The Story of British Nuclear Testing in South Australia

British nuclear testing began in Australia in 1952, with tests carried out on the near shore island of Montebello in Western Australia and at the remote Emu Fields site in South Australia in this year. In 1956 operations in South Australia were moved to the more accessible Maralinga site, located approximately 800Km northwest of Adelaide. The 3300 square kilometers of land used for testing, originally belonged to Maralinga Tjarutja a tribe of Indigenous Australians, who were removed from their homeland when testing began. Between 1956 and 1963 a number of nuclear tests were conducted at Maralinga. Operation “Buffalo” tested four fission bombs, one device was detonated from the ground, two were detonated from towers and one was dropped by a Royal Air Force plane, from an altitude of 30, 000ft. Subsequently, a further three nuclear tests, two from towers and one from suspended balloons were carried out as part of “operation Antler”. The yield of explosions in both operations is estimated to have ranged from 1 to 26 kilotonnes.The maps below show the scale of the environmental impact which nuclear testing had on Maralinga. Large (~400m X 400m) tracts of land, are now for safety reasons, covered by concrete plinths.

Oz Nukes1

The social legacy of British nuclear testing at Maralinga is a sad one. Investigations found that both servicemen involved in British operations and local aboriginal people had suffered from illnesses related to poisoning in the aftermath of nuclear tests. Land title of this area was not returned to the Maralinga Tjarutja peoples until the Maralinga Land act of 1984. The McClelland Royal Commission, was also established in 1984 to further investigate this issue. Nuclear contamination at Maralinga was observed in several locations. In 1994 the Maralinga Tjarutja received $13.5 million in compensation for the negative effects of nuclear fallout. Today local aboriginal communities still describe their homeland as “diseased” and many consider the Maralinga nuclear tests to be one of the darkest chapters in British-Australian history.

Copyright: Eoin Scollard

What search engine data tells us about global priorities

Today, we use the internet for so many things- our work, our pleasure and our interests. With the world wide web’s many utilities, data collated by Google offers powerful insights into what the internet is most used for. Here (where data is available), I analyse the most commonly searched for “how to” questions, googled in 2015. This map was a big one, so I have split it into smaller global regions. Some interesting and downright hilarious trends emerge.

The Americas

It seems electorate of Canada was conscientious in 2015, with “how to vote” being the most popular question to be asked of the search engine. In contrast, google users in the United States were simply baffled by the new snapchat. Brilliantly Mexicans were most concerned with WIFI theft, urgently needing to know “how to change the password on my modem”. Moving into Latin America, countries posed more practical questions of google, Panama wondering “how to do embroidery”, Venezuela, “how to do a hair braid” and Brazil wondering “how to make elastic bracelets”. Culinary questions were at the fingertips of Uruguayan and Chilean google users, with these countries wondering “how to make a lasagne” and “how to make pancakes” respectively.  Meanwhile, google users in Puerto Rico spent 2015 wondering “how to improvise” in their droves (in what context- who knows?).

Americas

Africa

Unfortunately, google provides very little data as regards the questions most often asked of their search bar in African countries. What little there is, however, is gold. In South Africa, the major question of 2015 was “how to cast” (in a fishing context I presume). For Kenya, google provides not one- but three- lists of the most popular “how to” questions , “how to date a girl”, “how to use a condom” and “how to make a simple cake” coming out on top. In Uganda, “how to code variables on Amos?” takes the number one spot (Amos is  a software for social research). And brilliantly (but creepily), “how to join the Illuminati” took second place in this country.

Africa

Europe

Google provides data for many European countries. The new snapchat seems to have baffled many nations, with Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway all turning to their search engine to figure it out. The Portuguese and the Spaniards asked more philosophical questions of google, the most commonly asked question in both nations being- “how to by happy?” (awhh).  The predictably tech-literate Germans were obviously concerned about their illegal streams wondering “what is my IP address” in 2015. The Polish, on the other hand, are obviously risky drivers, most often wondering “how to know my penalty points”. In Greece, fretting girlfriends topped google charts with “how to make him stay” taking top spot. While women in Finland turned to google for advice on “how to conceive” (hang on I’ll draw a picture). Fantastically in the midst of all this, the Italians concerned themselves with an obscure culinary question – “how to pickle olives”. There was no data for France (typical) and the Swiss wondered “How to make their sideview bigger?”. The Slovaks used google in a more opportunistic way, wondering “how to invest?”, while in the U.K., “how to lose belly fat?” was the top question. Oddly the burning question on the mind of the Swedes was “How tall is Jenny Stormstedt- a Swedish T.V. presenter.

Europe

Russia

While google did not provide a top ten list of “how to” questions for Russia, the top question beginning with “why” was “why can’t you take pictures of the sleeping?” (ULTRA creepy #nothelpingtheimage).

Russia

 

Data is absent from the Middle East, the remainder of Google’s data for 2015 comes from Australasia. Filipinos likely spent too many hours in front of a computer terminal in 2015 as the most googled question in this country was “how to cure sore eyes?”. Indonesian google users, by comparison, are in need of some solid “six pack shortcuts” as they want to get sculpted without going to the gym. Kiwi’s, on the other hand, just need to know “how to make pancakes?”. Meanwhile, “how to tie a tie” was the most commonly asked question in Australia (awh bless!).

Aus

To browse the top ten “how to” and other interesting google charts, click on the link below.

https://www.google.com/trends/topcharts/

Copyright to all text and graphics: Eoin Scollard

4 Maps that say something about Today’s world.

 

  1. North Korea’s Nuclear Prowess is a drop in the ocean.

On the 6th of January this year, North Korea tested an underground nuclear device, with  an estimated yield equivalent to 10 kilotons of TNT. North Korea’s recent interest in nuclear testing  has put global security agencies on high alert and, at times, sent international media into a frenzy. How does North Korea’s nuclear testing programme compare, however, to other nuclear nations?Nuclear

The United States and Russia both host in excess of  6000 nuclear devices. While in the U.K, France and China up to 300 nukes are thought to have been developed. In addition, the magnitude of the devices tested thus far in North Korea (<10 kilotons) have paled in comparison to other nuclear nations. For example, in Soviet Union times, Russia detonated “Tsar Bomba”,  a nuclear device with an estimated yield equivalent to 50,000 kilotons of TNT. By comparison to other nuclear players, North Korea’s nuclear prowess is the equivalent of a water gun at Mexican shootout. While North Korea’s nuclear agenda is potentially a global threat, many academics suggest that the “assured destruction” of North Korea in the event of a nuclear exchange, is sufficient for the country’s nuclear programme to remain as a hollow demonstration of political strength.

  1. Money does actually = Happiness (ish).

In recent decades, surveys assessing peoples’ life satisfaction have gained traction as benchmarks with which to inform public policy. Such surveys, asking participants to rate their life satisfaction on a scale 1 to 10, have been conducted in 156 countries. Mapping the findings of this research, some interesting geographical trends emerge:Happiness Rating their life satisfaction between 6 and 7.5, the happiest nations (purple), tend also to be wealthier. For example, look at North America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Even within Europe, there appear to be happiness divides as nations with a lower GDP, such as Portugal, Poland and Belarus also report a lower life satisfaction by comparison to wealthier nations in central Europe. Interestingly, in the Middle East and in South East Asia, wealthier countries such as Singapore and Saudi Arabia also report comparatively high life satisfaction.

Conversely, countries which are among the poorest in the world, such as those in Central Africa, appear to be home to the world’s most dissatisfied peoples. Satisfaction ratings, in these nations, are typically under 4.

However, the relationship between greater wealth and greater life satisfaction is not necessarily a causative one. The World Happiness Report, published this year, presents seven factors which influence a nation’s life satisfaction including GDP, life expectancy, public trust and the freedom of people to make life choices. High satisfaction ratings reported in Latin America, despite countries’ comparatively weak economic standing, shows that money isn’t everything.

However, I would argue that ultimately a higher GDP, is a prerequisite for many of the other factors which are important to a population’s happiness.

3. The populations of China and India are HUGE by comparison to the rest of the World.

Here I map the proportionate population size of countries. Notice anything?POP

The population size of nations across the globe pales in comparison to the population size of both China and India. As of 2013, the population of China stood at nearly 1.4 billion, while in the same year, the population of the India reached 1.25 billion, 4 times that of the world’s third most populous country, the United States.

In fact, the ten most populous countries in the world now account for 55% of the global population. A mere 45% contributed by the remaining 245 .

The uneven geographic distribution of this population boom will be important both in terms of strain on global resources and changing population demographics in the near future.

  1. You are never too far away from a Big Mac.

The iconic “M”, has stood as an icon for the fast food giant McDonalds for over five

decades. Today, McDonalds’ restaurant has established itself in 119 nations and you never are truly too far away from a Big Mac.

For some, the growth of the fast-food giant is the inevitable result of globalisa-Maccation, or the development of a more homogenous world culture. Nonetheless, however, this commercial superpower has had failed ventures and experienced its share of controversy. McDonalds Jamaica closed its doors in 2005, due to declining sales. With the collapse of the Icelandic Krona in 2009, the cost of importing foreign foodstuffs became too great for McDonalds Iceland to remain commercially viable.  The construction of a McDonald’s in Bermuda, begun in 1999, was later abandoned after the passing of a bill banning chain franchises. In Ecuador, the “McDonalds” name, but not logo, is apparently used as a sales ploy to sell burgers from local restaurants;  an official McDonalds outlet, however, has not (yet) opened in this country.

Like it or loathe it, McDonalds continues to fill in the map, with the outlet soon to open in both Tunisia and Nigeria.

The copyright owner of maps and text is Eoin Scollard.

 

Putting Terrorism into Perspective​: The Geography of Extreme Acts.

The five simultaneous attacks carried out in the heart of Paris on November 13th  last year left 130 dead and the western world in shock, that it could be dealt such tragic blows.

A little over four months later, tragedy struck a European capital once again, as a suicide bomber detonated himself in the departure lounge of Brussels airport. Less than an hour later a second explosion occurred in the city centre, at the Malbeek underground station, not far from EU headquarters. In total 30 people were killed in the Brussels attack and a further 230 were injured. Again an air of disbelief fell over western communities. Come mid- July 2016 and we were again coming to terms with the horrors which  unfolded in Nice. 84 dead, horrendously, as a truck laden with explosives, was ploughed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day. Now, horrifically, in recent weeks, we must come to terms with the lives lost following another wave of terrorist attacks across Germany and France.

These monstrous acts have left European societies on edge. At times like these,  I feel as though emotionally charged misinformation can gain traction causing dangerous intergroup (and international) rifts.  Here I question, how the recent string of attacks in Europe compare with the prevalence of such events around the globe?

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), associated with the University of Maryland, codes acts of terror and builds a Global Terrorism Index (GTI) on a scale of 1 to 1o. The GTI ranks the prevalence of terrorism based on the combined number of terrorist attacks, fatalities, injuries and damage to property, occurring in a country in a given year. Such an index gives us a more objective look at the global face of terrorism.

Below the most recent report (2013 to 14), ranking the prevalence of terrorism in countries, is mapped.

Terrorism Map.jpg

While terrorism at some level has been an issue in Europe. Many of the countries of Central Africa endured a much higher rate of terrorism, ranking above seven on the GTI. A similarly high prevalence of terrorism was experienced in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Columbia. Syria and Iraq are the countries which are worst affected by terrorism in 2013-14,  ranking 9.58 and 10 on the GTI respectively. Although the pain of the recent tragedy inflicted upon Europe is raw, in a global context, it is apparent that today, Europe is likely to be one of the continents least affected by terrorism.

The purpose of this article, however, certainly isn’t to belittle the recent tragedies which have befallen Europe, but to remind us that we are not in this fight alone. The same ISIS militants targeting Brussels, Paris, and Nice, for example, are responsible for the destruction of Aleppo in Syria. At times like these, it is of the utmost importance that we are clear about  who we are fighting. We are not fighting those of a certain nationality, skin colour or religion- we are fighting terror-both as a foreign threat and as an issue of domestic consciousness. Muslim, Middle Eastern or European, we have all suffered.In these difficult times, we, as a global community, need to focus on our shared values and goal of peace and security.