Datablog (the Guardian)

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Updated: 6 days 7 hours ago

How extreme is England's heatwave likely to be?

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 12:24

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Visualization

The Met Office has warned that temperatures in the south-east could reach the low 30s while the rest of the country is much hotter than average. Find out how it compares to previous weather extremes

People are being urged to stay out of the sun after the Met Office issued a heatwave warning. Temperatures in the south-east of the country are likely to hit up to 32C this weekend with the rest of the country in the mid to high 20s.

A heatwave by its nature is an extreme event (it relies on the temperature exceeding the average for a consistent period). But how does this stack up in the context of heatwaves past? And where will the south-east be hotter than tomorrow?

Monday will bring a drier day with sunny spells for many and it will remain warm for most with southeastern parts perhaps hot at first. There will be a few showers with more general rain and breezy conditions arriving in the northwest later and into Tuesday. However, this rain will most likely not reach southern and eastern parts. This northwest-southeast split in the weather is expected to continue, with Atlantic frontal systems bringing periods of more prolonged rain at times in the northwest, with the best of the drier and sunnier weather in the southeast, though here some heavy showers are possible, especially later in the period. Temperatures likely to remain on the warm side, perhaps becoming hot again in the southeast. In the northwest temperatures will be around average.

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How the senate voted on the carbon tax, Fofa and clean energy bills

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 04:36

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Analysis shows how the Coalition has been hampered by the shifting allegiances of the minority parties

Since 1 July the Abbott government has been forced to negotiate (or not) with minor parties in the Senate despite pledging not to "do deals" with independents and minor parties before the election.

The new Senate consists of 33 Coalition senators, 25 Labor, 10 Greens, 3 Palmer United, and five minor party or independent senators:

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How Which? created a geography of financial distress

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 23:01

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Visualization

The consumer site has used its regular research to produce a detailed map showing exactly where people are being hit hardest. Matt Oakley, head of economic analysis at Which?, says it's the pockets of distress that matter

Whether planning for our retirement income, choosing the best phone or energy tariff or simply trying to navigate an array of offers, deals and bargains in our weekly supermarket shop, complex financial decisions have become part of the daily grind.

The decisions we make in these purchases and investments will often have far reaching implications for quality of life, meaning that when thinking about living standards we need to consider where and how consumers spend their money, not just how much they have. As we face more of these complex choices the role of regulators, competition authorities and consumer intermediaries becomes even more important in protecting, promoting and improving the choices consumers make. Government also has to ensure that consumer policy lines up with the reality of peoples lives and concerns.

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Map - how much financial stress are your neighbours under?

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 23:01

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Visualization

This map by consumer organisation Which? provides estimates on how bad money problems are for residents across the UK using its wealth of research data. While it starts off showing the results at regional level, zooming in provides a more detailed breakdown for each area. You can put your postcode into the top left to zoom into right where you live.

Each area is coloured according to its result on a financial health index score from one to 100, where 100 is the most financially distressed - more details on the methodology can be found in the left hand column of the interactive. Click on each area to see how many people are estimated to have taken out payday loans or defaulted on loan or borrowing repayments. You can also add other measures to the map, such as the indices of multiple deprivation.

Read blog from the head of economic analysis at Which? on how they made the map

Who made this? Which?

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Which areas have the worst money problems in the UK?

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 23:01

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Visualization

Analysis by Which? has produced a detailed breakdown of which places in the UK are feeling the strain

Residents of the parliamentary constituency of Hodge Hill are feeling more financial pressure than anywhere else in the UK, according to the results of a new mapping project by Which?

The consumer organisation polled 6,300 people between December 2013 and February 2014 and extrapolated the results to get estimates about how badly people around the country are feeling the squeeze.

By digging into the detailed neighbourhood level data, the divergent experiences of local areas within regions and parliamentary constituencies can be teased out. What we find most interesting are the pockets of distress in areas of affluence and, conversely, pockets of low distress amongst areas with relatively high deprivation. These results show the need to look beyond headline figures.

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Cabinet reshuffle: breakdown by gender, education and age

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 14:18

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David Cameron has reshuffled his cabinet with less than a year until the election. How has it changed in terms of its makeup?

With David Cameron's addition of two women to the cabinet in the latest reshuffle and some of the more senior members departing, the new lineup has a very different composition.

We have looked at all Cameron's cabinets introduced following reshuffles, to see how the makeup of it has changed since he came to power and how this compares to those of Labour governments in the past.

This post just looks at ministers with full cabinet status so omitting, for example, the chief whip, who just attends the meetings. For the sake of clarity, we've added a table at the bottom with the breakdown for the 32 listed on the UK government website.

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Urban population boom poses massive challenges for Africa and Asia

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 15:00

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The UN predicts that two-thirds of the world will live in cities by 2050, with 90% of growth taking place in the global south

Two-thirds of the world's population will live in cities by 2050, posing unique infrastructural challenges for African and Asian countries, where 90% of the growth is predicted to take place.

The planet's urban population which overtook the number of rural residents in 2010 is likely to rise by about 2.5 billion to more than 6 billion people in less than 40 years, according to a UN report. Africa and Asia "will face numerous challenges in meeting the needs of their growing urban populations, including for housing, infrastructure, transportation, energy and employment, as well as for basic services such as education and healthcare", it adds.

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Katniss to Zzyzx: 30 years of baby names in the US

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 15:59

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According to page impressions on US website Nameberry, Khaleesi, Kattniss and Imogen are set to be popular names in 2014. We looked at baby names data from the Social Security Administration to see the most popular names over the past three decades.

Choose the gender you want to look at using the menu at the top and type names into the box and press enter to see how that name has fared over the past 30 years. If you look hard enough you will find every name from Zzyzx to Sir James

Interactive: every baby name in England and Wales 2012 Continue reading...

Asylum-seeker self-harm rates rose after offshore processing began

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:20

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Serco reports give clear picture of self-harm in detention as offshore processing leads to longer waiting times

Government policies are resulting in increased self harm in Australian detention centres, a leaked report shows.

The report by the detention centre manager Serco, obtained by Guardian Australia includes statistics illustrating how long detainees have been held in detention and the rate of self harm over time.

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Scottish independence: which issues have led the Twitter debate in 2014?

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 13:54

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Researchers at Glasgow university have taken a look at which topics have been the most prominent over time in the ongoing #indyref hashtag battle

DATA: all the words used more than 98 times

A study by researchers at the University of Glasgow has analysed tweets that use the #indyref hashtag.

Over time, currency emerges as the most mentioned of the topics of discussion but oil, the EU, and taxation have also been frequent matters of debate. Topical events and policy announcements drive it at specific moments, leading to large spikes.

Our analysis of the referendum debate on twitter is not a a representative poll or a prediction of the result in September, but it allows us to see which issues gain traction with the online community, and which issues aren't addressed by the official campaigns. This highlights a weakness of seeing Twitter as a one-way communication tool, rather than as something altogether more complex.

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Tell us which universities you think are as good as yours

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 13:21

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We want to know if people studying at Oxford think Cambridge is as good or if Glasgow matches up to Manchester for its students and graduates

University rivalries are nothing new. Oxford and Cambridge battle for reputation as well as dominance in the boat race. The Russell group set themselves apart from the rest, despite new places starting to match up on the league tables.

A recent data story by the Chronicle of Higher Education looked at which colleges in the US that other institutions wanted to be officially compared to - they showed that the Ivy League hardly chose any outside of their group.

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Which phone's battery life is least likely to stop you boarding your flight?

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 15:16

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Visualization

Some direct flights to the US may force passengers to switch on their phones to prove they don't contain explosives. Find out which phone won't leave you searching for a last minute plug point

Imagine the scene: you get up late on the morning of your flight to the US because you forgot to charge the battery on your phone and as a result the alarm failed to ring. No matter. You scrabble around and throw everything into a bag. When you thankfully arrive in time for your flight you check in and head to security.

All is looking rosy till you get there and are told sternly: "we can't let you through unless you turn your phone on". Well, it sounds like this scenario could well happen after the Department for Transport confirmed on Monday that mobile phones will have to be switched on before some direct flights to the US are boarded.

During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said in a post on its website. It warned: Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft. The traveller may also undergo additional screening.

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Who's best at predicting the World Cup Nate Silver, bankers or a cat parasite?

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 05:22

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Toxoplasmosis infection is as good a marker for football victory as Nate Silver and better than Goldman Sachs

Forget psychic turtles, oracular kangaroos and soothsaying cephalopods there's only one organism that has a decent track record predicting World Cup matches.

During the 2010 World Cup, neuroscientist Patrick House wrote about a correlation between rates of infection with a protozoan parasite and success in the knockout stages.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth: vital statistics

Fri, 07/04/2014 - 11:57

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Visualization

It weighs more than 10,000 African elephants and is longer than the Houses of Parliament. Welcome to the HMS Queen Elizabeth - the largest ship built for the Royal Navy

The Queen has officially named the Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier at a ceremony in Scotland today. HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest ship built for the Royal Navy and was christened by her majesty with a bottle of whisky.

In honour we thought we'd take a quick look at the ship's vital stats.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth warship is longer than the Houses of Parliament & can carry 40 jets and helicopters at a time pic.twitter.com/piH3iV9Tfd

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Nearly one in ten people in England and Wales in inter-ethnic relationship

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 11:19

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Visualization

Mixed/multiple ethnic people have highest proportion of any group in an inter-ethnic relationship and Chinese women twice as likely as men to be in one

2.3m (9%) of people in England and Wales were living as part of an inter-ethnic couple in 2011, an increase of two percentage points on 2001.

Analysis of 2011 census data by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that people from mixed/multiple ethnic groups were most likely to be in one of the relationships at 85%. They were followed by White Irish (71%), other Black (62%) and Gypsy or Irish Travellers (50%).

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Where do atheists live? Maps show the 'godless' cities of England and Wales

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 10:14

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Visualization

DataShine, a new census data visualisation tool from Oliver O'Brien at UCLs Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, shows 'no religion' hotspots in Brighton, Bristol and Norwich; while Bradford and Leeds are clearly split and Liverpool keeps the faith. Dark blue areas indicate at least 39.5% there said they had no religion. Bright red means fewer than 10% gave that answer

Andrew Brown: It's not about atheism

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Would UK workers stick to a four day week?

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 09:50

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British full-time employees have the biggest gap in EU between average collectively agreed hours and actual time spent working

The UK needs a four-day working week to combat stress, according to the president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, Prof John Ashton.

Denis Campbell reported Ashton as saying:

When you look at the way we lead our lives, the stress that people are under, the pressure on time and sickness absence, [work-related] mental health is clearly a major issue.

We should be moving towards a four-day week because the problem we have in the world of work is you've got a proportion of the population who are working too hard and a proportion that haven't got jobs

The limits referred to may be exceeded in many countries where working time flexibility schemes allow weekly hours to be varied around an average over a reference period, as permitted by the Working Time Directive.

Weekly maximum working time under such hours-averaging schemes may itself be subject to a ceiling, such as 60 hours. In the Netherlands, for example, weekly working time including overtime may not exceed 48 hours, on average, over a 16-week reference period, or 55 hours per week on average over a four-week reference period, unless otherwise agreed by the employer and trade union or works council, subject to an absolute weekly limit of 60 hours.

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