Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Live Longer - Choose Your Country Wisely (if you can)

life expectancy by government type
Full democracy countries are the ones in which to live.
This week's story could start and end with the above graph with almost no further explanation.

But that wouldn't do it justice.

So, like so many of the past articles on "Graph of the Week", a bit of analysis will be provided based on collected data and research. Starting with what is shown above, it is clear that people tend to live longer under full democracies. The range of life spans under this type of government nearly always are above 80. Compare that with other forms of government where only a select few nations have longevity near that age.

And as might be expected, authoritarian regimes have the most countries with comparatively short life expectancies.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Small Countries Stablize by Exporting High-Tech

country high tech export chart
Smaller countries lead the way.
When you think of 'high-tech', which countries come to mind?

What is 'High-Tech'?

Before continuing, what is meant by the term 'high-tech'? As defined by the World Data Bank, high-technology exports are products with high R&D (Research and Development) intensity, such as aerospace, computers, pharmaceuticals, scientific instruments and electrical machinery. That doesn't necessarily mean 'end products' - the gadgets, drugs, meters, etc. that end up in your hands for use; rather, it often means the parts or chemicals that go into those devices which are often assembled elsewhere.

It's Not Who You Might Think

We tend to associate that term with countries such as Japan, the United States, Great Britain, the Nordic Countries, France, India, Taiwan and China to name a few. It's reasonable to make that assumption because those countries do indeed export high-tech products in large amounts. However, that's not the only thing they export since most are large enough to diversify. Therefore, when we look at their high-tech exports as a percentage of their total exports, it mostly rises no higher than 30%.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Flying: Boredom and Terror

airplane accidents, yearly trend of aviation accidents
Data represents all planes (not just commercial planes) for the United States
"There are only two emotions on a plane: boredom and terror."
-- Orson Welles, interview to celebrate his 70th birthday, The Times of London, 6 May 1985.

For some people, flying represents their worst fears. Not only are you helpless if something goes awry, but you will most likely have some time to ponder it before the end arrives.


Takeoff can be the worst as you feel the chassis shudder and moan with the strain. This is the time when many accidents occur, due to the forces involved getting a massively heavy object off the ground. That being said, there aren't enough o's in smooth to describe the sensation once you arrive at altitude. Unless, of course, you hit turbulence...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Enjoy Low Income Tax Rates

Tax rates were higher in the past...

Joe derisively snorted at the pay stub in his hand. Crumpling it into a ball, he wound up like a baseball pitcher and fast-balled the wad of paper across the room. It bounced unsatisfying off the wall and onto the floor, coming to a rest near his feet.

"Guess I'm not cut out for the big leagues," he muttered to himself. Flopping down on the couch, he snatched the remote and jabbed it towards the high-def TV, hoping to take his mind off it all. With his head in one hand he began to channel surf with the other, staring blankly at the flickering screen.

The cell phone on the coffee table suddenly buzzed while playing "In the Mood" by Glenn Miller. Joe jerked out of his trance, leaning over to catch the spinning device. "Hi Dad," he dejectedly said, "what's up?"

"You interested in watching the NCAA tournament at Mac's? They've got great specials during the games," his dad asked.

"I can't afford it, Pops. All of my money goes to taxes," Joe answered.

As outrageous laughter burst forth from the other end of the phone, Joe pulled it away from his ear and scowled at it. Snapping it back, he said annoyingly "Dad, this is serious. I'm getting taxed to death!"

More laughter.

His dad laughed so hard that he went into a coughing fit. After hacking and spitting, he finally calmed down telling Joe "you have no idea what you are talking about."

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