Monthly Archives: February 2009

Postcode fun

I downloaded the longitude and latitude of all the UK postcodes from Free Map Tools and imported them into Excel. Inspired by dy/dan’s excellent “What Can You Do With This?” segment I started playing around with the data.

When I first plotted the data they didn’t look like much:


But with the scale adjusted a picture starts to form:


The red marker in the “map” below shows the mean average of the postcodes.


Because postcodes have to cluster around centres of population the mean marker shows the UK’s approximate centre of population; the clustering is clearly visible around major cities such as London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Liverpool.

The clustering effect also explains why Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with population densities of  65, 141 and 125 people per square kilometre respectively, are much less well-defined than England which has an average density of 380 people per square kilometre [source].

For fun, I also added a line-of-best-fit and the median point. I’m not sure they really mean anything but, hey, I was on a roll.


John Updike (1932-2009)


The US writer John Updike died recently.

In 1960 he wrote a poem about the most fleeting of particles, the neutrino, that appeared in The New Yorker.

Neutrinos they are very small.
They have no charge and have no mass
And do not interact at all.
The earth is just a silly ball
To them, through which they simply pass,
Like dustmaids down a drafty hall
Or photons through a sheet of glass.
They snub the most exquisite gas,
Ignore the most substantial wall,
Cold-shoulder steel and sounding brass,
Insult the stallion in his stall,
And, scorning barriers of class,
Infiltrate you and me! Like tall
And painless guillotines, they fall
Down through our heads into the grass.
At night, they enter at Nepal
And pierce the lover and his lass
From underneath the bed—you call
It wonderful; I call it crass.