Datablog (the Guardian)

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Isis, Iraq and terrorism laws Australian national security interactive timeline

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 22:21

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Weve collated all the major events, government announcements and legislation into this interactive timeline to give context to the governments actions on national security in Australia. You can filter the timeline by clicking on the coloured categories in the menu, or expand all timeline entries using the plus button. The timeline will be updated periodically as an ongoing resource

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Could Dilma Rousseff lose the second round runoff?

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 15:34

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Visualization

The incumbent Brazilian president got 41.4% of the total vote in the first round of presidential elections and will go into a runoff with her nearest rival - the data shows this might be closer than many expect

As expected Brazils President, Dilma Rousseff, topped round one of the countrys presidential election.

On 26 October, the president will face Aécio Neves of the centrist Brazilian Social Democracy party in a runoff. Neves won 33.55% of the vote, considerably more than pre-election polls were showing. These had Neves on 24-27%, while Rouseffs result (41.59%) was on the lower end of what the final pre-election polls were anticipating.

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Ukip could influence the result of more than 200 seats at the general election

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 15:01

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Nigel Farages party is expected to win fewer than 10 seats at the general election, but its effects could reach far wider

Ukip may pose a bigger threat to the major parties general election strategies than their vote share might indicate, research from the Fabian Society reveals, showing Nigel Farages party could affect the result of more than 200 electoral races.

While both Labour and the Conservatives are alive to the threat posed by the right-wing party, no-one including Ukip itself expects the party to take more than around ten seats at the general election, seemingly limiting its impact on what promises to be a tightly-fought campaign.

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Is France really finished? See how it compares to the UK

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 13:41

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Visualization

The managing director of John Lewis has described France as hopeless and downbeat but is it really doing any worse than the UK?

According to the managing director of John Lewis France is sclerotic, hopeless and downbeat as well as finished. In his comments at an event in London, reported in the Times, Andy Street encouraged investors to pull money out of the European country.

If you compare France to the UK then on the economic front the French do seem to be struggling. GDP is currently flat compared to the UKs 3.2% year-on-year growth and unemployment is four points higher and the gap is only getting bigger.

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Dilma Rousseff's presidency in eight charts

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 12:46

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Visualization

Brazilians head to the polls on Sunday for the first round of presidential elections, with polls showing that incumbent Dilma Rousseff is likely to win a second term, but how has the country changed under her presidency?

When Dilma Rousseff was inaugurated in January 2011 she became the first woman to hold the office of president in Brazil.

Following in the footsteps of her popular mentor, president Lula, expectations for Rousseffs presidency were very high. Just a few weeks ago the president seemed in trouble, and a Marina Silva presidency a possibility, but the most recent polls show that Brazils 135m voters are likely to reelect Rousseff for a second term, although like in 2010 she will probably need a runoff vote.

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NRL grand final 2014: Statistical models predict win for South Sydney Rabbitohs

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 23:44

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Two different models suggest Souths will have the edge over Bulldogs in the Rugby League final

Last week we asked statisticians for their picks in the AFL grand final (and they got the winner right). This week weve got predictions from two different statistical models for the NRL grand final between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Canterbury Bulldogs.

You can read more about the use of statistical modelling in sports on last weeks post, but briefly it involves analysing the previous performance of players and teams and then using this to create a statistical model capable of predicting the outcome of future match-ups.

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Crowdsourcing youth migration from southern Europe to the UK

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 14:35

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Visualization

Fuelled by a deep recession in southern Europe, tens of thousands of young people have left Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece since 2008. Precise figures are hard to pin down though - a new project aims to use crowdsourcing to shed some light on the actual size of the phenomenon

The freedom of movement in Europe introduced by the Schengen agreements in 1985 has seen the circulation of European citizens skyrocket. Low cost flight companies, the Erasmus exchange programme and technologies such as Skype have deeply influenced Europeans behaviour, expanded travel horizons and incentivised a blending of European cultures.

So did the recession, which hit southern European countries especially hard. Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy are still facing ballooning youth unemployment rates. Recent figures from ISTAT, the Italian institute of statistics, showed a record high youth unemployment rate of 44%. Similar levels are registered in Spain (53%), Greece (53%) and Portugal (36%). These numbers are one of the main reasons many southern-Europeans have packed their belongings, and are migrating,

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Russia's budget and Siluanovs odd assumptions

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 09:40

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On Tuesday Russia presented its 2015-2017 budget. It is a rather austere affair, with one noticeable exception: defence spending. Overall, the assumptions behind Finance Minister Anton Siluanovs numbers seem odd when compared to World Bank projections

On Tuesday Russia presented its 2015-2017 budget. It is a rather austere affair, with one noticeable exception: defence, earmarked with a 20% rise as part of a long-term plan to modernise the countrys military. According to some estimates, defence spending will increase by 85% between 2012 and 2017.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanovs numbers have some odd assumptions.

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World's top universities 2014 according to Times Higher Education

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 20:01

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The California Institute for Technology has been named the worlds best institution for the fourth consecutive year. How do other universities compare?

The California Institute for Technology (Caltech) has been named the worlds best institution for the fourth consecutive year in the Times Higher Educations annual league table.

Harvard and Oxford follow in second and third place respectively. Stanford has retained its fourth place position while the University of Cambridge has climbed two places to fifth and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has dropped one place to sixth on the rankings.

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Arron Banks is only the fifth individual to give £1m to a political party in England since 2010

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 18:27

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The donation to Ukip sees him join an elite club of only four other political donors to have given such a large cash sum in the last four years

In donating £1m to Ukip, Arron Banks has joined an elite club of only four individuals to have given such a large amount in a single payment since 2010. It is the highest cash donation Nigel Farages party has ever received from an individual in one go.

On Wednesday he was reportedly due to give £100,000 to the party, but significantly upped his contribution after being described as a nobody by the former foreign secretary, William Hague. Ukip were also accused of overstating the financial support the Conservatives had previously received from Banks - saying that he had given £250,000. The Electoral Commission records show that he had donated £25,000, and hasnt given since 2009. It is worth highlighting that Electoral Commission data may not include funds given through other vehicles.

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David Cameron's tax cut is more about politics than economics

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 17:58

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The prime ministers big announcement in his final party conference speech before the general election was an increase in tax thresholds but with the changes to be introduced by 2020 and details vague, the impact could end up being minimal

David Camerons big announcements in his final party conference speech before the general election were an increase to the personal income tax threshold by £2,000 a year, and raising the threshold at which the 40p tax rate is paid to £50,000 from £41,900 - both changes to be introduced by 2020.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has estimated the combined costs of the pledges would be £7.2bn. Its unclear what assumptions the IFS has made, but either way these costs would need to be covered in addition to the £38bn needed after 2015-16 based on the governments current spending plans (and goal of hitting a budget surplus by 2018-2019) - so far chancellor George Osborne has announced only £3bn of these cuts.

Raising the personal allowance to £12,500 benefits the richest x4 as much as the poorest, the IFS's analysis found pic.twitter.com/5rX622avAW

Cameron's tax cuts worth over £2k for most of top 10% earners, £500 for middle 50%, nothing for lowest earners pic.twitter.com/SOmiONhuOj

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More than 210 million people worldwide will be heading to the polls in October

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 14:00

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More than 210 million people are eligible to vote in elections set to take place in a dozen countries around the world this October. Just under 1.2 billion people globally have already taken part in national elections so far this year

Just under 1.2 billion people globally have so far taken part in national elections this year. In October, nearly 211 million more will be eligible to cast a ballot in polls set to take place in a dozen countries around the world.

Highlights include three presidential elections in Latin America and parliamentary votes in Latvia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina. The month begins in Bulgaria, which has changed governments four times in the last 18 months, and ends with votes in Ukraine and Tunisia.

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Hong Kong pro-democracy protests: Occupy Central and pro-democracy movement - interactive timeline

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 08:52

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Visualization

Hong Kong celebrates a national holiday on 1 Oct., the day marks the founding of the Peoples Republic of China. The pro-democracy movement, Occupy Central, is expected to present the next phase of its mass non-violent campaign.

From an associate professors article calling for civil disobedience to Chinas biggest political challenge since Tiananmen - an interactive timeline to the background and milestones of Hong Kongs Occupy Central and pro-democracy movement

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How bad is the dental health of three year-olds in your area? Children's tooth decay in England - mapped

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 10:31

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Visualization

Fruit juice and other sugary drinks in bottles are thought to be behind high levels of bad dental health in children. According to Public Health England, 12% of three-year-olds in the country have tooth decay.

The rates vary across the country, with the highest proportion in Leicester where more than one in three have these dental problems. Use this map to see how bad the issue is in your area. Local authorities where not enough data has been collected have been excluded

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How far have Premier League clubs moved from their original grounds?

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 16:44

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Visualization

Tottenham and now Chelsea may be temporarily relocating from their home bases while work is done on their stadiums. The data shows that Premier League teams have generally stayed pretty close to where they started

Both Tottenham and Chelsea may be set to temporarily relocate in the coming seasons as the former seeks to build a new ground and the latter wants to develop Stamford Bridge.

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Party membership in the UK is tiny

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 10:27

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Visualization

The SNP is now the UKs third largest political party, but overall party membership in the UK remains tiny when compared to other countries in Europe. Several parties in the EU have more members than Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems combined

There has been lots of coverage recently on the growth of membership of the Scottish National Party. The SNP is reportedly now the UKs third largest political party.

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Where Britain works, mapped

Fri, 09/26/2014 - 14:00

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Visualization

The total number of employees in London rose to 4.58m in 2013. The capital may be home to many finance and insurance employees but where are the hotspots in Britain for education or agriculture?

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published its annual estimates of employees, using data from the business register and employment survey, and this year its focus is firmly on the capital city.

London has continually shown the highest growth of any UK region since 2009 and the total number of employees in the city reached 4.58m in 2013 - up from 4.14m in 2009.

The map shows employees per square kilometre in London for 2013. The colours represent the different bandings displayed in the legend, while the height of each bar adds some definition, highlighting the area with the greatest concentration of employees.

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Did primary school teachers in England game the phonics check?

Fri, 09/26/2014 - 10:55

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Visualization

Marks scored by primary school pupils showed a remarkably similar and unusual profile until the Department for Education changed the rules. Were teachers cheating or was something else going on?

The phonics check, a simple test of reading given to five and six year-olds at the end of year one of primary school in England, comprises words and pseudo-words that children are expected to pronounce. In 2012 and 2013, the Department for Education announced in advance what the pass mark was to be. Looking at the chart below, with the yellow line for 2012 and blue line for 2013 results, can you guess what the pass mark out of 40 was?

Teachers administer the screening check one-on-one with each pupil and record whether their response to each of the 40 words is correct. This mark is from 0 to 40 and for 2014, as in previous years, the threshold to determine whether a pupil had reached the expected standard was 32. In 2014, unlike previous years, this mark was not communicated to schools until after the screening check was completed.

Figure 1 shows the distribution of the phonics check scores in each year from 2012 to 2014. In both 2012 and 2013, there was a spike in the distribution at a score of 32, the expected standard for those pupils who took part. However, this spike is not seen in 2014.

This is so striking, and so abnormal, that I fear it provides clear-cut evidence that the data have been manipulated, so that children whose scores would put them just one or two points below the magic cutoff of 32 have been given the benefit of the doubt, and had their scores nudged up above cutoff.

This is most unlikely to indicate a problem inherent in the test itself. It looks like human bias that arises when people know there is a cutoff and, for whatever reason, are reluctant to have children score below that cutoff.

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Who lives where in Europe? Nationalities across the continent mapped

Fri, 09/26/2014 - 09:51

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Visualization
People of many different countries are now living in Europe, with the continent's residents coming everywhere from Jamaica to Tuvalu. Using data from 2011 censuses we have mapped the prevalence of different nationalities across the continent. Pick a country and the map will tell you how many people from that country live in each* European state

*There was no data available for residents in Greece, Croatia, the Netherlands or Ireland

Most Europeans can speak multiple languages. UK and Ireland not so much Continue reading...