Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday Snippets - Round-up with a special focus on the Pew international migration statistics

At a time when the news is a tad depressing, its good to see Aer Lingus and Air New Zealand in a twitter war over something important, the respective merits of their two countries rugby teams.

The dispute over censorship of false news on Facebook largely passed me by. There are enough problems on FB now without the company being forced to try to use algorithms to screen out the fake. Even though conspiracy theories and false reports do abound, let people sort it out for themselves.

The one exception I might make is sponsored stuff where FB is taking money. Then the company does have some responsibility. But how do you distinguish between the satirical false news sites and the plain crap? In Australia, we have the Betoota Advocate (company site here, Wikipedia here).  They did fool me once. It was the first time I came across the site. The story was strange, a bit funny, but vaguely credible. What I couldn't work out was how there could be a Queensland country newspaper that I had never heard of in a town that that I had never heard of. A bit of investigation soon revealed the hoax.

The first story I saw from The Onion was harder to spot, in part because it is a US site and I didn't have the local familiarity. I also saw it via a repost from someone who had taken the story seriously. I actually felt a bit silly when I realised that it was a spoof even though it hadn't taken me that long to work it out. In a way, that's the point: these stories remind us of our own credulity.

Christopher Moore's History News continues to remind me of the similarities but also especially the differences between Canadian and Australian histories. Accepting that Canadian history is more complex, I am left with the feeling that Canadian historiography is deeper and more varied than that practiced in this country. And all this despite Christopher's sometimes complaint about the paucity of Canadian historiography.  

In one post, Christopher wrote:
Reconciling indigenous history into "Canadian" history? On the evidence of two substantial, successful Canadian books on what's a pretty thin shelf these days, still a long ways to go, historians. Not saying it's easy, either.
I really struggle with this one, a struggle that deserves a fuller post on my history blog. I don't have an answer.

It's been a while since I mentioned Gordon's lookANDsee blog, partly because he has been posting less regularly. This photo is a Kingfisher taken near his place to the east of Armidale.

The Pew Research Centre has a fascinating interactive, Origins and Destinations of the World’s Migrants, from 1990-2015. You can search by five years from 1990 to 2015, by nationality of overseas born in each country and by number of people from each country living elsewhere and in which country. Have a play. There are some problems with the numbers, but the results may surprise you. From a quick scan, here is a not inclusive list of countries where the total number of people living in Australia in 2015 is ranked in the top ten from the viewpoint of the source country: The numbers include students.
  • New Zealand first
  • Fiji first
  • United Kingdom first
  • French Polynesia around first
  • Cook islands second
  • South Africa second
  • Cyprus second 
  • Bhutan equal second
  • Gibralta second
  • Brunei around equal second
  • Croatia third
  • Canada third
  • Japan third
  • Ireland third
  • Greece third
  • Cambodia fourth
  • Chile fourth
  • Ecuador around fourth
  • Guam around fourth
  • Hong Kong fifth
  • Botswana equal fifth
  • Israel sixth
  • Italy sixth
  • Hungary sixth
  • Laos sixth
  • Burundi around equal sixth
  • China equal sixth
  • Czech Republic seventh
  • Iran seventh
  • Finland seventh
  • Denmark equal seventh
  • Burma seventh
  • Afghanistan eighth
  • Djibouti ninth
  • Angola around equal ninth
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina equal ninth
  • Indonesia tenth
  • Albania around equal tenth
  • Iraq equal tenth
  • Estonia around tenth
I am going to pause here both because I am out of time and because the material is better presented in tabular format.  Immigration statistics are usually presented from the viewpoint of the host country and then ranked in order of magnitude. If you look at it from the viewpoint of country of origin, a different perspective emerges.

If you look at the list above, two things stand out. The first is the diversity of Australia's immigration intake, the second the number of countries in which Australia ranks in the top group from the viewpoint of the source countries. This actually gives Australia a remarkable reach in international terms. But that's another story.


2 tanners said...

Morning Jim. As my Monday comment, did you know your site is banned in China?

Jim Belshaw said...

I did not,2t! How did you find out?

Anonymous said...

Afternoon tanners - and despite noting your usual scurrility, mixed with ostensible morality, it is good to see you back on the deck of this leaky barge :)


2 tanners said...

I found out by going to Beijing. My guess is that Google now owns Blogspot or Wordpress and all things Google are kept out by the Great Firewall of China. That includes you, apparently.

Hi, kvd. You were having a crack at "analyses" a bit earlier and I heartily agreed. Have a look at this one - one bare factoid, not yet proven, and an entire web spun on top of it which still doesn't justify the headline:

I think the writer even has the issue wrong. I'd say Trump would have a hard time trying to find a manager to replace himself. But as President-elect even to imply that he'd be devoting enough time to his empire to fulfil his legal obligations to the shareholders as a director does rather leave me scratching my head and asking when he plans to do the President-y stuff. And that's not analysis either, for the record.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I read that tanners - along with the never-ending stream of thoughtless bile issuing from the bowels of the SMH. Paul McGeogh is now completely unhinged, and Jacqueline Maley had a great piece a couple of days back posted, I assume, from Mars - and so it goes.

It is very telling that rarely do pieces from either their own writers, or those sourced from WaPo, provide for reader comment. Now if they could just extend that disallowance to their writers, we would all be both better off, and better informed.

But Trump's business interests are really important - after all, the prime function of a US president is to enhance the value of golf courses and hotels.


Jim Belshaw said...

Good morning, both.

2t, I ran a check on the firewall thing for both Shanghai and Beijing. In both cases, the connection to this blog could not be completed - appeared as a time-out after a minute. The previous time I ran the check, the connection got through. Perhaps I have become more dangerous?

2 tanners said...

Since Google bought Blogger/blogspot in 2003 and Wordpress in 2009/10, I imagine either you ran the tests a while ago, or the Chinese extended the Google bar.

Or, as you surmise, they suddenly realised *your* blog was being hosted by searching the term Belshavik.

Jim Belshaw said...

About twelve months, I guess, 2t. I don't think Google owns wordpress -