Friday, October 02, 2015

Pouring one out for your Ancient Greek Homies

Hecuba mother of Hector and Paris in the Iliad pours one out for her homies

Stay, till I bring the cup with Bacchus crown'd,

In Jove's high name, to sprinkle on the ground,

And pay due vows to all the gods around

Pouring some of your alcoholic beverage on the ground is an ancient and common across many cultures. It is a practice called Libation.

The other word for today is Adoxography "fine writing on a trivial or base subject". The best adoxography books ive read recently are Red: The history of red hair, Paper an elegy and The Phone Book.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Penrose's Law

Penrose's Law[3][4] states that the population size of prisons and psychiatric hospitals are inversely related, although this is generally viewed as something of an oversimplification
That was thought up by from Lionel Penrose in 1939 (he was Roger Penrose's father). And it still seems broadly accurate
During 1960–2004, there was a 74% population-adjusted decrease in mental institution beds and a 52% increase in the prison population. The same period saw a 500% increase in overall crime and a 900% increase in violent crimes, with a concurrent 94% increase in the size of the country's police force. Penrose's law proved remarkably robust in the longitudinal perspective

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Irish Suicide Statistics

There is an interesting article in 20th Sept issue of Irish Daily Mail on Sunday by Alison O'Reilly on the emotional difficulties priests in Ireland have.

The figures given claim priests are at a much greater risk of suicide than the general public

However if looking at who priests are I do not think this is the case. According to the CSO here

"The age-standardised death rate from suicide was 12.1 deaths per 100,000 in 2011" not the 5.12 figure in the article.

Also Males are at a higher risk anyway. "male suicide rates were five times higher at 20.5 deaths per 100,000"

And Older males at a higher risk still. "male suicide rates were highest in the 45-64 age-group (28 per 100,000)". The average age of an Irish priest is around 65.

Just by their gender and age profile priests 35ish to the general population 28 per 100,000 do not seem that different.

Finally priests are unmarried which is a well known correlate of suicide. To take one paper Suicide and marital status in Northern Ireland "Never marrying increased male suicide risk and its effect increased with age IRR among over 55 year-olds = 2.33". 2.33 * 20.5 base =47 per 100k

I had not realised quite how bad it was for those bachelor farmers in terms of suicide. This (greater than 28) rate compares with 1.2 for murder in Ireland.

The story here is not how bad suicide is for priests but how bad the problem is for all single older men in Ireland.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Japan Loves Faxes

In Japan, faxes are still used extensively for cultural and graphemic reasons and are available for sending to both domestic and international recipients from over 81% of all convenience stores nationwide.

Coupland explains that he thinks the Japanese addressing system is the cause of its love of faxes.

Graphemic reasons are that typing was never really popular in Japan. Partly because of the three alphabets and partly just because of an appreciation of calligraphy.

Another reason is the use of forms that do not really fit electronic formats

But I love the explanation that the Japanese addressing system has lead to an 80s technology getting popular and it staying alive

Monday, June 15, 2015

When did we get too much stuff?

Kevin Kelly pointed out that we have more types of things (species of technology) than even the most wealthy had in the past. "count the number of species of technology in our household. And it came up with 6,000 different species of products. I did some research and found out that the King of England, Henry VIII, had only about 7,000 items in his household. And he was the King of England, and that was the entire wealth of England at the time." Kevin Kelly

How much more stuff can we get over time? The Argos catalog seems to get bigger each year and it seemed to me an ideal way to measure the amount of stuff we get to decide we don't want.

Retromash is a great site for old Argos catalogs. I Counted the total page numbers in each years catalog. I don't have the slaves undergraduates needed to count everything in the actual catalog. Retromash don't have much after 1990 so I went to ebay and they list the number of pages. This produces this data (with links to the ebay sources). One weirdness is there seemed to have been an instore catalog and superstore (to be delivered) catalog for a few years.

I have tried to give the number of pages of the Autumn/Winter Argos catalog you get in the shop in any given year.

The graph is just a simple ggplot2 scatterplot

mydata = read.table("argos.tsv", header=TRUE)

ggplot(mydata, aes(x=Year, y=pages)) + geom_point(shape=1) + geom_smooth(method=lm, se=FALSE)


It looks like there are nine times the number of things we can choose now from Argos as there was in 1975. To put a prediction on this, the amount of things you can buy nearby doubles ever decade.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sports in decline

I read this interesting article in the diminishing interest in surfing. Can Anyone Save the Surf Industry?. The author uses

All the outdoor individual sports seem to have declining interest as measured by google trends. This could be to do with how people search google. But it does look like they are getting less popular.

The good news is Golf also seems to be in the decline

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Uhaul Map of the US

You rent a Uhaul truck in New York to move to a new job in Texas. UHaul will be left with a truck in Texas. If people really want to go New York -> Texas but less so Texas-> New York they will reduce the price of the Texas -> New York. If you get all the prices to move one way between all the cities in the US you end up with a good idea of where people are moving. And as people usually move for jobs where the jobs are.

The idea I saw first in Marginal Revolution. This blogpost seems to be where the whole UHaul weighted graph idea came from. Dan Armstrong and Páll Hilmarsson
I took a list of the 34 most populous US cities (all over 500,000) from wikipedia. This is 1122 links in total. The 294 cities is 86142 total links. You only seem to be able to get containers not trucks from Honolulu, Hawaii.
This is a Complete graph where each edge has a length and a weight/capacity (price). some cities are really cheap to leave because enough people are moving (sinking) there that UHaul want to get the trucks back to the cities people are leaving (source) The extreme costing trips are

Source Destination Price
San Jose, CA Washington, DC 4237
San Francisco, CA Baltimore, MD 4188
San Jose, CA Baltimore, MD 4181
San Jose, CA Washington, DC 4132
Baltimore, MD Washington, DC 74
Washington, DC Baltimore, MD 79
You can get the spreadsheet with all 1122 trips here

The trips with the biggest difference between one way and another are by price

Source Destination Round dif Round ratio
San Jose, CA Washington, DC 2404 2.3
San Francisco, CA Washington, DC 2345 2.3
Philadelphia, PA Portland, OR 2213 3

and by ratio

San Francisco, CA Las Vegas, NV 608 4.1
Source Destination Round dif Round ratio
San Jose, CA Las Vegas, NV 580 4.1
San Francisco, CA Las Vegas, NV 608 4.1
Philadelphia, PA Jacksonville, FL 1301 3.9

The spreadsheet with these calculation is here. the code to work all this out is pretty raw but it is here.
I will come back to this later and work out Eigenvalue Centrality and maybe how distance relates to prices. Also it would be interesting to see if some places are summer sinks and some winter sinks in a few months time.