Monthly Archives: October 2012

Billion Dollar Weather Disasters

Billion dollar weather events by state

As the economic damage from Hurricane Sandy is still being evaluated, we took a look at the damage from weather/climate-related disasters over the past 30 years. The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration keeps detailed statistics of all weather disasters in the US. One of the visualizations the NCDC has created is a thematic map of billion-dollar weather events, which can be seen above. The map shows the number of events that caused at least a billion dollars in damage by state. Southern states suffered the most damage up until 2011. The colors in the map may look significantly different once the total tally of Sandy is calculated.

The World’s Least and Most Dynamic Countries

Global Dynamism Index

Grant Thornton International and the Economist Intelligence Unit have just released a Global Dynamism Index, which ranks 50 economies on 22 indicators of dynamism. Countries which have a positive reading on these indicators have recovered faster since the 2008 global recession, and are also on a path to higher future growth. Singapore, Finland, and Sweden are at the top of the list of the world’s most dynamic countries, whereas Nigeria, Greece, and Venezuela are at the bottom.

First Names and Politics

An analysis of donor data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) conducted by Chris Wilson at Yahoo News suggests that first names may be a predictor of a person’s political affiliation. It turns out that Republicans seem to have a hold on names like Donald and Sharon, whereas Democrats attract contributions from people with names like Angela and Willie. You can play around with the data and draw your own conclusions using the embedded chart.

Cigarette Smoking Rates Around the World

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A color-coded map featured in an article by the Washington Post, shows annual per capita smoking rates by country. Serbia, Russia, and other countries in Eastern Europe, are the heaviest smokers, with an average consumption of 2,000 cigarettes per person per year. These countries are followed by Japan and South Korea, with China catching up. The U.S. and Canada are in the middle with an average consumption of 750 to 1,249 cigarettes per person per year. The healthiest countries tend to be poor countries located in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Southeast Asia, with an average consumption of up to 250 cigarettes per person per year.

Related Links:

  1. Kremlin Cracks Down on Big Tobacco – World Smoking Habits Data [Wall Street Journal]
  2. Key Facts About Smoking – [American Lung Association]


Megacities Around the World

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Back in 1950, New York and Tokyo were the only two megacities, with populations larger than 10 million inhabitants. By 2010 the number of megacities had increased to 23, including cities like Mexico City, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aries, Paris, Moscow, Cairo, Istanbul, Delhi, Karachi, Mumbai, Dhaka, Beijing, Shanghai, Manila, besides New York and Tokyo, the largest megacity with a population of 36.9 million. For 2025, it is estimated that there will be 29 megacities around the globe. Click here for the interactive map.


The Congested Skies of America

This interesting animation shows air traffic over the United States on a given day. It was created using real air traffic data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The animation covers the period 8PM to 8PM EST of the following day. In the middle of the night, the number of aircraft on the air is about nine hundred. In the middle of the day, the number of aircraft on the air is around five thousand. Most air traffic is concentrated in the Northeastern part of the country and the main traffic hubs can be distinguished by the number of aircraft concentrated around them.


Great News: Americans Smoke Less

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According to an article published by Scientific American, based on data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tobacco use decreased in the U.S. in 2010, comparing to 1995. There are still some states where the use of tobacco constitutes a severe problem. Such is the case of West Virginia and Oklahoma. The best state in terms of tobacco use is Utah, with the lowest levels nationwide.


U.S. States Get More Drunk

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According to an article published by Scientific American, based on data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heavy drinking has increased in several states. The heaviest drinking states are located in the Northeast, the worst of all Vermont, based on data for 2010. Heavy drinking is defined as two or more drinks per day for men, and one or more drinks per day for women.


Malaria Around the World

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Malaria, a mosquito-borne infectious disease, affects 100 countries worldwide. It is mostly present in semi-tropical and tropical poor areas of Africa, South and Central America, and Asia. Of the 100 affected countries, 35 are located in Africa. Africa is the region most affected because its hot and humid weather makes transmission possible all year round. Lack of resources makes prevention and control of the disease very difficult. 89% of the malaria deaths worldwide occur in Africa.

Related Links: