Data day life in Sussex

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spss statistics on laptop
I was loth to let statistical software into my home…

The British Election Study 2009-10 asked thousands of people a series of hundreds of questions about all things political, and my overlords at the University have helpfully loaded all this data onto the computer network so that humble students such as myself can analyse it.

Now, I don’t know who was responsible for this, but some of the data isn’t entirely suited to statistical analysis by computer. For instance, the “Which party do you most prefer?” dataset, which one would expect to be answered with the name of a party, conveniently divides people into a number of categories including:

cannot remember
Christian party
Christian Party (Perhaps there’s a deep political significance to the capital letter…?)
conservative with a small c.
conservative with small c
disillusioned pensioner
English democrat
English Democrat
English Democrate
english democrats
english democrat
It’s a secret vote!
mix of all parties
There isn’t one
Vox Magna (I looked this one up and it appears to be a Swedish choir)
well im like the english party

The desperation of the ‘made a mistake’ person is rather touching! Meanwhile, the data for ‘religion’ was similarly simple to convert into an easily-understandable bar chart. It included categories for the following different religions:

teepee wigwam outside big ben
Red Indians are very active in British politics.
Church of Sweden
Not organised
Oreder of the Jedi
red indian
salvation army
Salvation Army

I think the disorganised religious person is definitely my favourite.

Of risks and rabbis…

The new committee of the Brighton & Sussex Jewish Society took office at the beginning of term, and we were instructed by the Students’ Union to carry out a comprehensive risk assessment of our activities. Since the Snowboarding Society is apparently acceptable, I kind of resent having spend my time risk-assessing a bagel lunch, but for illustration purposes only, here is one of my early drafts.

Bite-sized bites of news

This week’s much-heralded return of the Blimey, Pull the Other One! Award goes to the New Zealand Coroner’s Office for adding this to the sum total of the world’s knowledge:

…although a close runner-up for this award goes to the BBC, who proudly informed the world:

Next, the Ordinary Photograph Looking Most Like a Movie Poster Prize has to go to The Guardian who, when reporting on a fireman who complained when police racially abused him, somehow produced this remarkable image (top) very reminiscent of a Doctor Who promotional picture (bottom)!

Sorry to be a NUSance…

A debating chamber perhaps a bit like the one where the NUS Conference might be held.

…but this week’s blog post is slightly shortened because since Monday, I’ve been living the democratic dream at the NUS Conference in Sheffield City Hall. The four Sussex University candidates were chosen via a hotly-contested election process which ran into seven rounds. In contrast, on Friday morning I received a ’phone-call from the Union of Jewish Students inviting me to join their mission, packed my bags and here I am!

But since I’ve not been around, there’s not the hugest amount of other news for me to provide, except for…:

Sussexballs: £9000 per annum paid for contributions“This week is the 1970s.”

“Now Gabriel, you said everything is connected. I would actually say ‘interconnected’.” [And the difference is?]

“It’s obvious: the 1970s were after the 1960s.”

“I’m going to finish [this seminar on the oil shocks of 1971-74] by reading a few lines of T S Eeeliot [sic]…”

Oh, and a sleek, black Sussex University Security vehicle drifted up to my flat’s window at 1am the other night, and a uniformed occupant peered in. The scene was ever so slightly reminiscent of that GCSE English poem Not My Business. But it turned out that they only wanted to fix the window frame.

A word from the wise

Left to right: Whining Meerkat, Whining Meerkat

These days, Red Indians are more properly described as Native Americans. But, as part of Gabrielquotes’ continued ongoing vision to provide a neutral news source and win Investors in People status, we feel we ought to present an alternative viewpoint to contrast with this political correctness.

I knew there was only one person upon whom I could call for a reliably bigoted, outdated stance. So here, on a special visit from 1879, the views on the respective merits of the Red Indian and other races, of the one and only, your friend and mine, Sir George Campbell MP, known for these Amerindian purposes as Whining Meerkat.

In tonight’s episode, the loony data was provided by the Great British Public® and extracted by a fool. The wigwam was placed in front of Big Ben by the Sitting Bull Occupy movement. Sussexballs was written and performed by the School of Global Studies faculty. The Security Unit’s ‘looking menacing in the dark’ consultant was poet Niyi Osundare. Sir George Campbell MP was exhumed by Gabriel Webber. My Badger article on the topic of offensive Twitter posts and the law (a subject of which I have no personal experience whatsoever) can be found by clicking here. This was an Gabrielquotes production.

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