International test cricket, 1971-2010

Posted by Joshua Newton On August 14, 2010 0 comments

During the early 2000s, I probably watched most of the international test cricket matches played on Australian shores. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this period also coincided with Australia’s dominance in the world of test cricket. Australia had not, however, always been so successful. In the 1980s, for example, the West Indies were the most dominant international team and the Australian side enjoyed only sporadic success. Similarly, in the last couple of years, Australia has had fewer series wins than India or South Africa. Which got me thinking: how could I best represent the cyclicality of test cricket success? The graph below is my attempt.

In this graph, I’ve only included test sides that have been ranked number one at least once since 1971. Thus, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, and Bangladesh are not included. The height of each arc represents the number of consecutive test series that each side won (or lost), and the spacing between each arc represents the length of time that this run of wins or losses lasted. Flat lines (i.e., when no arcs are present) refer to drawn test series.

Click on the image above or here to view the graph full size.

  • South Africa was excluded from international cricket during the apartheid era, re-entering the international test arena in 1992.
  • Official ICC rankings were introduced in 2003. The unofficial rankings presented here were calculated by Dave Wilson.


The geography of health

Posted by Joshua Newton On August 1, 2010 0 comments

On the 31st of August, 1854, an outbreak of cholera struck the Soho district of London. At the time of the outbreak, the prevailing theory was that cholera and other infectious diseases were spread by ‘bad air’. Dr. John Snow, a local physician, was sceptical of this theory and, with the help of a local minister, found sufficient evidence that cholera was a water-borne disease to convince local officials to disable the water pump at the heart of the outbreak.

In subsequent years, Snow went on to map the residence of each person who was infected with cholera in the 1854 Soho outbreak. The key insight from his map was that disease – and more generally health – has a spatial dimension. In the case of Snow’s map, this spatial information provided some clue as to the cause of the health condition. In many contexts, however, simply seeing geographical variations in health-related indicators can be of interest, especially to public policy makers.

Each of the maps below represents the local statistical areas that correspond to the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. As can be seen from the maps, certain health-related indicators vary dramatically across suburbs. Notice in particular the greater rates of physical inactivity and psychological distress in the inner western and outer south-eastern suburbs. Also note that smoking rates appear to increase with distance from the Melbourne CBD.