Saturday, 22 October 2011

UK inflation hit 5.2% in September 2011

UK inflation hit 5.2% in September 2011 according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

More precisely Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure of inflation stands at 5.2% for September 2011. The CPI has never been higher but was also 5.2% in September 2008.

The Retail Price Index (RPI) measure of inflation stands at 5.6% in September 2011, the highest it has been for over 20 years. The ONS report that last time RPI annual inflation was higher was in June 1991 when it stood at 5.8%.

There are some important differences between these two main ways the ONS use to measure inflation. The government prefers the Consumer Price Index, which also includes services, housing, electricity, food, and transportation, but the Retail Price Index covers more items.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Michelin stars 2012

This years Michelin stars have been handed out with the full 2012 list including a pub with two stars for the first time.

150 restaurants have been awarded stars, with four with 3 stars and 17 with two stars.

The three stars are: the Fat Duck, Bray; the Waterside Inn, Bray; Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea and Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, Mayfair.

There are 13 new entrants this year with one star and two moved from one to two stars. The city of Westminster boasts the highest number of star restaurants (36).

Sunday, 2 October 2011

University applications - which subjects are up and down

More UK students are going to university than ever before, according to the latest Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) figures.

Over 1.3 million students were enrolled in undergraduate degrees in 2009/10. This was the highest increase in the last 5 years (4.9% since 08/09 or 11.3% since 05/06). The increase in Postgraduate students has almost double year on year from 234,210 in 2005/06 to just under 300,000 in 2010/11, or 27.3% in 5 years.

We've mapped the numbers by year and subject - you can explore it here:
It appears that sciences are becoming popular again. For undergraduate degrees, Mathematical sciences recorded the biggest percentage increase on the previous year as 26,225 students opted for the subject in 2009/10 - a 26.3% increase on 2005/06 and 7.9% from the previous year.

Business & administrative studies, mass communication & documentation and engineering & technology saw the biggest rises after mathematical sciences for full-time undergraduate students.

Business & administrative studies remains the most popular subject (21% and 13.3% of undergraduate and postgraduate students respectively). Subjects allied to medicine and Creative arts follow closely in popularity.  

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

What has happened to jobs in America under Obama? See how unemployment has changed

Since 2001, US unemployment averaged 5.2% (4.2% min and 6.3% max). Since April 2008, it has risen sharply from from 4.9% to 10.1% in in October 2009. It has since inched on a downward trend.

On a state level, Nevada is the worst hit with an unemployment rate of 12.9% followed by California at 12%. By contrast, North Dakota has the lowest rate at 3.3% followed by Nebraska at 4.1%.

We've mapped the unemployment data by state - you can explore it here:

Inflation rises to 4.5% for August

  • High utility, transport and clothes costs behind rise
  • CPI hits 4.5% for August, up from 4.4% in July
  • RPI, used for wage negotiations, hits 5.2%
The consumer prices index rose to 4.5% in August, up from 4.4% in July, driven by the biggest annual rise in water and energy bills in more than two years. A surge in the cost of clothing and footware last month also drove CPI higher, according to data from the ONS.

More notably -  inflation is racing ahead of average earnings.  

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Just when we thought the Globe is warming up ... UK Summers are getting colder

The Met Office published this week the latest seasonable figures which shows that this summer has been the coolest in 18 years. We examine the data that shows the mean temperature in the UK by year and season over the past 100 years. To get the most of this insight click on the visualisation below to bring the data to life. Click on year, seasons, temperature Bins anything you find interesting and watch how the visualisations update automatically.
This year's average summer temperature of 13.63 degrees has significantly dropped from last year's average of 14.65, and is well below the 100 year average of 13.99. This marks a significant shift where the last 12 years have been consistently above the average with the three warmest summers on record (peek 15.78 in 2006).

The average winter temperature was 2.43 degrees but warmer than the previous year's 1.64 degrees and cooler than the 100 year average of 3.51 degrees.

Although in recent years temperatures have dipped, generally summers in the UK seem to be getting hotter. According to the visualisation our winters, autumns and springs also tend to be hotter than those experienced a hundred years ago. It appears that the summer of 2011 has bucked the trend.

Monday, 15 August 2011

US plastic surgery statistics - Breast up, Nose reshaping down

Plastic surgery is at an all time high in the US despite the recession. It is booming and the numbers are up 5% on the year before - and a 77% increase on the year 2000. 11.6m procedures to be exact.

We have analysed data  from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons using Tableau Software. To get the most of this insight click on the visualisation below to bring the data to life. Click on procedures, gender, multiple values and/or basically anything you find interesting and watch how the visualisations update automatically.

The data shows that male procedures are on the rise - including 18,280 breast reductions (+6% on 2010), 63,585 nose jobs (-4%) and 13,217 hair transplants (+2%).

Calf augmentation registered the highest growth for both genders - females +60% and males +62%. The total count is still small (418).

Lip augmentation registered the steepest decline -21% and -17% for females and males respectively along with and collagen injections are down 5% too, to 160,000

What may seem the most unusual are the number of teenagers getting treated. Although it's only 2% of the total, that's still 218,909 procedures in a year - such as laser hair removal (66,664 procedures), nose jobs (35,005), boys having breast reductions (13,530) and botox injections (13,467). Another 8,525 teenage girls have breast implants.

Here are some of the key facts:
  • Botox is the biggest cosmetic treatment that Americans have - up 12% on last year. But it is also one of the cheapest procedures you can have, costing an average of $375 each time.
  • Lower body lift followed by Facelift are the most expensive procedure, averaging $7,247 and $6,321 respectively per procedure.
  • Breast augmentation is the top surgical procedure - up 2% on last year. That's 296,203 procedures in 2010, costing an average of $3,351 each.
  • Hair Transplants and Pectoral Implants are more popular for men then women.
  • And finally, 40-55 year olds have done the highest number of procedures (6M or just under 50% of the total). The most popular procedure was Botox (3M or circa 50% of the procedures)

Monday, 27 June 2011

How Many Tweeps for A Topic to Trend?

Ever wondered what it really takes for a topic to trend on Twitter? Lots and lots of folks have to tweet about it of course, but what are the actual numbers? And who are the tweeps driving it?

We took to Albatrosa's Twitter probe tool and one of the UK's favourite sofalising* seasons: the run up to Britain's Got Talent finale.

No surprises there, although BGT related topics got a few hundred mentions during the day, they started trending on Twitter UK as the show went live, peeking at around 55 thousand per minute and proving yet again that social media has made television watching a much less isolated activity than it's ever been.

Her Twajesty (Twitter Majesty) @Queen_UK, the fictional monarch and queen of all Elizabeth II wannabes on Twitter, lead the pack with 473 of her tweets being re-tweeted.

And we got the answer to the ever important question: Do Twitter mentions actually get you voted as the most talented act in Britain? Apparently not because runner up Ronan was tweeted much more than winner Jai, with 24,830 tweets for Ronan vs. 13,670 for Jai.

*The term "sofalising" was coined in 2010. It refers to the act of communicating with friends online while lounging on the sofa rather than going out.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

iPhone is winning the tweets war

Andoid has the largest market share in the smartphones range, but it appears that Apple still holds top spot on our mind. We conducted an evaluation using Qlikview of how often iPhone, iPad, Android and Nokia are tweeted. Please see note below on how you can download this visualisation.

We’ve used our twitter probe to collect 2.1 million tweets over a period of four days.

iPad and iphone were by far the most tweeted keywords representing 38% and 31% respectively. Android tweets were surprisingly half of iPhone and iPad, and Nokia trailed behind with 3% of the tweets.

The tweets are pretty consistent by hour. iPhone was tweeted 33,000 by hour and Nokia 2,700 times.

57% of the tweets were in English followed by Japanese at 12%.

iPhone has been exceptionally tweeted 8.44% in Japanese compared to other languages and tags.

The Top tweeted messages are given in the table below. “Running a @QuickPull on my #BlackBerry. Brb!” was tweeted 7,271 (0.39% of the total tweets).

 The majority of the tweets, 1.5M (99%), have been re-tweeted less than 5 times. This decreases to 63k re-tweets for messages retweted between 10 and 15 times.
89.76% (1.6M) of the tweets contained a single smartphone keyword, 8.98%(166k) had two keywords.
Finally, we evaluated how often keywords are tweeted together to give us an indication of correlation between them. The results are shown in the adjacent table. In the double keyword category, iPhone and iPad come on top with 106k tweets out of 166k, followed by iPhone and Android. iPad and Nokia came out last with just 499 tweets.

To obtain a copy of this visulisation, click here

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Nuclear power plants, how many are in your backyard?

Following on from the devastating Tsunami, all eyes are now focused on the Fukushima nuclear power plant and the possibility of a nuclear meltdown. In our last post, we looked at earthquakes around the world. This week, we will analyse operational nuclear reactors.

We have analysed data from the  World Nuclear Association  covering all the reactors around the world. We have used Tableau in our analysis. To get the most of this insight click on the visualisation below to bring the data to life. Click on countries, multiple values and/or basically anything you find interesting and watch how the visualisations update automatically.

There are 439 reactors in the world, with the US, France and Japan with 104, 58, and 55 reactors respectively. Thirty countries are part of this elite club generating a total of 371 MWe. Again the US tops the league with 23% of the world’s total.

The majority of the reactors are over 20 years which is not very reassuring. The worldwide average is 26 years. The Netherlands has the oldest reactors (38 years on average), compared to US (31) and UK (29). China has the lowest average (newest reactors) with an average age of 9.

The most common design is a high proportion of Pressurized water reactors (PWR), 52% of the world’s total, followed by boiling water reactors (BWR) at 20%. The overheating reactors at Fukushima are a BWR ones built mid 70s.

The UK has 19 reactors, 11k MwE and 4.33% of the total world output. The majority of the UK reactors are advanced gas-cooled reactor with the exception of one PWR. I am no nuclear expert but it gives me reassurance that they are different than the ones in Japan. That said, they are only found in the UK so let’s hope that British Engineering is still at its best.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Japan's coast Line shifts by 2.4m

The 8.9-magnitude tremor struck in the afternoon local time on Friday off the coast of Honshu island at a depth of about 24km, 400km (250 miles) north-east of Tokyo. It has shifted Japan's cost line by 2.4m and reports from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy estimated the quake shifted the planet on its axis by nearly 10cm.  It was nearly 8,000 times stronger than last month's quake in New Zealand that devastated the city of Christchurch, scientists. The tsunami was triggered by Japan's biggest earthquake since records began.

We have analysed data from the US Geological Survey  covering all earthquakes since 2009. We have used Tableau in our analysis. To get the most of this insight click on the visualisation below to bring the data to life. Click on years, multiple values and/or basically anything you find interesting and watch how the visualisations update automatically.

It is amazing how many earthquakes occur on a daily basis. Whilst most go unnoticed, the majority of the earthquakes average 4.75 in magnitude. The tectonics plates are very active and you can trace them on the map. 

In the last 2.5 years, only 3 earthquakes above a magnitude of 8 hit and these were in Samoa, off Chile, and Japan. In the same period, we've had seven earthquakes in the UK (2 this year) averaging 3.4 and a maximum of 3.7. 

The Fix Islands have recorded the highest number of quakes since 2009, a whopping 2,971 with average magnitude of 3.04 and a maximum of 6.7.

We wish Japan a speedy recovery and all other communities impacted by earthquakes.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

British Oscar Winners

This week, The King’s Speech cemented British cinema with four wins at the Oscars, including best picture, actor, and director. British films have triumphed at the awards in previous years and are making a come back.

Thanks to the British Film Institute and the Guardian Blog post, we've got all the data. In their words, it includes: Individuals who were either born, and lived and worked, in Britain into their adult lives, or those who were not born here but took on citizenship.

We have used Tableau in our analysis. To get the most of this insight click on the visualisation below to bring the data to life. Click on years, multiple values and/or basically anything you find interesting and watch how the visualisations update automatically.

Since the 1927, Britain has won a total of 298 Oscar awards, or an average of 3.59 awards per year. Not bad. Furthermore, there is a 20% probability for a British actor to win the Best Actor category and 12% for Best picture.

1994 was the best year, with 11 Oscars attributed to British winners. There has been a steady decline in awards with a very strong come back since 2007.

Top of the list of actors are Daniel Day-Lewis (2 Oscars) for best actor. Glenda Jackson, Olivia de Havilland, and Vivien Leigh top the Best Actress awards with two Oscars each.

If you require a copy of this analysis, please drop us an email at and we will be glad to send you a copy