Could You Afford Facebook Messenger in Cameroon? A Global Map of Mobile Broadband Prices

This post is by Frank Hangler and Gili Vidan, and is adapted from a post on Frank’s personal blog. For Open Data Hack Day in Oxford, we decided to play around with data from the International Broadband Pricing Study released last year by Google. We decided to look at mobile broadband prices around the world: in which countries can you obtain data on your mobile device for the least money, relative to your purchasing power in that country? The study collects information on consumer mobile plans sold by major carriers in each country, so we had to do some data aggregation […]

“internet” vs. “Internet”: The Consequence of Capitalization

Read enough about digital developments and you’re bound to run into a subtle inconsistency: the capitalization of the word “internet.” Some scholars do, some scholars don’t. This may lead you to ask a fairly natural question: which version is right? Many default to “Internet” with a capital “I,” but this choice is far from universal. The New York Times, Chicago Manual of Style, and AP swear by the capital letter. The Guardian, the Economist, and Wired do not. Commentaries and academic articles vary, as do personal blogs and social media posts (themselves perhaps governed by a different sort of lexical […]

The end of ideology? Big data and decision-making in politics

Throughout most of the 20th century, one leader or ruling party tried to frame the policy visions of the future and then act upon them. Mostly, ideology and simple heuristics were used to accomplish this goal which led to clear slogans, e.g. supporting a free market economy, lowering taxes or investing in education and other public goods. Above all, it was beneficial for two reasons. Firstly, it allowed the political leader(s) to reduce uncertainty by having a long-term agenda. Secondly, it could be used to justify themselves towards their constituents. However, we are currently witnessing a shift in western politics […]