Data Is Plural

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

2019.01.09 edition

Youth drug use, sound effects, fiscal crises, dual citizenship policies, and places named in medieval Scandinavian literature.

The kids these days — and four decades ago. Monitoring the Future surveys approximately 50,000 eighth-, tenth-, and twelfth-grade students in the U.S. each year. The project, which is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has been running since 1975. Although best known for its detailed drug-use questions, the surveys also ask questions related to education, labor, sex, race, politics, happiness, and other topics. Public-use versions of the data are available through the National Addiction & HIV Data Archive Program (free registration required). [h/t Dan Kopf]

Sound effects. Last spring, the BBC published an archive of 16,000+ sound effects, licensed ”for personal, educational or research purposes.” Each audio file is accompanied by a description, categorization, and its length. For instance, the first sound effect on the archive’s page is a 194-second clip described as “two-stroke petrol engine driving small elevator, start, run, stop,” and categorized as “Engines: Petrol.” Not documented, but useful: You can download a CSV of the metadata. Highlight: The one-two punch of “several men snoring, hilariously” and “several men snoring, less hilariously.” [h/t Amy King]

Fiscal crises. Researchers at the International Monetary Fund have built a historical database of fiscal crises, defined as “periods of extreme fiscal distress, when governments have not been able to contain large fiscal imbalances leading to the adoption of extreme measures (e.g., debt default and monetization of the deficit).” The researchers, building off of previous work, have “expand[ed] the country coverage to 188 countries, over 1970-2015, more than double the size of the sample relative to many other studies,” and identified 436 distinct episodes of fiscal crisis. [h/t David Tercero Lucas]

Dual citizenship policies. If you decide to acquire a new citizenship, do you get to keep your previous one? Are you allowed to renounce it? The Maastricht Center for Citizenship, Migration and Development’s Global Expatriate Dual Citizenship Dataset tracks how 200 countries have, each year since 1960, treated this situation. The extensive documentation provides links to the relevant laws, and descriptions of how each country’s rules have changed. [h/t Sam Petulla]

From Spanskgrøn to Østerland. Norse World is an “online, open access searchable index and mapping of the foreign place names found in medieval East Norse texts.” Through the project’s interactive map, you can search and download the data.