On what was a presumably cold January day in New York City in 1790, the first president of the United States of America, George Washington, gave a speech before a joint session of Congress. This speech, like those that have followed throughout history, is known as the State of the Union (SOTU) address.
When FiveThirtyEight editor Nate Silver predicted in June that Donald Trump had a 20 per cent chance of winning the US presidential election against Hillary Clinton, eyebrows were raised. Just days before, experts had made a similar prediction about the chances of the British electorate voting to leave the European Union. Betting markets had the odds of a ‘Remain’ win as 4 to 1 in favour, and yet ‘Remain’ lost.
An interesting by-product of the UK’s referendum on membership of the EU has been the wide variety of data analyses and visualisations to explain and add context, both before and after the results (for examples, see here, here and here). However, one of the few aspects that has not been analysed is how surname diversity in districts relates to referendum voting patterns.
At a dramatic moment in Tony Blair’s testimony before the Iraq Inquiry back in 2010, Sir John Chilcot asked him if the invasion of Iraq had been good for the Iraqi people. Blair responded in the affirmative – and his main argument was that the invasion had saved the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqi children who would otherwise have perished at the hands of Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime.
The chapter on civilian casualties in the Chilcot report is stuffed with interesting material to the point that I don’t know where to begin. So I guess I’ll make a somewhat random choice and start with the internal UK discussion on whether or not to compile and release data on civilian casualties in the Iraq war.