There has been an interesting discussion in Iceland in the past days about our National Currency, the Icelandic Krona. This has to do with a recent claim, e.g. by the Nobel prize winner Krugman, that the post-crunch super-devaluation of the krona has in fact helped us keeping the unemployment levels lower than in countries like Ireland. Of course this comes at a price. The Krona has essentially been “protected” by different types of currency restrictions for most of its lifespan. This is not exactly a healthy environment for businesses to flourish. As this fine article by Þórlindur Kjartansson (in Icelandic) points out, the Krona has lost 99.95% of its value with respect to the Danish Krona since the two separated. Keeping Danish cash in your drawer amounts to 11% interest rate a year in Icelandic Kroner. Here’s a short history of the Icelandic Krona for the past 30 years.
The data comes from the Central Bank of Iceland. See: http://www.sedlabanki.is/?PageID=37 Now here’s a small applet showing the collapse of the Krona through the years: [processing file=”http://pabamapa.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/movingISKchart3.jar” width=”500″ height=”400″] [Click on the applet window to reset the graphics.]
It is a duty of every inhabitant of Iceland to travel the ring road every once in a while. If you are not planning to do that during your next visit, you are excused, as long as you watch this cute little video. http://youtu.be/EIoHikUTt4c Map data CCBYSA 2011 OpenStreetMap.org contributors.
The Poles went to the polls on October the 9th 2011 and elected a new Parliament. There were new rules in play for the Senate elections, the one hundred (100) senators where for the first time elected in a Firs Past the Post single member constituencies. This is the electoral map.
As you can see, the ruling right-wing liberal Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska) took the bulk of the senate seats, in fact they took 63 of them. They were, as before, strong in Western parts of the country as well as the bigger cities. The traditionalist christian conservative party Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość) fared better in the East as well as in the rural areas, grabbing a total of 31 seats. The co-ruling agrarian Polish People’s Party (Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe) got two seats, with the remaining four seats going to independent candidates. The final table thus looks as follows:
PO – 63
PIS – 31
PSL – 2
This is of course a good victory for the ruling coalition, which should be able two count on at least 65 of its own members, as well as at least 3 of the 4 “independents”, which were elected with at least informal support of PO (Cimoszewicz, Borowski and Kutz did not receive any competition from PO in the districts where they ran).
A big question remains, with regards to the whole sense of the Senate idea. The electoral reform where supposed to give local politicians, even independents a stronger chance at a seat in the Polish Senate. Looking at the map one can see that local persona had little effect on the outcome, the voters almost uniformly, voted for their national parties, and not for particular candidates.
The map outline above is taken from the webpage of the Polish Electoral Committee. (www.pkw.gov.pl)
This is short video showing how (frequently) the voters in the Polish elections of 2011 voted. The darker the area, the more people voted. http://youtu.be/pXNzjBZx1qo This is based on data from the Polish Electoral Commission. You can see that the people in the cities generally vote more than folks from the countryside. Also, looking at the time-series throughout the day you can tell that the traditionally conservative south-east voted rather early whereas the city dwellers took more time. The colors are relative in each frame, which explains the lightening of some areas as the day passes by. The maps where taken from the official electoral site pkw.gov.pl (with permission, although I’m not sure I needed one). The video was mostly done using GIMP.
Iceland is not unique when it comes down to urbanization, what is interesting though is to see that most of the flux has been towards a single city, Reykjavik. 300 years ago, there where virtually no cities in the country, a century ago the country was still one with a very strong rural population. Throughout the last century we have however seen a steady and strong influx of people from countryside to the capital, whereas other areas have lost their share og the overall population. Now, if we let the area of each circle represent the population of each region in 1911, then this is what we get:
The raw data goes like this: Capital Area:15469 Reykjanes:2541 West Iceland:10351 Western Fjords:13169 North-West: 9103 North-East: 11911 East: 9617 South: 13500. A Century later, the situation is quite different:
Here we have stacked up the circles, giving the years with positive growth a blue color, and the ones with population decrease a red one. The corresponding numbers can be found in the the following Excel sheet: popice_pbmp. Finally, here is a video showing the entire animation. http://youtu.be/OqFIL4w1POs The underlying map can be found on wikimedia commons. The data is taken and compiled from hagstofa.is, the Statistical Office of Iceland.
The following video shows the net immigration/emigration in/out of Iceland for the past 50 years. I was made using Processing and data from the Statistical Office of Iceland (hagstofa.is). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hp29RxQhJO8&feature=player_profilepage Large circles = Many people. Small circles = Fewer people. Blue circles = Icelanders. Red circles = Foreigners. The Pie-Chart at the center symbolizes the entire population, with the red part of the cake symbolizing the foreign nationals at each point in time. One can see the steady flow into the country in the years before 2008 and then a large net flow out of it in the past two years.