Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Extreme poverty worldwide has more than halved since 1990

The percentage of people living in extreme poverty around the world has fallen by more than half over the past three decades (via Dina Pomeranz). According to a recent study, a significant majority of respondents from several countries are unaware of this achievement. I wasn't aware either!

On a side note, Oxfam is on the news again with their report on wealth inequality. Oxfam's method is quite questionable and there are lots of articles out on the web criticizing it. Last year, Tim Harford addressed this issue in his podcast More or Less (brilliant podcast, btw). You can listen to this explanation in this 10 minute-audio.

ps. the shortcomings of Oxfam's estimates do not imply we face low levels of global inequality, but they do distort the numbers in a way that attracts lots of headlines.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Music for the weekend

Good soundtrack for coding and data analysis.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Who uses active transportation in Brazil?

The proportion of workers who cycle or walk to work in Brazil is approximately 33%, a similar proportion found in France (34.9%) and Holland (37.9%). Yet, cycling and walking as modes of transport are strongly associated with lower income groups in Brazil. Depending on the metropolitan area, the use of active transportation is two to five times more frequent among low-income individuals than among high-income individuals.

In a recent paper, some colleagues and I discuss the socioeconomic and regional differences in active transportation in Brazil using nationally representative data from 2008 (here is the paper in Portuguese). We've been working on a new paper that updates these data and analyzes the relationship between active transport and health outcomes in the country.

click on the image to enlarge it

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Two open positions at TSU Oxford

Heads ups: there are currently two open positions at the Transport Studies Unit (TSU) at Oxford University:

Sunday, January 8, 2017

PhD status report

My  procrastination  blogging activity has been lower than the usual for PhD reasons. Bear with me :)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Urban Picture

Cinematic Photographs of Tokyo, by Masashi Wakuiby (via Christopher Jobson - Colossal)

credit: Masashi Wakuiby

Friday, December 23, 2016

A history of global living conditions: a big picture of human development in 6 charts

It is hard not to be a pessimist these days. As 2016 comes to an end, it leaves us with that bitter feeling of "WTF world!". In gloomy days like these, having a long term perspective on human development can help us alleviate this feeling.

The image below brings 6 charts that give a historical perspective on human development (detailed and interactive charts here). They show the big picture of some of the remarkable improvements we have seen in the world in the last 200 years, with less poverty and tyranny and with more education and better health conditions.

This image comes from Our World in Data (OWID), a fantastic online publication that shows how living conditions are changing in the world with the best available on wide range of topics including health, food, energy, institutions, culture, education, technology, war and peace, etc. I am proud that OWID is produced at the University of Oxford. It was created by  Max RoserEsteban Ortiz Ospina and Jaiden Mispy

The OWID website is a great source of information, particularly if you're feeling too pessimistic about the world  or if you feel like procrastinating a bit, like me 

"One reason why we do not see progress is that we are unaware of how bad the past was." (Roser et al, OWID)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Cyber-attacks and the vulnerability of smart cities

A few weeks ago, anonymous hackers attacked the computers that run the public transport system of San Francisco, which wouldn't take any payments from passengers. The hackers demanded a ransom of 100 Bitcoin (about $73,000) but didn't get any money. Full story here, by Jack Stewart.

If I'm not mistaken, this is the first case a cyber-attack targets a public transport system. Certainly, this will not be the last one. This kind of event is likely to become more common as cities adopt 'smart' strategies of urban management that increasingly connect public services to integrated systems and the 'internet of things'.

Perhaps a good topic for a PhD project, if anyone is interested.