By Amanda Shendruk - Monday, December 3, 2012 - 0 Comments
Last week, Canada was one of only nine nations to oppose the Palestinian Authority’s UN bid to be granted non-member, observer-state status. To nobody’s surprise, the United States also voted against the resolution. Canada’s hardline decision, however, left some wondering “why”?
Costanza Musu, an associate professor of international affairs at the University of Ottawa, recently told Global News: “Based on Canada’s voting history at the United Nations, the possibility that Canada would’ve been on the opposing side of an American vote is not very high. Normally, Canada would be close to the United States, or one step away.”
For how long has Canada voted in tandem with the United States on questions of Palestine? Interestingly enough, the answer is: Not that long. Check out the chart below for a historic look at what percentage of UN resolutions involving Palestine have received “no” votes, “yes” votes or abstentions from Canada and our neighbour.
By Amanda Shendruk - Friday, November 23, 2012 at 11:54 AM - 0 Comments
It’s Black Friday!
Though it has traditionally been an American “holiday,” during the past few years Canadian retailers have jumped on the discount day. And apparently we don’t mind: A recent CIBC poll conducted by Harris/Decima suggested that 9 per cent of Canadians plan to take advantage of the shopping savings.
Many Canadians will take advantage of the weekend discounts to get their Christmas shopping done—all $674 worth of gifts. That’s right, this year’s Bank of Montreal Christmas spending survey suggests we plan to drop almost $100 more than last year on presents (when each person shed $583 for their loved ones).
Despite worries about an upcoming fiscal cliff-induced recession, both Canadians and Americans plan to increase their Christmas spending. But what about the rest of the Western world?
By Amanda Shendruk - Friday, November 16, 2012 at 5:37 AM - 0 Comments
26 Billion is the number of the week: During his fall economic update, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced that the Canadian deficit is at $26 billion, up a whopping $5 billion from the March forecast.
$26 billion sounds like a lot. But is it really?
What can you get for that amount? Planes, cars, boats, mansions, islands(!) don’t cost near a billion dollars, so what does? Take a look at this graphic for some quick context.
(What would YOU would do with $26 billion? Tell me in the comments.)
By Amanda Shendruk - Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 8:40 AM - 0 Comments
It’s opening weekend for Skyfall, the new James Bond film starring Daniel Craig. It’s Craig’s third stint as Bond and is likely bring in millions this weekend, but we’ll have to wait until the end of its box-office run to see how its bottom line compares to other films in the franchise.
Below, a Bond history of kisses, kills and box-office earnings.
By Amanda Shendruk - Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 6:51 AM - 0 Comments
Earlier this week, I found myself in a small New York hotel as it was hammered by hurricane Sandy. During a particularly violent blast of wind, the glass from a lobby window shattered and I thought, probably for the first time in my life, that a disaster emergency kit might not be a bad idea.
In fact, it might be a very good idea.
Climate change means weather extremes are becoming the “new normal,” so now that I’m safely back in Canada, I’m making one for my home.
Creating your own natural disaster emergency kit can be easy and cheap. Check out this graphical guide to creating your own.
By Amanda Shendruk - Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 7:34 PM - 0 Comments
It’s Halloween week and the stench of zombies is in the air.
There have been zombie walks across Canada, the third season of The Walking Dead just started and Margaret Atwood is writing a zombie novel.
So … when did zombies become so popular?
By looking at the rise in frequency of zombie movies, books that mention zombies and Google searches for the undead, the answer appears to be: very recently.
Check out this Google trends chart of searches for “zombie” since 2004 and note the steady incline. Interestingly enough, a number of the search peaks are due to news events that reference zombies, and not necessarily game or movie releases.
This increase in interest is also reflected in both the book and movie industry.
Here is a chart that details the number of zombie movies released each year (according to the zombie movie list on Wikipedia). Notice that between 2003 and 2008 the number of zombie movies doubles!
Finally, if we look at the Google books Ngram viewer (an online tool that graphs the number of words or phrases as found in over 5.2 million books from 1900 to 2008 (and is normalized by books published each year) , we once again see how recent our interest in zombies really is.
By Amanda Shendruk - Sunday, October 21, 2012 at 6:43 PM - 0 Comments
Newsweek has announced that at the end of 2012 it will cease publishing its print version. From then on, it will be e-only. Is this the beginning of the end of print?
The move is notable, as it represents one of the first major publications to ditch paper and ink. They’re taking an all-or-nothing dive into digital that few have attempted—and the industry will certainly be observing. Just as we watched the pay-wall pioneers to see if readers would pitch in for online news, we will now watch Newsweek, eager to see if its full online embrace will flounder or flourish.
It’s a brave (or perhaps desperate?) action, but is it one that any of our own news publications could even consider? Canada tops most countries in Internet usage, but that doesn’t mean we’re ready for an online-only news industry.
A recent Ipsos Reid poll conducted for the Canadian Journalism Foundation can help us find the answer. What percentage of Canadians are clinging to hard copy, and which are going digital for their daily dose?
It looks like there’s still significant support for printed journalism. But haven’t we all heard the mantra that “print is dying”? Well, in Canada at least, we don’t need to write a eulogy for the newspaper just yet. By looking at the readership of five of the largest newspapers in our country, it’s not immediately clear that the industry is on its last legs. Take a look at how Maclean’s, The Globe and Mail, Le Journal de Montreal, the National Post and the Toronto Star have fared during hte past decade.
By Amanda Shendruk - Friday, October 12, 2012 at 4:22 PM - 0 Comments
In an age of online networks and fluid informational boundaries, it’s easy to forget that geographical borders still matter. But the case of Quran-burning pastor Terry Jones this week reminded us all that ours is a nation with a door, like any other, and it’s not open to everyone.
Canada Border Agency Services is responsible for denying passage to those ineligible to enter the country. This year, 14, 291 people were refused entry between the months of April and June. It might sound like a lot, but with 24,513,462 travellers processed in that time, it was only 0.06 per cent who were turned away (or three of every 5,000).
While significant data on annual entry denials was not forthcoming, searches through CBSA Departmental Performance Reports revealed other interesting details about Canada’s unwanted. As well as detaining incoming foreigners deemed a threat, CBSA is also given the task of hunting down and physically removing people who are in Canada illegally. And, it turns out, the number of those being kicked out is on the rise.
A jump of almost 7,000 people over a decade may not seem significant, but that difference represents a 75 per cent increase in removals. This is especially interesting considering that, as a trend, the total travellers processed each year has not increased correspondingly.
By Amanda Shendruk - Friday, October 5, 2012 at 5:38 AM - 0 Comments
Canada is in the middle of a contamination crisis.
I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s recall of more than 1,500 beef products from XL Foods is, in fact, the largest beef recall in our country’s history. That’s far from insignificant. But what does “large” mean, really, and how does our current predicament compare to some of the biggest meat recalls in recent history? Let’s look:
By Amanda Shendruk - Friday, September 28, 2012 at 1:54 PM - 0 Comments
11.8 hours, 100,500 words, 34 gigabytes: This is your life
Marshall McLuhan once noted that in an age of “electric information” — he was speaking in 1967 — it was easy to live in a state of information overload. “There’s always more than you can cope with.”
These days, according to 2008 data in the latest issue of the International Journal of Communication, the average American consumes 11.8 hours of media information each day. Authors Roger Bohn and James Short suggest these hours equate to 100,500 words and 34 gigabytes of data: in one day!
So perhaps there’s no time like the present to dial back the information overload.
Visualizing information can help clarify complicated or data-heavy concepts. Digestible graphics deliver at-a-glance comprehension and can reveal compelling and important connections and relationships. Sometimes, of course, they’re just fun to look at.
Data and statistics offer necessary context to the stories of the day, but they seldom make headlines because numbers scare people.
So that’s where I’ll come in. I will do the math and crunch the numbers, then I’ll illustrate my findings in a way that will adds a new layer of understanding to the stories of the day. Join me each Friday on Macleans.ca for a visual exploration of the numbers behind the news.