Data Is Plural

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

2023.06.07 edition

Pesticide use, commercial space launches, firearm suicide rates, Harvard’s library holdings, and ransomware negotiations.

Pesticide use. As part of its National Water-Quality Assessment Project, the US Geological Survey publishes maps and datasets that estimate local pesticide usage, based on “proprietary surveys of farm operations.” The datasets provide high/low estimates (measured in kilograms) by county, chemical, and year, as well as by crop group for each state. The most recent “preliminary” figures refer to 2019, with the next release not scheduled until “late 2024.” Read more: “Move to change how U.S. tracks pesticide use sparks protest,” an article by Virginia Gewin in Science, reporting on the pushback against USGS’s decision “to reduce the number of chemicals it tracks and to release updates less frequently.” [h/t Walt Hickey]

Commercial space launches. The Federal Aviation Administration regulates the United States’ commercial space transportation industry. The agency publishes HTML tables listing operator licenses, permits for experimental operations, licensed launches, and more. The 552 launches listed go back to 1989; each row indicates the date, payload, vehicle name, company, and site’s state (or “Pacific Ocean”). Related: The FAA’s map and descriptions of the country’s commercial spaceports. [h/t Chartr]

Firearm suicide rates. A recent paper (published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine) and dataset by Megan Kang and Elizabeth Rasich “extends an existing proxy for household gun ownership rates — the rate of firearm suicide divided by suicide (FSS) — from 1949 to 2020, including new coverage for the 1949 to 1972 period.” For each state and year, the dataset provides the count and population-adjusted rate of suicides, firearm suicides, homicides, and firearm homicides, among other figures. The first 30 years of firearm suicide/homicide counts had to be transcribed from scanned National Center for Health Statistics reports; later figures come from the CDC’s WONDER and WISQARS systems.

Harvard’s library holdings. Harvard Library, “the oldest library system in the United States and the world’s largest academic library,” provides several ways to access detailed metadata about its holdings, including its LibraryCloud API and bulk downloads. The millions of items described include not only books, but also “journals, scores, databases, sound recordings, films and video, images, maps,” and more. Previously: Metadata from the Library of Congress (DIP 2017.05.24).

Ransomware negotiations. Negotiations between ransomware victims and their attackers “are usually not shared widely, limiting the understanding of the process,” writes journalist Valéry Marchive, whose repository of chat transcripts “aims at changing that, in a respectful manner for the victims of cyberattacks: chats are anonymized as long as the victim hasn’t been publicly disclosed, either by the attackers or in the media.” [h/t Duncan Geere]