Data Is Plural

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

2020.03.04 edition

Climate policies, political emails, 2.8 million Smithsonian images, London groceries, and bug splats.

Climate policies. The Climate Policy Database, a project of the NewClimate Institute, has collected data on more than 3,800 regulations, subsidies, and other policies related to climate change mitigation. The downloadable and browseable database, drawn from more than a dozen sources, includes policies from nearly every country in the world and lists the policies’ names, jurisdictions, years of enactment, general objectives, and more. [h/t Erik Gahner Larsen]

Political emails. Reporters at the The Markup, a newly launched newsroom that “investigates how powerful institutions are using technology to change our society,” subscribed to receive emails from more than 200 presidential candidates, advocacy organizations, and other political groups. Four months later, they had received more than 5,000 messages, which they used to examine Gmail’s treatment of political communications. On GitHub, they’ve published the emails, relevant code, and a cleaned-up dataset. Related: Last year, FiveThirtyEight signed up for emails from the Democratic presidential campaigns; by August, they had collected 830 messages, which they published and used to see who was talking most about Donald Trump.

Smithsonian imagery. “For the first time in its 174-year history, the Smithsonian has released 2.8 million high-resolution two- and three-dimensional images from across its collections onto an open access online platform for patrons to peruse and download free of charge,” the institution announced last week. The new platform includes “data and material from all 19 Smithsonian museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives and the National Zoo”; the records are accessible via an API, and the metadata is also available on GitHub. Related: KaoKore, a dataset of 5,552 face images cropped from Japanese artworks at several (non-Smithsonian) institutions. [h/t Erin Petenko + Corin Faife]

London grocery purchases. “We present the Tesco Grocery 1.0 dataset: a record of 420 M food items purchased by 1.6 M fidelity card owners who shopped at the 411 Tesco stores in Greater London over the course of the entire year of 2015, aggregated at the level of census areas to preserve anonymity,” researchers announced in a recent academic paper. For each area, the dataset contains “the number of transactions and nutritional properties […] including the average caloric intake and the composition of nutrients.” [h/t Luca Maria Aiello]

Bug splats. Danish zoologist Anders Pape Møller counted the number of insects killed on the windscreen of a single car after each of 1,375 journeys along the same stretch of road between 1997 and 2017. After accounting for time of day, weather, and other factors, Møller says his data suggests an 80% decline in flying insects during that time. Related: The Guardian on two bug-splat studies, including Møller’s. [h/t Laura Norén and Brad Stenger]