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November 2010 News Trends Graph.jpg

Part of maintaining, tweaking and generally tinkering with the Guardian Zeitgeist involves monitoring and tracking news stories, keywords and trends. For various reasons each month I pick through the data and compile a view of the stories which stood-out (to me) from a data/numbers point of view not merit/journalist pov.

Normally I do it halfway through the month at which point it's probably too late for general interest, this month I got round to doing it only a week into the month (yay!). So in short, here's a selection of links that caught my number-crunching eye in vaguely chronological order.


As the US midterms finally come to an end Obama now "has to play hardball", admits he needs "to do a better job", green agenda crushed at the ballot box and a liveblog to relive...

The next day a Qantas A380 "superjumbo" engine failed (with a bang not a wimper) forcing it to make a safe emergency landing, leading to Rolls-Royce facing a BP-style backlash...

Backlash appears in the form of a $1.8bn engine order from Chinese airline firm.

Students are revolting was the much avoided headline (probably not) as "riots" kick off on the 10th. Including "This is just the beginning", it all starts going wrong for Nick Clegg, Coalition spends £20,000 on hanging office art and police close down student-advice blog...

Lost (for once) in the middle of the students was Twitter, Stephen Fry (of course) and Spartacus!

In the frequently commented "How is this News?" and yet still seemingly of interest to LOTS OF PEOPLE category; Simon's Cat, Emma Watson, giving up washing, making perfect scrambled eggs and confessions of a death row chef filled in the gap between the midterms and student riots.

As did torture and "enhanced interrogation techniques"

Something else last month too, can't quite remember what it was. It was a thing, royal, people. Ah yeah that's it "Prince William's girlfriend should get out while the going's good"...

Doh! No that wasn't it, this is it! (second link to save myself some cutting and pasting)...

A week and a day in headlines:

Science: Sarah Palin didn't discover America, may end it:

"Don't touch my junk"

"North" and "South" meet their word quota in just one day on the 23rd, Sarah Palin again:

Science! Caturday 27th, cat vs printer

Then to end the month, does WikiLeaks always leak during the last 4 days of a month, certainly feels like it?!

A quick note about the graph at the top of the page

To help me quickly grok the flow of news I use processingjs to render a graph of the "hotness" of keywords and stories related to them. The rather messy graph at the top is of the whole site. I can drill down into more specific site graphs and turn various keywords on and off to try and spot trends of time or correlations. I find it handier than just straight up numbers.

I'll probably explain it more in some future blogpost, in the meantime as a quick example, the two red(ish) spikes on the left, the first one is George Bush's memoirs getting published and waterboarding articles, the second is the student protests. The blue lower spike around 3/4 of the way along is Ireland's financial situation (blue is the colour of the Business section). The red at the end is the start of the Wikileaks cables.

This is what used to be a blog, but is now an online diary/archive sort of thing. Below is a list of things you'll find for December 2010. As I'm laying off the twitter a bit and currently reclaiming all my Flickr photos this is the main place to find me, (subscribing via RSS) should still work.

I also have a podcast, with more audio experiments on SoundCloud. A smaller "scrapblog" is over on tumblr. If you need to get hold of me email hello@revdancatt.com

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