Strength in Numbers

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✚ The Process 108 – Expected Value

Look only at uncertainty and it can feel overwhelming. Look at just averages and it's not enough information. So, smoosh them together. Read More

Google search trends dataset for Covid-19 symptoms

Google released a search trends dataset earlier this month. Using this dataset, Adam Pearce made an explorer to compare search volume over time: The COVID-19 Search Trends symptoms dataset shows aggregated, anonymized trends in Google searches for more than 400 health symptoms, signs, and conditions, such as cough, fever and difficulty breathing. The...

Trump’s criminal justice ad spending on Facebook

The Marshall Project contrasted ad spending on Facebook by Trump’s campaign against Joe Biden’s: Our analysis found that of the $82 million Trump’s reelection campaign has spent on Facebook ads this year, $6.6 million paid for ads about crime and policing—a top focus of his Facebook campaign. Almost all of it came since George Floyd was killed by police...

Census undercount

For NYT Opinion, Gus Wezerek and Andrew Whitby on what might happen if the count ends on September 30: Times Opinion predicted how many people would remain uncounted on Sept. 30, based on each state’s current response rate. Our analysis shows that those undercounts will cheat some states — mostly Republican — out of federal funding and one state out...

Shift of Covid-19 deaths to medium and small cities

When this all started, Covid-19 was impacting large cities at a much higher rate than everywhere else. This straightforward chart from NPR shows how the share of deaths in small and medium cities has made its way up to over half of all weekly Covid-19 deaths. Tags: cities, coronavirus, NPR

Blacklight, a tool to see how the websites you visit are tracking you

Companies are tracking what you do online. You know this. But it can be a challenge to know the extent, because the methods are hidden on purpose. So The Markup built Blacklight: To investigate the pervasiveness of online tracking, The Markup spent 18 months building a one-of-a-kind free public tool that can be used to inspect websites for potential...

Randomization to preserve anonymity

Adam Pearce and Ellen Jiang for Google’s PAIR, explain how granular data can lead to easy identification of individuals and how randomization can help: Aggregate statistics about private information are valuable, but can be risky to collect. We want researchers to be able to study things like the connection between demographics and health outcomes...

Map of climate threats where you live

For NYT Opinion, Stuart A. Thompson and Yaryna Serkez mapped the most predominant “climate threat” in each county: This picture of climate threats uses data from Four Twenty Seven, a company that assesses climate risk for financial markets. The index measures future risks based on climate models and historical data. We selected the highest risk for...

Smoke from the U.S. West Coast travels east and overseas

Smoke from the wildfires made its way to the other side of the country and over the ocean. Using data from NOAA, Reuters animated the smoke clouds over time: With climate change expected to exacerbate fires in the future, by worsening droughts and warming surface ocean temperatures, wildfire research is becoming especially important. Over the last...

Election night might take weeks

For The Washington Post, Ashlyn Still and Kevin Schaul charted how long it took for primary ballots to be counted in each state. The times might give a hint of what we’re in for on election night: Before the pandemic struck, mail-in states like California were already counting slowly. Then the coronavirus forced dozens of states to quickly expand absentee...

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