Eurovision Coin Contest

I love it when unintended consequences come together with surprising findings. After the new Euro coins were introduced in 2002, social scientists were able to see some interesting trends based on their dispersion throughout the Euro zone: The Euro invasion of France. Since all the Euro coins are valid in the whole zone but still show the country where it was minted, they were able to find out how money travels by asking people if they could look at their pocket change. Here is a map showing the difference between June and September 2002 (pardon my French):

The dispersion of German, Belgian and Spanish Euro coins in France

The dispersion of German, Belgian and Spanish Euro coins in France

Interestingly, this can also tell us something about how diseases spread through a population. Presumably this is because money is rather dirty from being in contact with so many hands. There is also a site where you can track the history of individual notes: The internet is strange[1]. Speaking of diseases, another example of how data is used for other than its original purposes is how spikes in google searches on flu information correlates with the spread of the flu itself.

[1] The prosecution would like to present the following evidence:
– Hackers hack road signs to warn about zombies and raptor attacks (which, by the way, is getting old really fast).
– Someone made a composite video of every single swear word used in every single episode of every single season of Sopranos. It runs for half an hour, and anyone who claims that swearing makes the language more varied will be drowned by the gross over-representation of “Fuck” here (I did not watch the entire thing, though). Also, who takes the time to do this? The prosecution rests its case.


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