Greece’s debt woes are easing
This chart-map-looking thing from Nightly News is making the rounds, and it’s not good. I’m opening the comments below for critique so that you can release your angst. Signed copy of Data Points goes to a randomly selected commenter the end of this week. Have at it.
The international acceptance of adultery
ON APRIL 17th the New Hampshire Senate is due to decide whether to legalise adultery. A 1791 law calls for whipping, jail time and ruinous fines for breaking the sixth commandment. The penalty has grown lighter since then, and is never enforced. But formal legalisation will finally allow Granite staters to stray without fear of any punishment besides losing their spouse, house and custody of the kids. Americans are far more likely to disapprove of adultery than people in other rich nations, especially the French. They have grown more likely to frown at cheaters over the years—in contrast to their attitudes to gay sex, which have softened enormously. The data on international attitudes come from an interactive report released this week by the Pew Research Centre. It looks at how 40 countries judge the morality of controversial issues from abortion and premarital sex to contraception and divorce. How might America look if its politicians acted like French ones? Well… (Our article in the latest issue on New Hampshire’s vote is
This year’s polar vortex churned up some global warming skeptics, but as we know, it’s more useful to look at trends over significant spans of time than isolated events. And, when you do look at a trend, it’s useful to have a proper baseline to compare against.
To this end, Enigma.io compared warm weather anomalies against cold weather anomalies, from 1964 to 2013. That is, they counted the number of days per year that were warmer than expected and the days it was colder than expected.
An animated map leads the post, but the meat is in the time series. There’s a clear trend towards more warm.
Since 1964, the proportion of warm and strong warm anomalies has risen from about 42% of the total to almost 67% of the total – an average increase of 0.5% per year. This trend, fitted with a generalized linear model, accounts for 40% of the year-to-year variation in warm versus cold anomalies, and is highly significant with a p-value approaching 0.0. Though we remain cautious about making predictions based on this model, it suggests that this yearly proportion of warm anomalies will regularly fall above 70% in the 2030′s.
Explore in full or download the data and analyze yourself. Nice work. [Thanks, Dan]
The countries spending the most on their military
THE world is getting more weapons, but not necessarily more safe. Military spending increased last year in every region except the West. Strikingly, Russia spent more than America relative to the size of its economy for the first time in a decade (4.1% versus 3.8% of GDP, respectively). Saudi Arabia spent 9.3% of its GDP, the highest proportion of the world’s biggest spending countries, having squeezed past Japan, France and Britain. The annual spending estimates released this week by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute present a mixed picture. Global outlays in 2013 declined for the second year running—but chiefly due to America, which accounts for 37% of the total, as it draws its troops out of Afghanistan. However others are splurging. Over the past decade more than 20 counties—including China, Saudi Arabia and Russia—have more than doubled their spending. Since 2004 China’s military spending has outstripped its GDP growth. With tensions growing in the Ukraine, budgets in the West might start to increase too.
As part of the You Are Here project from the MIT Media Lab, an exploration of independent coffee shops in San Francisco:
Independent coffee shops are positive markers of a living community. They function as social spaces, urban offices, and places to see the world go by. Communities are often formed by having spaces in which people can have casual interactions, and local and walkable coffee shops create those conditions, not only in the coffee shop themselves, but on the sidewalks around them. We use maps to know where these coffee shop communities exist and where, by placing new coffee shops, we can help form them.
Each dot is a coffee shop, and the shaded spots around the dot represent the areas nearest each shop. It’s an interesting, more granular contrast to coffee chain geography and provides a better sense of a city’s layout.
See also the same idea applied to Cambridge. I imagine there are more cities to come, as the data is gleaned from the Google Places and Google Distance Matrix APIs.