Week 10: Research

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For my project, I Will be doing option 1. I am going to focus on explaining the environmental problems cats cause when their owners allow them to wander free by using graphs and other infographic displays.

Are you solving the right problem?
Yes, because free wandering cats cause a huge problem to the local wildlife by out competing local predators and exterminating endangered species.

Have you understood user needs?
Yes, a lot of news articles people read today throw huge numbers around without really making sure if their audience understands the scale of the problem. Using David McCandless' TED talk as inspiration, I intend to visually describe the problem in a way that is easy to comprehend.

Have we explored alternatives?
Other alternative topics that I could research about is an overview of the amount of e-waste we produce, or the amount of food waste we create and how to get rid of it, or a guide to different yoga poses and what muscles they stretch. However, the environmental impacts of cats is a topic I feel most interested in.

Have we selected a plan based on desirable criteria?
Since I want to explore the potential of interactive media, I will be designing an interactive infographic.

Do we understand that we're likely going to have to iterate to get it right?
Of course. No one gets things perfect on their first try, so the only solution to that is to try again and again.

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  1. Deaths caused by feral or free-wandering cats are the 2nd most ecologically destructive to wildlife populations (1st is habitat loss) 
  2. Cat colonies are maintained and fed by cat lovers, allowing them to reach unnaturally high densities, allowing them to hunt more prey and outcompete other predators who don't have alternate food sources
  3. Even well fed cats will hunt
  4. Feces contain toxoplasmosis, which can cause miscarriages in pregnant human women and affect wildlife
  5. Cats have led to the extinction of many mammal, reptile, and bird species
  6. More birds and mammals get killed by cats than by "collisions with windows, buildings, communication towers, vehicles and pesticide poisoning" and other human-related causes
  7. Feral and free-wandering cats live much shorter lives than cats that primarily live indoors, so keeping cats indoors is better for a cat
  8. Cats kill roughly 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals per year
  9. Cats usually kill native species rather than invasive species
  10. In comparison, about 365 million animals, mostly mammals and birds, are killed by car every year in US




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