North Korean ‘Provocations’ Freeze During Winter?

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: North Korea, Policy & Politics

Last week I posted a visual timeline highlighting nuclear, missile and other “provocations” by the North Korean regime since 2006. The data show a clear escalation, especially in missile tests, since Kim Jong Un took power in late 2011.

It’s been more than 70 days, though, since the last provocation. The most-recent incident was the firing of an intermediate-range ballistic missile — most likely the Hwasong-12 — over Japanese territory into the Pacific Ocean. It was the latest in a flurry of tests this year.

Some, though, have been heartened by this slowdown in recent weeks, suggesting that tensions between the United States and North Korea might be cooling.

What actually might be happening, however, is that the temperature is cooling in Pyongyang, as Adam Taylor noted in The Washington Post today.

Here’s an updated version of the timeline, showing just the Kim Jong Un era:

And this simple bar chart, which categorizes provocation dates into common seasonal quarters, shows that Pyongyang’s efforts seem to cool, if you will, late in the year under Kim’s leadership:

Santa’s Unbelievable Workload

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

Does this mean Santa isn’t real?

Via The Atlantic: 

There are just over 526,000,000 Christian kids under the age of 14 in the world who celebrate Christmas on December 25th. In other words, Santa has to deliver presents to almost 22 million kids an hour, every hour, on the night before Christmas. That’s about 365,000 kids a minute; about 6,100 a second. Totally doable.

h/t @blettenberger

Plotting ‘Multicides’

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

Bill Marsh and other artists at The New York Times created this timeline of world atrocities over the centuries.  

Estimating the tolls from such horrors is an inexact science, given war’s nature and the mysteries of antiquity. The deadliest “multicides” are more plentiful in recent centuries, given that there were more people to kill and better ways to kill them on a grand scale. Even so, killings as a percentage of all humanity are probably declining. Here is a look at the sweep of human brutality presented in a timeline.

Click the image to see the full-sized version

Financing Texas Elections: 2010

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

Another cross-post from my work blog:

The 2010 political campaigns are over, but looking back at the fundraising and spending that financed them is now fully possible thanks to records made public by the Texas Ethics Commission after Tuesday’s filing deadline. 

With this new data, which cover donations and expenditures from October 24 to December 31, we can now illustrate campaign activity for the full year. This column chart visualizes campaign activity, by day, for all candidate/officeholders and specific-purpose committees during 2010. Red spikes represent spending; blue spikes represent fundraising.

(View a larger version)

The graphic offers an interesting, though not necessarily unexpected, timeline of the campaigns, which spent about $180 million during the year — not including what third-party groups devoted to the various contests up and down the ballot. I’ve highlighted spikes in activity that correlate with high points of the campaign. 

Notice spikes in the competitive Republican primary contest between Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, as well as the Democratic primary between former Houston mayor Bill White and hair care magnate Farouk Shami. The largest came on Feb. 18, when Perry, Hutchison and Shami spent about $3.5 million on television advertising ahead of Election Day. 

There’s a similar spike before the general election contests including Perry and White, and all the competitive and expensive Texas House races. The largest jump came on Oct. 15, when Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who was fending off a challenge from labor leader Linda Chavez Thompson, purchased $5.1 million in television time. 

Other events are highlighted, too. You’ll see that fundraising jumped sharply on June 30, the mid-year filing deadline. It also spiked on Sept. 23, which was a deadline for the 30-day ethics filing, which is released Oct. 4. Another spike occurred on Dec. 11, the day before a fundraising moratorium before the 82nd legislative session.

Let us know if you have ideas for data-driven features or visualizations, and be sure to follow @TribData on Twitter.

UPDATE: Here’s a quick interactive version built with the Google Visualization API