The Crunch: more trees please, and who is the biggest diva?

<span>The week in The Crunch: data analysis of everything from how to sing the national anthem to the UK election.</span><span>Composite: Getty images/ZUMA Press Wire/REX/Shutterstock</span>
The week in The Crunch: data analysis of everything from how to sing the national anthem to the UK election.Composite: Getty images/ZUMA Press Wire/REX/Shutterstock

Welcome to the eighth edition of The Crunch!

In this week’s newsletter we have extreme heat in Australia, beautiful maps of reforestation in the United States, analysis of celebrities singing the US national anthem, how the polls are tracking in the UK and more.

But first, the decline of bulk-billing clinics …

In Australia, patients who are bulk billed do not pay anything for their consultation with a doctor. Doctors bill the government directly through Medicare instead.

Today we have published an analysis of a government health services directory that shows Australia has lost at least 410 GP clinics that fully bulk bill. There has been an increase in the number of clinics that described their billing as “fees apply”.

Guardian Australia’s analysis also shows the change in billing practices aggregated to electorates to give a general overview of where dedicated bulk-billing services are most scarce.

Four charts from the week


1. Is it hot right now? Yes! Well ...

Western Australia claimed the top 15 hottest places in the world over a 24-hour stretch on Monday. Much of Australia has been hit by bouts of extreme weather in recent months. Is it hot right now? is one of our favourite resources to put these events in context – using Bureau of Meteorology data to show you where today’s temperatures sit in both the recent past and the historical distribution.


2. Yet more evidence that trees are good, actually. More trees please

Like the rest of the world, the US as a whole has been warming since the Industrial Revolution. But temperatures in parts of the south-east have remained flat or even cooled – a “warming hole” that has puzzled scientists. Our Guardian colleagues in America have produced these beautiful maps to illustrate a new study that finds reforestation since the 1920s at least partially explains what’s going on.


3. Who is the biggest diva?

We’re big fans of The Pudding and have featured their visual essays a few times in this newsletter. This week its a beautiful deep dive on celebrities singing the US national anthem. Singing a national anthem before a sporting event is ripe for artistic interpretation. The Pudding have created a Diva Score so you can see (and hear) some of the differences in how artists approached it.


4. Tracking the UK election

More than 60 countries are expected to hold an election this year – representing almost half the world’s population. The UK general election needs to be held before January next year and our Guardian colleagues have built a tracker to pull together polls from all the major polling companies as the campaign progresses.

Spotlight on the Gaza-Israel war

  • Our colleagues at the Guardian UK visualised how Rafah’s population has quintupled as Gazans were forced to evacuate the north. The city is now seeing increased destruction from Israeli bombing

  • Mona Chalabi compares the population density of Rafah to other cities that have been bombed

  • Israeli newspaper Haaretz has mapped the extent of the destruction in Gaza by month since the start of the war

  • The war is one of the most deadly conflicts in decades for journalists. More journalists have been killed – overwhelmingly Palestinian – in the past four months than in total, worldwide, in 2022. The Washington Post has the numbers and stories

Off the Charts

We really wanted to share this quilting data project but couldn’t get permission for the image by our deadline.

Instead, please enjoy this XKCD comic on the relationship between tastiness and diameter:

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