Ten years ago today, I was in organic chemistry lab when the prof walked in and mentioned, somewhat casually, that an airplane had apparently hit one of the World Trade Center towers in New York. We all assumed it was some accident, and I distinctly remember picturing a small private plane of some sort.
By the time I was done synthesizing and purifying and precipitating, I returned to the dorm to find everyone gathered around CNN, watching looped footage of not one but two full-sized commercial airliners striking the towers.
Ten years later, it seems the entire United States is still gathered around 24-hour cable news, still watching the planes strike the towers. If, like me, you find it easiest to contemplate those ten years in numbers, Wired’s Danger Room has compiled an elegant series of infographics illustrating the costs and consequences of the last decade.
It’s only data. It cannot, of itself, tell us whether the last ten years were well spent. ◼