Data Is Plural

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

2023.11.29 edition

Political violence and protests, seafloor depths, payment choices, legal cannabis sales, and romance book covers.

Political violence and protests. The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project “collects real-time data on the locations, dates, actors, fatalities, and types of all reported political violence and protest events around the world.” First featured in DIP six years ago, ACLED has since expanded substantially. Most notably, its datasets are no longer limited to Africa and Asia; they now cover all countries and territories. The project has updated its event types — battles, “explosions/remote violence,” violence against civilians, riots, protests, and “strategic developments” — and added sub-categories. It has also developed topical subsets, such political violence targeting women and violence against local officials and administrators.

Seafloor depths. The International Hydrographic Organization’s Data Centre for Digital Bathymetry, established in 1990, hosts dozens of terabytes of “oceanic depth soundings acquired with multibeam and singlebeam sonars by hydrographic, oceanographic and industry vessels during surveys or while on passage.” It also provides access to depth data crowdsourced from mariners, who agree to attach logging devices to their ships’ echosounders. Read more: “Can a map of the ocean floor be crowdsourced?” by ocean journalist Laura Trethewey for the BBC. Previously: The Arctic seafloor (DIP 2020.07.22) from the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans, another IHO project. [h/t Walt Hickey]

How we pay. The Survey and Diary of Consumer Payment Choice, run annually by a collaboration of Federal Reserve Banks, “aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the payment behavior of US consumers.” The survey component inquires about demographics, habits, and preferences, including respondents’ use of different payment methods (cash, check, credit card, debit card, mobile payments, et cetera). The diary component asks participants to record their account balances and every transaction they made during a three-day period. The most recent iteration features responses from 4,700+ people in October 2022; the data downloads include summary tables and anonymized microdata. [h/t Chartr]

Legal cannabis sales. Colorado’s Department of Revenue publishes a range of data about the state’s legal marijuana industry, including spreadsheets of monthly sales totals and taxes collected by county and medical/retail status. Other states that have legalized recreational marijuana and publish downloadable, machine-readable sales data include California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. Those with data in PDFs include Arizona, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. [h/t Cody Winchester]

Romance book covers. “What does a happily ever after look like?” asks Alice Liang, whose visual essay in The Pudding examines the covers of 1,400+ books featured in Publishers Weekly’s announcements for the genre. Liang’s spreadsheet provides each book’s title, author, publisher, publication date, announcement year/season, ISBN, cover image, and several assessments of the cover: whether its style is photorealistic or illustrated, whether it features someone partially undressed, and whether it depicts at least one person of color.