Data Is Plural

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

2016.06.22 edition

Nonprofits, 6,000 years of urbanization, bull vs. man, new homes, and the Hum.

Nonprofit IRS filings — at long last. Last week, the Internal Revenue Service released a huge dataset of nonprofits’ annual Form 990 filings, which provide details on program expenses, salaries, and more. More than 60% of Form 990s are filed digitally, according to the IRS. Previously, those forms were only available as images; now the IRS is publishing them as analysis-friendly XML files. (You can also download the data in bulk from the Internet Archive, thanks to Carl Malamud, the public domain advocate who led the fight for 990s-as-XML.) One early observer noted that the some of the data was misformatted, and has provided instructions for fixing it. [h/t Andrew Sullivan + Kendall Taggart]

6,000 years of urbanization. Earlier this month, researchers published “the first spatially explicit dataset of urban settlements from 3700 BC to AD 2000,” along with a detailed methodology. The dataset digitizes and geocodes population numbers originally tabulated by historian Tertius Chandler (Four Thousand Years of Urban Growth) and political scientist George Modelski (World Cities: -3,000 to 2,000). Though “far from comprehensive,” the authors say that the dataset a “first step towards understanding the geographic distribution of urban populations throughout history.” Related:Watch 6,000 years of urbanization taking over the world.”

Bull vs. man. Next month, thousands of adrenaline junkies will gather in Pamplona for the city’s annual Running of the Bulls. The San Fermin festival, which organizes the spectacle, publishes injury data on its website. (Here’s a shortcut to display every year of data, instead of one year at a time.) Last year, the bulls gored 10 runners and injured another 27. Related:Your Chances Of Being Gored By A Bull In Pamplona Are Getting Higher.”

2BR with vinyl siding, sweet 2BR with vinyl siding. The U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Characteristics of New Housing culls data on features such as square footage, wall material, number of bedrooms, and number of fireplaces. (Air conditioning was present in 93% of new single-family homes built in 2015, up from 49% in 1973.) Related:Houses Keep Getting Bigger, Even as Families Get Smaller.” [h/t Lindsey Cook]

The Hum.Most people find this website because they are searching for the source of an unusual low frequency sound.” The World Hum Database currently includes more than 10,000 reader-submitted reports, including a recent submissions that describe the noise as sounding “like a fridge,” “like a train in the distance,” and “like a cicada that never shuts up.” [h/t Susie Cambria]