Comments written on other sites from May 2010

UK public spending since 1963 | News | guardian.co.uk

I’m a little confused by the subheading of this article: “Government spending has spiralled. See how much it has increased”.

But you could show the price of a loaf of bread, and how it’s changed since 1963 and, even if it’s stayed the same in real terms, it would also have “spiralled”.

The figures seem to show spending hasn’t actually changed much as a percentage of GDP, so is it right to say it’s “spiralling”?

It is certainly possible that, even taking inflation into account, spending has increased. For example, using the GDP Deflator indicator on this calculator, £12bn in 1963 is the same as £190bn in 2008, so £620bn is indeed a big increase. But I’m not an economist and I’ve no idea if that is the correct indicator to use in this case.

Instead of simply presenting raw data under an over-dramatic and possibly inaccurate headline, and asking readers to “mash them up”, why not do a little more work and present them in a more meaningful context? Explain. That way we can derive some useful information from them.

On 17 May 2010. Permalink

tadhg.com » Improving a Python Word Counting Function

Thanks for this — very interesting. It would be useful to know what you have in your LINE_SEPS, WORD_SEPS, REPEATER_SEPS and IGNORE lists. I can make some up but I’m sure that over time you’ve compiled more useful lists than I can off the top of my head!

On 25 May 2010. Permalink