Data Is Plural

... is a weekly newsletter of useful/curious datasets.

2015.10.28 edition

Data-shaming the robocallers, the demographics of traffic stops, where commuter-adjusted daytime populations, US imports/exports, and pornography metadata.

Data-shaming the robocallers. If you can’t beat ‘em, post spreadsheets about ‘em. Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission started publishing a dataset of complaints against telemarketers and robocalls. The FCC says the file will be updated weekly. It’s already being put to use: A clever programmer has crammed all the offending numbers into a single phone “contact” so that you can block them all at once. [h/t Shale Craig]

The demographics of traffic stops. This weekend, the New York Times published a front-page article on “the disproportionate risk of driving while black.” Among other findings: “officers were more likely to conduct [searches] when the driver was black, even though they consistently found drugs, guns or other contraband more often if the driver was white.” The investigation drew on several statewide traffic-stop datasets that track the race and gender of stopped drivers. The “seven states with the most sweeping reporting requirements,” in order of how easy it seems (to me) to get detailed data: Connecticut, North Carolina, Missouri, Nebraska, Maryland, Illinois, and Rhode Island.

Where do Americans spend their days? Most population numbers tell you where people live. But legions of Americans commute for work across city, county, and state lines. The Census Bureau’s Commuter-Adjusted Daytime Population Data accounts for these daily migrations. Manhattan’s population (non-tourist) population doubles from 1.5 million to 3 million, by far the largest influx by raw numbers. But Lake Buena Vista, Fla., takes the percentage-growth prize. The city’s entire resident population could fit in two sedans, but its “daytime population” includes 33,000 workers — including a not-insubstantial number dressed as Mickey Mouse. [h/t Steven Romalewski]

Finally, free access to detailed U.S. import/export data. Prior to October 15th, the Census Bureau’s USA Trade Online tool cost $300/year. No longer. The newly-free dataset covers more than 17,000 commodities, including a category for “magic tricks, practical joke articles; parts and accessories.” [h/t Noah Veltman]

Porn. is on a mission: “to contribute to human sexuality understanding through a Big Data approach.” Last year, the site posted detailed metadata on 800,000 adult videos, including titles, descriptions, view counts, and tags. It powers Porngram, an only-kinda-safe-for-work charting tool.

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