Have you seen Swivel yet? It’s another site for graph and data junkies like me. You can upload data there and plot it (a handy tool for bloggers). I find the interface a bit of a struggle when creating a new graph, but I’ve managed OK with the graph below, showing homelessness as a fraction of US state population. This means we can look to see how Compare Stuff’s approach (using web search engine hit data) measures up against real-world data.
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Let’s do a nice simple time trend for bike vs. car…

Ignoring the sharp upturn for 2007 (this seems to happen quite often – I’m not yet exactly sure why…) bikes seem to be rising slightly faster. Note that you have to have the y-axis starting at zero if you want to compare gradients.
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Major events obviously have a big impact across the web. Here you can see the 2004 Asian tsunami making its mark:

What about all the hype around SARS and avian flu?
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It looks like South America still offers some of that low-budget charm:


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A long, long time ago when Compare Stuff was young I made a version which made it easy to do quantitative biomedical literature search analysis. I have now blown away the cobwebs, improved it a little (now you can compare 8 things) and will briefly demonstrate its genius…
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The Guardian is reporting an inquiry into low pay, long hours and poor conditions in clothing factories in India. I don’t spend a lot of time on the high street, but it is plainly obvious that prices have been dropping in the UK for many years (and quality too). Let’s see what the web says:

Well the cheap clothes phenomenon isn’t just my imagination, but it looks like interest in sweatshops and labour conditions has been on the decline for several years. No surprise that the greedy companies took advantage!

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Yes it’s true. Richard Dawkins’ one man crusade against all organised religions is actually getting somewhere…

There is not such a clear victory over the Prophet Mohammed, but Buddha is definitely taking a beating.