Why the startup space race is good for you

January 28, 2015

Space might soon become crowded, and that could be good news for you.

This week Boeing and Lockheed Martin reported strong earnings for the fourth quarter of 2014 on a combination of strong civilian and military airplane orders. As these Reuters interactive graphics show, the quarter was up and down for the country’s five largest aerospace companies, but each ended in the black, led by Northrop Grumman at 11.9 percent and followed by General Dynamics at 8.3 percent. Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush said last week that he does not expect the Department of Defense to assent to consolidation among the companies, but owing to the disruptive nature of startups in the industry, it is competition, not consolidation, that traditional aerospace firms should watch.

Americans tap into the case for craft beer

January 27, 2015

American tastes really do seem to be changing. Yesterday’s Data Dive made the case that U.S. palates are evolving from traditional fast food restaurants like McDonald’s to “fast casual” franchises like Chipotle and Starbucks. A similar case can be made for the country’s increasingly refined taste in sudsy booze.

How American fast food tastes are changing

January 26, 2015

Are America’s fast food tastes becoming more refined?

Even as the U.S. confronts an obesity epidemic, there are signs that Americans’ tastes in fast food are becoming more healthier and more selective. While “fast casual” restaurants like Starbucks and Chipotle flourish, McDonald’s and other traditional fast food chains struggle to remain fresh in both the minds of their customers and their menus.

Weekend links for wanderlusters, couch surfers, cooks and tinfoil hatters

January 23, 2015

Once again, Data Dive has scoured the Web for weekend links of amusing interest. Enjoy the best of the week that was:

Of capital gains, taxes and income inequality

January 23, 2015

On Monday the anti-poverty charity Oxfam reported that the top 80 of the most wealthy people in the world have the same worth as the poorest 3.5 billion, and predicted that by 2016 the richest one percent would own more than half the world’s wealth. Data from Forbes show that 35 of those top 80 are American, and it is safe to say that they did not get there by working overtime at their respective job sites.

Mortgage rates drop as good news continues

January 22, 2015

The current state of the world economy finds Americans increasingly on the desirable side of the haves and have-nots.

Tallying Boko Haram’s dreadful toll

January 21, 2015

In last night’s State of the Union address, President Obama spoke out strongly against terrorist attacks in Pakistan and Paris and lauded America’s part in air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Nigeria and the ruthless militants of Boko Haram, though, earned no mention in the official text version of his speech. As this Reuters graphic shows, in the last four years, Boko Haram’s steady and increasingly bloody attacks have left astounding carnage in their wake. The Islamist group is said to control roughly 11,500 square miles of territory—equal to the size of Belgium—in northeast Nigeria, and in that area 10,000 people died as the result of Boko Haram-related violence in the last year alone, according to figures from the Council on Foreign Relations.

The death penalty’s uneven application

January 20, 2015

This week Nigeria joined Brazil and the Netherlands in recalling their Jakarta ambassadors in response to the executions of their citizens for drug trafficking on January 11. One Indonesian and foreign nationals from Malawi and Vietnam were killed the same day in what Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders described as “an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.” Meanwhile, in the U.S., jury selection began this month in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the accused Boston Marathon bomber, in the highest-profile American death penalty trial in years.  

Mapping goats, Boehner’s Taylor Swift GIFs, visualizing jazz, and more

January 16, 2015

It’s the weekend, which for most means rest and relaxation. In that spirit, here are some of the week’s lighter data dives from across the Web.

Why people pay banks to hold their money

January 16, 2015

Switzerland’s sudden removal of the country’s currency cap yesterday sent a tremor through the world financial system and brought some foreign exchange vendors to their knees. The ramifications of the move are still shaking out, but one aspect of it brings further attention to the perplexing concept of negative interest rates.