, 2008

Tracking sea ice...and hearing it too!


This is a cool animation of the sea ice from January through December 2007 from NASA. The first part of video doesn't show much, because it's the winter months, but the last half shows the ice melting which is neat to see. There are also other animations of sea ice from past years.

If you are interested in tracking the changes in the sea ice, the National Snow and Ice Data Center has set up a website for Arctic sea ice news and analysis. They give monthly updates on the ice and the conditions in the Arctic, graphics showing changes and other updates. Their website also has other information about sea ice in general and the processes, natural and otherwise, that are affecting it.

On a lighter note, have you ever wondered what it's like to live under blocks of ice? I know I have. Here is a link to an acoustic live stream from underneath the Antarctic ice to give you an idea, not of what sights you'd see, but of what sounds you'd hear. I think I hear Mumble from Happy Feet tap dancing away down there...

And if you didn't catch my News Illustrated page yesterday, you can download it here.


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April 25, 2008

Ladies, seamen, 12 o'clock: Your guide to recognizing a sailor's rank and insignia



With Fleet Week nearly upon us, we thought we would trot out a guide to reading a sailor's uniform. The page dates from 2004 and serves as a guide to rank and medals.

Of course, if you would rather know the ranks and insignias for the Marines, you can find them here.

Anchors away!


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Arctic sea ice is rapidly declining

Say what you will about global warming, but it is hard to deny the steady and fast loss of sea ice in the Arctic. These two images show sea ice extent at the end of the melting season in September. The top image is from 1979, the bottom image is from 2007.



Pretty big difference, huh? The 2007 melting season set a new record for melting, which isn't good, because sea ice plays an important role in regulating climate and providing a habitat for some pretty cool animals, like the narwhal. Even if you have no particular feelings towards blocks of ice, you've got to admit the narwhal is worth saving. I'm mean, come on - it's got a tooth that's longer than you are tall. Check out my News Illustrated page in the Outlook section on Sunday to find out why the ice is melting so fast and how it's affecting the people and animals living in the Arctic.

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

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April 24, 2008

United States rice production since 1991

With the rising price of rice and possible shortages, here is a look at rice production in the U.S. You can also find information about acreage and yield in the U.S. and by state on the United States Department of Agriculture website.


Soaring rice prices:


Also, here's a look at where rice is grown around the world.


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

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April 22, 2008

Hot air balloon game: Up, Up and away!

Here is an interactive game that I made to go along with my News Illustrated page running in the Outlook section of the Sunday paper. I did the page to go along with an event happening this weekend in Kendall. It's the 25th Annual Sunrise Community Hot Air Balloon Race. More than 40 balloons will be taking off and it's FREE! That is always a plus. Here is a flyer with more information about the activities, such as Laser tag and crafts. It should be a fun event and a great way to see hot air balloons in action.

If you want to see a copy of the full page, click here.


POSTED IN: Fun and games (21), LIndsay Dubois (35), Sports (15)

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Digital, HD broadcasts over air already available in South Florida


For those suffering through poor cable and satellite broadcasts, the impending switch to mandated digital broadcasts over the airwaves has resulted HD being available in many areas throughout South Florida.

Find out which stations broadcast digital signals at Select "Choose an antenna" and enter your address for the best results. The site will tell you what stations are available and the type of antenna you need to receive them. You can also view a map that shows you where to point your antenna for the best reception.

Apply for a coupon for digital-to-analog converter box: The government is issuing $40 coupons toward specific converter boxes for older, analog television sets at

The News Illustrated page: To see if you need a converter box or to learn the differences between analog and digital signals, download a pdf.

POSTED IN: Cindy Jones-Hulfachor (46), Technology (27)

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April 21, 2008

Map of carbon emissions, just in time for Earth Day

Scientists at the Vulcan Project, have collected data to create a series of maps to illustrate CO2 emissions in the US.

The Project is funded by NASA and the Department of Energy under the North American Carbon Program (NACP). The Vulcan CO2 inventory is intended to add detail and scope to policy discussions and aid demographers and social scientists.


Detail map of carbon emissions for Florida taken from map below.


Map of carbon emissions for the United States.

Are we making progress? The news is mixed. The image below illustrates the change in emissions from 1998 to 2002. The West, North East and parts of Florida have decreased their CO2 levels while levels in the middle of the country have increased. Methodology.



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April 18, 2008

Earthquake in Illinois? It's just a drop in the bucket.

A 5.2 magnitude earthquake rocked southeast Illinois, and the tremors could be felt as far north as Chicago. Weird, you say? Well, check out the U.S. Geological Survey's map that shows where all the earthquakes in the country occurred in the past week. You'll see the Illinois quake was the biggest in the continental United States.



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April 16, 2008

Details of the Pope's visit

An official itinerary gives a detailed accounting of Pope Benedict's visit in Washington D.C and New York.
The Pope met the President at the White House which is only the second time a pontiff has visited there.

Here are websites for some of the places he will be visiting.

White House

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

The Catholic University of America

Pope John Paul II Cultural Center

Park East Synagogue

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Joseph’s Church

Yankee Stadium

Andrew Air Force Base

POSTED IN: Cindy Jones-Hulfachor (46), Religion (2)

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April 11, 2008

More MMA: Don't try this at home


If you missed the MMA explainer in Sunday's News Illustrated, you can download it here.

Also, for more local coverage you can look at some of the best fighters in South Florida and their profiles at our photo gallery

POSTED IN: Renee Kwok (24), Sports (15)

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Mixed Martial Arts: Enter the Octagon

Mixed Martial Arts, aka ultimate fighting, has exploded, gaining a huge fan base.

Learn more about the sport's rules and some of the more popular moves in the interactive above. Or look in Sunday's Outlook section for the News Illustrated page that gives a basic overview. Also, check out Sunday's Sports section for full coverage of the latest and greatest in MMA.

For more updated information, visit our MMA site.

POSTED IN: Renee Kwok (24), Sports (15)

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American Airlines cancellations: What is wrong with the planes?

Found two graphics on the wires today that explains the inspections on the American Airlines MD-80 planes. Turns out the problem is in wire bundlings inside the wheel wells. But this isn't the first time an airline grounded the plane for the same problem. Read on:



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April 10, 2008

American Airlines cancellations affect you?: Who to contact


The flights that American Airlines has canceled over the past few days have no doubt been inconvenient. The chart above shows the large jump in the number of cancellations. If you aren't sure if the changes affect you, here is a link to information about the changes and a place to search for information about your flight. You can also email their customer relations department to receive compensation if cancellations have forced you to stay overnight somewhere. Happy travels!

POSTED IN: LIndsay Dubois (35)

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April 9, 2008

Hurricane prediction: Weak La Niña a factor

Tropical Pacific Sea Surface Temperatures Animation
Animation of La Niña off the coast of South America Flashing will stop once loaded.

William Gray came out with his annual prediction today and said a weak La Nina could contribute to a storm season with as many as 15 named storms.

The blue areas off the coast of South America extending through the middle of the image are sea surface temperatures that indicate a La Niña. They are stronger in January, but there appears to be a slight warming trend closer to the coast.

For more information, click on the image above to see more animations or checkout NOAA's La Niña Web site.


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April 8, 2008

I miss football: Long summer ahead

It's only April and I already miss football. Anyone for a game of the paper variety? In fact, let's start a league. Oh wait, one already exists.

The interactive graphic above was created by Multimedia Director R. Scott Horner for last year's football preview. Enjoy.


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April 7, 2008

Florida rainfall drenches middle of state


Wow. That was a bunch of rain last night. The image above is a composite of several NEXRAD radar stations that shows rainfall in inches. More is on the way, so try to stay dry.


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April 4, 2008

Dragon boat racing in South Florida kicks off on April 19

After a three-year absence, dragon boats will be paddling in the Synergy Dragon Boat races in Deerfield Beach's Quiet Waters Park on April 19. This marks the first of at least three festivals in the state for the next several weeks. The race, will be a little different from the bigger Miami festival on May 31, in that they're using smaller boats that can fit a crew of 10 to 12.

For more information, download my News Illustrated page, which features a typical racing crew and how they operate. You can also see the types of boats used in the sport and learn how to make the perfect stroke.

But before you go, check out this graphic that explains how a racecourse is set up. That way, if you watch the races, you'll impress tourists and gawkers alike.



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Dragon boat racing: Finally, a sport set to a beat!

Let's get it straight: This is not canoeing. Nor is it rowing, or crew and definitely not kayaking.

Dragon boat racing involves a team equipped with extra large paddles, a steersman and ... (wait for it) ... a drummer! Music sets this sport apart from the others because the beat helps synchronize paddling of 18 to 20 people.

How do they do it, you ask? Well, on Sunday you can see for yourself in my full-page graphic that shows how the crew works and the different types of dragon boats. You'll even learn how to make a perfect stroke.

But if you simply can't wait, check out this training video I found of the Puff dragon boat racing team that participated in the annual Miami dragon boat festival last year. Perhaps that will wet your appetite.


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Hurricane forecast vs. storm path: It's not as easy as it looks


Noel's actual path superimposed on a 5-day forecast.

With the National Hurricane Center's push to extend their forecast to seven days, we decided to take a quick look at Noel, a tropical storm that threatened Florida last year. The track veers wildly at times, but it mostly stays within the forecast cone. Noel became a hurricane after passing over the Bahamas.

You can view the NHC's animation of Noel forecast maps or the report for the entire 2007 hurricane season.


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April 3, 2008

Shark attacks in Florida led the world in 2006

This is a News Illustrated page that was done last year. It looks at shark attacks in Florida and around the world. It also talks about who usually is attacked.

POSTED IN: Belinda Long-Ivey (39), Environment (52)

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April 2, 2008

Fort Lauderdale street car: Is city California dreaming?


Promotional rendering of The Wave transit system

Fort Lauderdale has decided to ante up part of the money ($37.5 million) for a proposed light rail loop downtown. I can't wait for the sourdough bread and clam chowder.

You can download the city's promotional materials and map of where the train would go or watch a short video of what the intersection of Andrews Avenue and 2nd Street could look like.


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April 1, 2008

New CPR so simple, anyone can do it

CPR has just been simplified.

Watch this video for details on how to perform this easy hands-only CPR.

More information is available at The American Heart Association which has additional videos.

To see a step-by-step graphic also shows the procedure.

POSTED IN: Cindy Jones-Hulfachor (46), Health (21)

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Hurricane forecast: 2008 ocean temperatures compared

Forecasters are warning of an intense hurricane season this year. So we thought we would offer you a look at sea surface temperatures, a contributor to hurricane formation and intensity.

The images below compare three years of records for March 31. While 2008 doesn't look bad yet, there is still plenty of time for oceans to heat up. The images are produced daily by NOAA, so you can check on them at any time.

Also, check out Ken Kaye's Storm Center for regular updates on hurricane coverage.



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