Monday, 28 November 2011

Lies, Damn Lies and Government Statistics (Image Intensive)

Government Data Set 1949-2010
Above I have presented a UK Government Data Set which has been widely circulated. The graph plots annual figures, not cumulative data. But I am going to break a major rule of data presentation, and not label my axes (the x-axis is year). What the data set is does not matter, and I do not want to prejudice your opinion*.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Moving on from Ubuntu

Instead of using Microsoft Windows or Mac OSX as my operating system I use Linux. More specifically I use Ubuntu. Even more specifically I used Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal.
Ubuntu Natty Narwhal with GNOME Classic
This is now out of date, Ubuntu has moved on to version 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot. I have messed around with Ubuntu for years, somewhere I have a copy of Dapper Drake (from 2006). Back then Ubuntu looked different. I first installed Ubuntu in the era of Hardy Heron, there were changes, but they were mostly behind the scenes: installation was easier, sound & wireless worked out of the box.

6 versions later there was a big change: Unity. This did not just change things behind the scenes. The look changed too. It became less customisable at the same time, taking up more screen real estate.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Freedom to Pollute

Last week I argued that motorists are unusually privileged by being:
" to pollute the environment and thereby kill blamelessly."
I attempted to put a cost on deaths related to vehicle pollution, and came to the figure of £14.5bn per annum. For simplicity I made some hasty approximations, figures from 2001 and ignored the costs of healthcare.

Since then the Environmental Audit Committee has published a report stating that poor health related to pollution costs £8.5bn-£20bn per year.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

The Driver Privilege Checklist

On Saturday readers of ibikelondon & Cyclists in the City, cycle campaigners such as LCC and possibly even Boris Johnson will tour the 10 worst junctions for cyclists in London. Meanwhile Boris sticks to his guns insisting that roads aren't the problem (hint: they are, in part).

These issues are not confined to London. Kristin Mueller-Heaslip, a blogger from Toronto, has identified another problem: the privileged position of drivers.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


Italy is a strange case. As the BBC reports it has low levels of national debt (though high government debt) and tends to balance its budget sheet before interest payments are taken into account.

These interest payments are the problem. As I have been writing this post the following has happened to yields on Italian 10 year bonds:

9th November 2011, 14:52:36 GMT

9th November 2011, 14:55:42 GMT
9th November 2011, 14:57:32 GMT
9th November 2011, 15:05:52 GMT

At least Berlusconi is going, The Economist said he should go as far back as 2001. To be frank his stranglehold over Italy's media and government strikes as rather dictatorial. Silver-linings eh?

ed. Added link to 7% video. 
ed. N.B. The small number below the % change is the important value, however if this keeps getting hiked at 8% day-on-day (or even the 10% it hit at one point) things will worsen very quickly. The value hit a high of 7.48 at around 7:00ET (12:00 GMT) giving an absolute change of 0.69 on the opening price, or ~10.2% increase.