Data Is Plural

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

2020.09.30 edition

State bills, centuries of federal debt, the Global Wind Atlas, the Social Connectedness Index, and prime numbers.

State bills. For years, Open States has allowed you to “track bills, review upcoming legislation, and see how your local representatives are voting in your state.” The volunteer-driven project provides bulk downloads of nearly all its data, plus an API. More recently, it has started tracking coronavirus-related legislation, with data on more than 3,300 bills across the country. [h/t Amy Cesal]

Centuries of federal debt. The US Treasury’s “Debt to the Penny” dataset reports the total amount of outstanding public debt issued by the federal government — updated daily and going back to April 1, 1993. As of Monday, that number was $26,811,409,726,497.33. Another of the Treasury’s datasets provides annual debt figures going back to 1789. [h/t Sam Hunley]

Wind. The Global Wind Atlas aims “to help policymakers, planners, and investors identify high-wind areas for wind power generation virtually anywhere in the world.” The internationally-funded project provides a range of global and country-specific datasets, including wind speeds at various heights, as well as a description of its methodology and an FAQ. [h/t Anton Rühling]

Cross-border friendliness. The Social Connectedness Index, a collaboration between Facebook and academic researchers, quantifies “the intensity of connectedness between locations” by measuring the frequency of Facebook-friendships linking their residents. The index represents this measurement on a scale from 1 to 1,000,000,000; the publicly available datasets provide it for every pair of countries, every pair of US counties, every county-country pair, and between subnational regions around the world. Related: An illustrative Twitter thread demonstrating the data. [h/t Johannes Stroebel]

Prime numbers. Mathematician Chris K. Caldwell maintains a searchable, downloadable database of the largest prime numbers known to humankind — plus who discovered them, when, and how. Related: Smaller primes.