The data newsletter by @puntofisso.
Hello, new readers. Quite a few of you have subscribed in the past couple of weeks, so welcome – if you’ve joined for the data stuff, you’ll probably stay for the geeky links too.
So, let me start with a service announcement about the launch of a “Six questions with…”, a new section of Quantum of Sollazzo with a set of brief interviews with great people who work with data. I have some true stars lined up, starting today with the Wall Street Journal’s Soph Warnes.
If you speak Italian and want to hear yours truly blabbering in Italian about Open Data, I will join DataNinja on their live session this Wednesday, May 6th, alongside Giorgia Lodi and Maurizio Napolitano, two leaders of the Open Data movement in Italy. We’ll be comparing notes about the state of Open Data in Italy and the UK.
Join on Youtube at 6pm Rome time/5pm London time.
Trivia: I first met Giorgia when she taught me at university (in a galaxy far far away), while my first meeting with Maurizio involved a beer garden in Berlin (we where there for WhereCamp EU).
The UK Open Government Network is launching thematic groups in order to allow civil society and civil servants to meet and discuss specific policy themes for the UK’s next Open Government National Action Plan, to be published later this year.
“Over the next couple of months, Thematic Groups will bring together civil servants and civil society to discuss and co-create proposals around these different topics. Your participation will help shape government policy pledges. With stories about transparency at the highest levels of government dominating the news, this has never been more important.”
If you wish to take part, please fill in this form.
Links are below the interview.
My latest monthly notes are here.
‘till next week,
“Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google — known as the Big 4 — now dominate many facets of our lives. But they didn’t get there alone. They acquired hundreds of companies over decades to propel them to become some of the most powerful tech behemoths in the world.“
I almost decided not to link this one due to the lack of credits on the page, which makes it odd, but it turns out it’s by Google Trends and Polygraph (see here).
They created this dashboard that showcases in a calendar “the hobby that saw the greatest growth in search queries, compared to one year prior, for each day of the pandemic’s first year”.
The Economist’s “interactive guide to housing data across the world”.
If you’re curious how they collected and used the data for this article, their “Graphic Detail” newsletter has some of it.
“Geographic deepfakes could be used for misinformation and much more“.
Just as if we had nothing else to worry about…
“A mathematical explanation for why inflation rates feel too low.“
This is an entertaining and well articulated read by Tom Neill (the guy who rose to fame for the Suez boat website, but has quite a bit more to offer, if you follow his newsletter).
“If you live in Sicily and want to know if your city is currently red, i.e. under specific COVID-19 restrictions, all you need to do is read 197 pages of PDF files published by the regional government.“
Or maybe not. Good job by my friends at Open Data Sicilia. (via Paola Masuzzo)
“In this site you will find code examples of R graphs made with base R graphics, ggplot2 and other packages. Feel free to contribute suggesting new visualizations or fixing any bug via GitHub.“
Another good article from Evidently AI, discussing “how to explore the performance of classification models before production use.“
TwoTone is a very easy-to-use online (and open source) tool to turn data into sound.
We covered this topic previously: in many quarters, SQLite is being hailed as a more “enterprise” solution than we commonly thought, to the point where it’s being used as the backend of high performance web services (assuming you can do without a client-server approach, i.e. no replication etc).
Is it crazy? This article argues that no, it’s not: “I have run SQLite as a web application database with thousands concurrent writes every second, coming from different HTTP requests, without any delays or issues. This is because even on a very busy site, the hardware is extremely fast and fully capable of handling that.”.
Just for fun, but with so much data sonification, this brief tutorial might be useful.
Whether it’s putting containers on a map, or checking the true relative size of continents, scaling things right on a map is tricky, due to the different projections used. Scale-a-Tron is a tool by cartographic experts Stamen that allows you to draw a polygon on a map, and then carry it around by scaling it right. A blog post explains it all.
Good tutorial on the tidywikidatar R library by Giorgio Comai of OBC Transeuropa/EDJNet: “What does Wikidata know about members of the European Parliament? Let’s find out using our new R package tidywikidatar.“
“On September 13, 2020 Scuderia Ferrari, the most famed team in the history of Formula 1 and the only one to compete in each season since the sport was born in 1950, reached the milestone of its 1000th World Championship race.”
Andrea Giambelli of VisualEyed created this beautiful interactive timeline visualizing each of the races.
Interesting piece about energy data, which could just as well apply to a different context. Guy Lipman argues that data catalogues are doomed because they can’t meet all data needs, and suggests, as an alternative, the development of living platforms to enable shared documentation and enriched data. These are not without risks or issues, but it is interesting to see community building placed centre stage in a data context.
An interesting take on the data as a service vs data as a product models (my 2p: I’m never too sure things can work if you go 100% one way or another, without an iterative mindset).
This Twitter thread has been circulating, alleging that there is an intrinsic issue in the way what3words geocodes locations, as described in their patent. I only managed to follow it up to a point, but the geonerds among you might find it stimulating.
quantum of sollazzo is also supported by ProofRed’s excellent proofreading service. If you need high-quality copy editing or proofreading, head to http://proofred.co.uk. Oh, they also make really good explainer videos.