Data Is Plural

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

2023.12.06 edition

Nuclear weapon systems, social media platform policies, EU court cases, the Fed’s “dot plots,” and 350,757 coin flips.

Nuclear weapon systems. The Council on Strategic Risks’s Nuclear Weapon Systems Project aims “to document every type of nuclear weapon system ever deployed” by China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US — the five “nuclear weapon states” per the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The project’s core dataset, launched last week, currently covers 250+ such systems. For each, it provides the system’s name, country, type (gravity bomb, torpedo, ICBM, etc.), military branches in charge of deployment, “mission” (tactical, strategic, or hybrid), years introduced and retired, replacement system, and more. Previously: Nuclear stockpiles (DIP 2022.11.02), nuclear explosions (DIP 2016.03.23), and uranium/plutonium facilities (DIP 2016.02.24).

Social media platform policies. The Platform Governance Archive “collects and curates policies of major social media platforms in a long-term perspective.” The initial version of the archive used the Wayback Machine retrospectively to collect policies published 2005–2021 by Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube. The new version, part of a re-launch this year, uses web-scraping to track 18 platforms’ policies daily. Related: The new version is a collaboration with the Open Terms Archive, an evolution of work by France’s Ambassador for Digital Affairs to track terms of service, featured in DIP 2021.01.20.

EU court cases. The IUROPA Project’s CJEU Database “is the most complete collection of research-ready data about the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and European Union (EU) law.” Developed from several official sources by Stein Arne Brekke et al., the database provides tables of all cases (45,000+), parties (85,000+), proceedings (47,000+), decisions (50,000+), citations (1,000,000+), judges (270+), and more from the court’s inception in 1952 through 2022. That first table, for instance, lists each case’s name, ID, sub-court, year, judgment status, appeal status, and additional details. [h/t Erik Gahner Larsen]

The Fed’s “dot plots.” Four times a year, the US Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee publishes its “Summary of Economic Projections” reports. Those reports contain a chart that’s come to be known as the Fed’s “dot plot,” which tallies the committee members’ forecasts of the year-end federal funds interest rate for this and subsequent years. Upon noticing “no simple, easy-to-access data file” of the chart’s information, journalist Ben Welsh wrote a scraper to create such a file, currently covering 2018–present. Previously: Federal Reserve communications collected by Agam Shah et al. (DIP 2023.08.09).

Many coin flips. “Many people have flipped coins but few have stopped to ponder the statistical and physical intricacies of the process,” write František Bartoš et al., introducing an experiment in which “a group of 48 people (i.e., all but three of the co-authors) tossed coins of 46 different currencies × denominations and obtained a total number of 350,757 coin flips.” The authors have published the raw results, images of each coin, and videos of the flips. [h/t Derek M. Jones]