Sunday, April 19, 2015

England's Temperature in 2014

2014 was UK's hottest year on record, says Met Office. What does that mean on a day to day basis? England has a collected data on daily temperature from 1772 in the Hadley Centre Central England Temperature (HadCET) dataset.

According to wikipedia, last year was the hottest year in this dataset with an average temperature of 10.94 °C.

I downloaded this Hadley Centre dataset. And I followed this tutorial. Based on an original graphic by Tufte. The picture is similar to the one from my post on Dublin's 2014 Weather.


Looking at the black line that represents last years temperatures it was the winter and autumn that were far above average. Instead of a scorching hot summer the three record hot days were in October and December. No day in 2014 was the coldest for that date in the recorded time.

The wikipedia page on this dataset shows the average temperature of this dataset rising over time

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Peak Loom Band

I was talking to the owner of a craft shop today. She told me she knew of many people who were stuck with stock from the loom band craze of last year. Waterford Whispers reported it as "Parents Urged To Hack Off Any Child’s Arm That Comes In Contact With Loom Bands".


A Google Trends shows the craze's lifespan



By the end of summer all that was left was a bin of tiny plastic hoops at bargain prices. Are crazes lasting less time now?


The Age Of Earthquakes points out




Crazes end. This is not like the Tulip or the South Seas Bubble. I don't remember hearing people would get rich selling loom band to each other. Unlike the way Beanie babies were sold as an investment. The sort of thing you could split up during a divorce



BTW she thinks Parachute Cord will be the next craze

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Photographing your food and everything else

Who was the first person to photograph all their meals? It seems a reasonably common thing now "26 out of 45 customers spend an average of 3 minutes taking photos of the food."
First Camera, Then Fork discussed the taking photos of your food phenomena but doesn't describe who initiated it.
But who was the first person to start photographing all their meals? Or indeed all their activities. Obviously its much cheaper for us to do now with smartphones but was there an eccentric Victorian lord who photographed everything? Life loggers have been around since the 1990s. I'd be surprised if none of them deliberately photographed their food at the time.
“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin in 1825.

If food photos are much more popular how about all photos? How many photos are taken a day and how does that compare with in the past?

Facebook Photo uploads total 300 million per day
Instagram averages 70 million photos a day
Flickr 1 million photo shares a day
Photobucket says "More than 2.25 million images are shared daily"
There is a buzzfeed page on photo stats How Many Photos Have Been Taken Ever?
It’s estimated only a few million pictures were taken in the 80 years before the first commercial camera was introduced.
"By 1930, about a billion photos were taken a year." So in three days more photos are being uploaded onto facebook/instagram than then taken in the world in the 1930s.
"By 1970, about 10 billion photos were taken a year." Or a month of photos being put up onto facebook/instagram.
This article "This is What the History of Camera Sales Looks Like with Smartphones Included" has a great graph that explains why this huge increase in photo taking.


Friday, April 03, 2015

Smoky cooking is worse than war

Over 4 million people die prematurely from illness attributable to the household air pollution from cooking with solid fuels.
that is according the WHO.

Compare that to other things we worry more about
Road traffic injuries 1,274845
Suicide 844 460
War 70,000
Murder 430,000

'the number of war deaths has also plummeted. In the 1950s, there were almost 250 deaths caused by war per million people. Now, there are less than 10 per million' With 7 billion people in the world that would be 70,000 per year. '437,000 people murdered worldwide in 2012'
The war statistic is a bit misleading as things go be very quiet until a big one kicks off.

Still the idea that instead of sitting around camp fires singing peace protest songs we should sing campfire protest songs was surprising to me.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Farage's Claims about HIV in the UK

Labout leader Ed Miliband called out UKIP leader Nigel Farage here on a hiv claim


The claim is reported here as
Nigel Farage has lashed out at NHS treatment for foreign HIV patients – branding them “health tourists”. The UK Independence Party leader made the claims in ITV’s leadership debate this evening. He said: “Here’s a fact, and I’m sure other people will be mortified that I dare to talk about it. “There are 7000 diagnoses in this country every year for people who are HIV positive, but 60 percent of them are not for British nationals.

To break this down "In 2012, there were 6,360 new diagnoses of HIV". "There were 6,000 people (4,480 men and 1,520 women) newly diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2013". The 7000 figure sounds high. Lets see what data is produced to back this up.

"60 percent of them are not for British nationals."
Thanks to Roma in the comments who pointed out 'new diagnoses reported among people born in the UK ... to 46% (2,220/4,980))' from the 2014 report. This is not a nationality figure. But it is pretty close to one. Some born in the UK won't be British Nationals and a fair few born abroad will be. A graph from here shows




Implying from ethnicity to nationality does not really work I think. But it does make the 60% claim look like it needs more evidence. The figure for Asians and Black Caribbean's is about 500 or under 10%.
Another vaguely nationality source of data I can find is from HIV in the United Kingdom: 2013 Report Appendix 1 total men+women African born 11,100+20,700 out of 98,400 which is about a third of HIV carries in the UK seem to be African born heterosexuals. Again with the assumption that all African born people are not British nationals.

To me these claims, of 7000 new cases and 60% of them not British Nationals, look dubious but I am open to evidence correcting me.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Areas of Ireland that have only ever had white male TDs

There is a great map on the mirror website in the article 'The UK map of white male power' of constituencies in the UK that have only ever had white male MPs

I thought it would be interesting to see what the same map would look for Ireland. The wikipedia page for Irish Women TD's is here, from it I took the list of constituencies that have been represented by Female TDs.

Ireland has not had many non white TDs. Moosajee Bhamjee is the first non white TD as far as I know. Leo Varadkar's father is Indian. And I am probably missing many more but historical demographics suggest non white Irish politicians were rare. We had a low immigrant population until recently. To keep the graph comparable to the UK one I keep the same not 'white male' filter. Please correct me with anyone I am missing.

Taking distinct constituencies from the Female TD's wikipedia page. And a map of Irish constituencies now from here. I coloured in the constituencies I could find female TDs for in green.


For some old constituencies, like Cork Mid, I could not work out where they were. One ex-constituency Limerick City–Lmk East had a female deputy, Kathleen O'Callaghan in 1921. I took the map of where this constituency used to cover when she represented it and turned that area in the east part of Limerick-West green.
Map of Limerick City–Lmk East in 1921

Another Dublin North has completely changed its location. When Margaret Collins-O'Driscoll represented it in 1923 it covered what is now Dublin North-East. So this area is also coloured green.


The constituencies I could not find a female TD for were: Cork South-West, Limerick West and Louth. The constituencies wikipedia listed as having had a female TD are Carlow–Kilkenny, Cavan–Monaghan, Clare, Clare–Galway South,  Cork East, Cork Mid, Cork North–Central, Cork North–East, Cork North–West, Cork South–Central, Donegal North–East,   Donegal South–West,   Dublin Ballyfermot, Dublin Central, Dublin County Mid, Dublin Mid, Dublin North, Dublin North–Central,   Dublin North–West,   Dublin South, Dublin South–Central,   Dublin South–East,   Dublin South–West, Dublin St Patrick's, Dublin West, DĂșn Laoghaire, Galway West,   Kildare North,   Laois–Offaly,   Limerick City–Limerick East,   Limerick East, Longford–Westmeath,   Meath East,   Monaghan, Roscommon, Roscommon–Leitrim,   Sligo–Leitrim,   Tipperary North,   Tipperary South, Waterford,   Waterford County,   Westmeath,   Wexford, Wicklow .

This map looks more diverse than the UK one to me. But the proportional representation system Ireland has means we have larger constituencies with a few Members of Parliament in each. This means the same proportion of non white male Members of Parliament should cover a bigger area.
I will update this map with any corrections people give me in the comments.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Pandemics and the Internet

My last point pointed out how many people died in the flu pandemic in Ireland in 1918.

To take the example of Japan according to Gapminder 1918 had a huge drop. The other big drop is the is the second world war with all the bomb dropping and shooting that involved.

David Eagleman has an interesting point here about how the internet can help prevent and reduce epidemics.

"The internet can be our key to survival because the ability to work telepresently can inhibit microbial transmission by reducing human-to-human contact. In the face of an otherwise devastating epidemic, businesses can keep supply chains running with the maximum number of employees working from home. This can reduce host density below the tipping point required for an epidemic. If we are well prepared when an epidemic arrives, we can fluidly shift into a self-quarantined society in which microbes fail due to host scarcity."

Eagleman has a good short video on his thesis

The long term effects of a sudden switch to everyone avoiding each other for a month or two could be huge. These would include

Education: How schools help spread influenza has been studied. 'School closures during the 2009 influenza pandemic: national and local experiences'. If all the schools were closed for a few months and people would move to Khan Academy and other online education sites. After this period a switch back to a fully non online world won't happen

Telecommuting: In a similar way online telecommuting would become much more popular. After a quarantine lite period the use of online project management and other telecommuting tools would become mainstream.

Shopping: If you don't meet people in school or at work you meet them in the shops. Deliveries of shopping would be strongly encouraged in the event of a pandemic. They should probably even be sponsored. Shops would not get as popular again once everyone got used to online shopping.

Banking: No one likes queuing in the banks at the best of times. Even ATMs would become horrible grubby in a pandemic world. Everything including social welfare payments would try and avoid using the fomite that is cash.

Telemedecine: People with the influenza need to be kept away from people who are sick. People with other illnesses will have to be dealt with remotely to avoid them coming into contact with people with influenza.

Public Events: Public events parades, cinemas, bars and museums would be closed. By their nature these involve people. If public events are made cheaper to attend virtually that will reduce the need for people to meet up. By this I mean if Sky Sports is made free for a few months people will be less annoyed no fans are allowed attend the football game.

There are many people without access to the internet that would not be helped by the use of digital technologies. Hopefully the use of digital technologies will help focus more of the traditional public health effort on them.

When the next pandemic happens the internet will reduce the consequences. Many industries will also change but the main thing is to avoid the 50 to 100 million the last pandemic killed.