“They used a pencil”: technology adoption in different countries

I now live in the United States, and amongst the differences from the otherwise-similar places I’ve lived before, Australia and the UK, is the adoption of domestic technologies here. The contrast between America and the UK seems greatest, with Australia – like in so many respects – sitting somewhere in between.

Americans living in Britain famously bemoan the lack of mixer taps on bathroom sinks, forcing one to choose between freezing and scalding, or mix the two in the basin. But it goes well beyond this. Based on my experiences so far, certain amenities seem to be more or less standard in medium-grade-and-above housing in America: dishwashers, garbage disposal units and air-conditioning being three particular examples. (more…)

Clustering of UK MPs

While I have the data, I thought it would be interesting to look at the clustering of UK politicians, based on whom they follow on Twitter. There is nothing too surprising here – clustering works. Click on the image to see it full size, where you can just read the names.


The method is multidimensional scaling, implemented by R’s cmdscale and dist functions, with defaults (Euclidean distance). Interpretation of the axes is probably futile, but if anybody can see obvious groupings other than party, let me know in the comments.