Data Is Plural

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

2018.07.18 edition

SCOTUS extracurriculars, European migration deaths, building footprints, makeup shades, and FOIA’ed FBI files.

SCOTUS extracurriculars. Since July 2014, has been tracking the U.S. Supreme Court justices’ public events — “whether the Supreme Court is in session or on summer recess, the justices keep busy with writers’ conferences, state bar luncheons, award ceremonies, and more.” The map’s database now contains more than 700 entries, and even includes events attended by the retired justices. Bonus: The creators of ScotusMap recently launched, a website (with downloadable data) that “tracks the public statements made by United States senators about how they plan to vote on the Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, and tallies them into a likely vote count.” [h/t Jay Pinho + Victoria Kwan]

34,361 European migration deaths. The Amsterdam-based activist group UNITED for Intercultural Action has, since the early 1990s, been collecting information about the deaths of Europe’s refugee-seekers. The organization’s volunteers “update the data annually, spending six months at a time verifying reports, categorising deaths and entering them into the database,” according to The Guardian’s story about the endeavor and its findings. “When the project began, they received physical clippings from a network of groups around Europe. Now, the data is collected from email submissions and Google Alerts in a number of languages.” The story features a PDF-listing of the deaths, including the date the migrants were found dead, names and countries of origin (where known), and the causes of death. The Italian civic-data organization OnData has converted the PDF to a spreadsheet. [h/t Giuseppe Sollazzo]

Building footprints. Microsoft’s Bing Maps team has published an open dataset describing the outlines of nearly 125 million buildings in the United States. To build the dataset, the team trained neural networks to detect buildings’ footprints in satellite images.

Makeup shades. In a recent essay at The Pudding, Jason Li, Amber Thomas, and Divya Manian explored the shades of foundation offered by best-selling makeup brands in the U.S., Nigeria, India, and Japan. They also published the underlying data — color values for more than 600 shades from 36 different brands.

FOIA’ed FBI files. “When somebody’s obituary appears in the New York Times, FOIA The Dead sends an automated request to the FBI for their (newly-available) records.” So far, the project has obtained and published FBI’s files on 54 people. The site’s data includes each person’s name, a short description, a link to the relevant obituary, a link to the received records, and the number of pages obtained. [h/t Noah Veltman]