The data newsletter by @puntofisso.
Hello, regular readers and welcome new ones :) This is Quantum of Sollazzo, the newsletter about all things data. I am Giuseppe Sollazzo, or @puntofisso. I’ve been sending this newsletter since 2012 to be a summary of all the articles with or about data that captured my attention over the previous week. The newsletter is and will always (well, for as long as I can keep going!) be free, but you’re welcome to become a friend via the links below.
I write this issue as I start preparing for New Year’s Eve. The best part of it, is that I’ll spend it having dinner with a few friends at my neighbours’ flat. It’s great to have local friends :) Overall, it’s been a quiet week. I visited family in Italy, saw friends, had way too much food; I spent 24h in Naples, a city I had never seen, with Daniele Guido Gessa, a journalist friend who introduced me to all the best sights… and had way too much food (and coffee, OH the coffee in Naples is something from another planet). When you read this, it will be 2023. I hope the new year brings good things to you. Thanks for being a reader of QoS :)
I started putting together a Quantum of Sollazzo bookshop, after I realised I had a growing readling list to recommend. I might start a book club or something at some point.
The required disclaimer: if you end up buing from the link below, I get a commission. It’s a good way to support QoS if you wish to, but even better: go to your local independent bookshop and order the book from them. Of course, you’re welcome to encourage the bookshop staff to subscribe to Quantum ;-).
Here you go, the Quantum of Sollazzo Bookshop.
The most clicked link last week was John Burn-Murdoch’s simple but effective interactive visualization of football top goal-scorers since 1980.
‘till next week,
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Axios looks at EV battery performances.
This reminds me of two things. First, someone I know had to take a trip in a EV from Cornwall to London in freezing conditions a few years ago, and it took him about 6 stops because the battery wouldn’t last over 30 minutes. Unless massive technology improvements happen (which, from what I understand, are unlikely to bring the order of magnitude required), a better low-carbon model would be to avoid EVs for long journeys. The second thing is on how to reduce the amount of cars circulating, as EV don’t address the congestion issue: a recent trip to Bologna, Italy, was rather eye opening – I ended up in a peak hour traffic jam, which is a regular occurrence there. Most of the traffic was made up of cars occupied exclusively by their driver.
“How the country uses its land, an area only slightly larger than half of California, will be an ever more critical element as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak navigates an energy crisis, rising food prices, cracks in the property market and net-zero commitments.“
Some brilliant dataviz work here by Bloomberg Graphics.
Quantum “graduate” Lesley-Ann Kelly and colleagues look at snowfall in the North of the UK with a great chart.
“Create, share, and use beautiful custom elements made with HTML and CSS” – basically, a repository of crowdsourced UI elements.
“The Dog API provides information on over 340 dog breeds, 20 breed groups, and fun facts. Our data is accurate and constantly updated. Easily integrate this information into your own website or application with our user-friendly API. Get started today and discover more about the world of dogs.“
This is probably the third such guide I link in QoS, and I think we’ll see increasingly more.
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“Although European institutions publish some information turning it into data is an impossible task”, says data journalist Francesco Piccinelli.
QoS friends European Data Journalism Network have launched a new interesting podcast called Uncharted Europe: “Uncharted Europe turns the work of the European Data Journalism Network into a podcast exploring issues that matter to European citizens. Each episode focuses on a specific topic and hosts the voices of the journalists who investigated it across the borders.“
Another incredible visual explainer by Bartosz Ciechanowski, who you might remember from issue 454 and his beautiful GPS explainer.
“Invisible and relentless, sound is seemingly just there, traveling through our surroundings to carry beautiful music or annoying noises. In this article I’ll explain what sound is, how it’s created and propagated.“
(h/t Duncan Geere)
“After a long qualifying process packed with surprises (Italy missing out as the reigning European champions) and last minute drama (both Egypt and Peru missed out on penalties), the FIFA World Cup 2022 kicked off on the 20th of November in Qatar. With 32 countries and over 800 players representing nearly 300 clubs globally, it measured up to more than 12 billion EUR in the players’ current estimated market value total. In this short piece, we explore what the small and interconnected world of football stars looks like.“
By Milán Janosov & Patrik Szigeti for Nightingale.
“USGS research vessels equipped with cameras, sonar and scanners created a map of 125 square miles of the sea floor off Cape Ann, MA.“
Jon Keegan is doing an excellent job of showcasing great open datasets that contain images through its “Beautiful Public Data” website.
“Daylight saving time has problems. But is anything else really better?“
One of those brilliant interactive dataviz projects by FiveThirtyEight: visualizing the impact of daylight savings on early sunsets and sunrises.
I played a little with ChatGPT to see how it fails (gracefully or not), and settled on the idea of asking it to solve problems with strict constraints. So I asked it to create a… diet plan. A super low-carb diet plan, with other crazy demands, inspired by a few of my eating experiments of the past decade. The outcome is clear: it fails, quite blatantly, but it confidently gives the wrong answer. Even more interestingly, it does admit the error when asked, but its correction is wrong again.
“We measured ChatGPT vs. Google, and found that ChatGPT crushes Google on coding queries and ties it on general informational queries — despite not being optimized for a search experience at all. Dive into this post to learn more about OpenAI’s existential threat to Google.“
Jürgen Schmidhuber at IDSIA has written a not completely unbiased history (as he notes, he has been involved massively in the developments he chronicles) of Deep Learning.
“I provide a timeline of the—in hindsight—most important relevant events in the history of NNs, deep learning, AI, computer science, and mathematics in general, crediting those who laid foundations of the field.“
quantum of sollazzo is supported by ProofRed’s excellent proofreading. If you need high-quality copy editing or proofreading, head to http://proofred.co.uk. Oh, they also make really good explainer videos.
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