Data Is Plural

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

2021.10.06 edition

Reservoir levels, Stolpersteine, parallel texts, undersea internet cables, and a graph model of the human skeleton.

Reservoir levels. The US Bureau of Reclamation, a federal agency formed in 1902, is today “the nation’s largest wholesale water supplier, operating 338 reservoirs with a total storage capacity of 140 million acre-feet.” Its Reclamation Information Sharing Environment (RISE) launched publicly last year, providing data on reservoir levels, water quality, hydropower generation, habitat monitoring, and more. You can browse the data catalog, explore its time series — for instance daily water levels at Lake Mead, the country’s largest reservoir, going back to 1935 — and query its API. As seen in: “The Southwest’s most important river is drying up” (CNN).

Stolpersteine. German artist Gunter Demnig’s Stolpersteine are concrete-and-brass “stumbling stones,” each inscribed with the name of someone killed or persecuted by the Nazi regime, placed into pavement where the person last freely lived or worked. Since the mid-1990s, Demnig has installed more than 75,000 of the stones, often with the help of local groups. Stolpersteine coordinators in Berlin provide a map and downloadable list of 8,500+ installations in the city. Other resources include a searchable database of 6,000+ Stolpersteine in Hamburg and’s map of 10,000+ installations in the Netherlands and Belgium. [h/t Basile Simon + Jennifer Evans + Helmut Smith]

Parallel texts. The OPUS project gathers and converts texts that are freely available in multiple languages, providing various interfaces for querying and downloading side-by-side translations. The dozens of sources include “parallel corpora” — bodies of text whose translations have already been aligned with one another, typically sentence by sentence — such as the United Nations Parallel Corpus, as well as those OPUS has tried to align automatically with software. [h/t u:peerlessdeepak]

Undersea internet cables. TeleGeography’s Submarine Cable Map lets you search and browse nearly 500 active and planned undersea internet cables, the longest of which spans 39,000 kilometers and connects four continents. The map’s information, which can also be downloaded, indicates each cable’s length, landing points, completion year, owners, and suppliers. [h/t Soph Warnes]

The _____ bone’s connected to the _____ bone. Data scientist Clay Heaton’s graph model of the human skeleton links all 206 adult human bones to their anatomical neighbors. The dataset also maps each bone to its general region, such as “Left Foot” or “Right Ear.” [h/t Lynn Cherny]