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.
As some of you already know, I gave a keynote at csv,conf,v7 last April in Buenos Aires. The video of my talk is now freely available on YouTube. It's a walkthrough my journey through data wrangling, open data advocacy, data journalism and comms, data-driven analytics and AI, with an eye on data ethics.
Although I'm not really a football fan (ok, I do watch world cups...) my attention was piqued by what looks like an extraordinary stat: since 2010-11 the UEFA Champions League top scorer has consistently scored more than 10 goals. Such a run has never happened before. So I visualized it using Datawrapper. A note: the expansion of the competition in the early 1990s did result in more games being played per team, but there is also a signal that starts in the 2010s. One to fully check for exercise, folks :-)
'till next week,
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Taylor Johnston, featured in Quantum #456, looks at "the race and sex of every NBC Saturday Night Live host since the show began and found that SNL has only recently begun to incorporate women of color as hosts."
"Half of renters spend at least 30% of their income on housing."
Pretty and very clear interactive charts.
The Washington Post's Philip Bump captures in the How To Read This Chart newsletter, the highly interesting Twitter exchange between US Republican Senator J.D. Vance and Economics Professor Justin Wolfers. Aside from the mildly entertaining punch fight, it is interesting because it is about interpreting this chart by Axios, and how economics and politics use "evidence" in different ways when debating who and what is to blame for rent increases.
Original Spanish article here. From the automatic translation: "Devastated by five votes: a lesson from Huesca for the divided left – It is the city in Spain with the most parties on the threshold between 4-5% of the votes. The rupture of the confluences and the debacle of the PSOE gave the mayoralty to Lorena Orduna and Vox".
Enriched by maps and charts that use the unusually accurate electoral data that Spain offers.
"Over the last five years, the number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills both introduced and passed into law at the state level has [exploded](https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/anti-lgbtq-laws-red-states/, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis of data provided by the American Civil Liberties Union and The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ+ youth."
Every newsletter is exactly the same, until now, because The Smithee Letter is different.
It's a fictional narrative sales letter, like if David Lynch and Cormac McCarthy morphed into one person and wrote a weekly story about an anonymous salesperson on the run from dangerous people as they fall deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of the strangest, most absurd parts of America. The story may be fiction, but the products are real. And the newsletter is free, all "Smithee" (because that's not their real name, of course) asks in return: Open the damn emails and click the damn links.
A type tool to test how different sizes of text/heading will display.
"Could you indicate me the areas and themes you want to see as the map?"
Using natural language queries to obtain geographical data from Open Street Map. It doesn't always work (like in the example below), but it's worth keeping an eye on it.
(via Maurizio Napolitano)
"Minimal snippets for modern CSS layouts and components"
Itamar Turner-Trauring: "Before you can process your data with Pandas, you need to load it (from disk or remote storage). There are plenty of data formats supported by Pandas, from CSV, to JSON, to Parquet, and many others as well. [Which should you use?](https://pythonspeed.com/articles/best-file-format-for-pandas"
I asked on LinkedIn and received a couple of very useful answers.
"A series of notebooks to introduce Vega-Lite in Observable."
Seven categories of interview Q&As by Data Science Writer Youssef Hosni.
"If you’ve ever used the Matplotlib library, there’s a high chance you’ve also utilized its subplot functionality. Subplots are an effective tool for generating multiple plots simultaneously, which can be advantageous when comparing results or when multiple plots share identical axes. However, at times the subplot syntax in Matplotlib can be anything but straightforward for many of us, myself included. Achieving the desired layout for the subplots can seem like a game of trial and error, shifting the focus from our actual project."
This article suggests a simple solution.
"Learn how to drastically boost the performance of spatial searches".
"R-trees organize geographic information by partitioning the underlaying space into rectangles."
"The objective was to modify Google Maps to display the pubs with the cheapest beer at the end of each cycling stage. This article documents the challenges, lessons learned, and tips for working with GPT-4 in the process."
"Long story short: a software bug caused the machine to occasionally give radiation doses that were sometimes hundreds of times greater than normal, which could result in grave injury or death."
Many of these software bugs are data manipulation bugs.
Tanya Shapiro: "Observable Plot recreation of a plot I created with R ggplot2 and supporting ggplot2 libraries. Data scraped from the U.S. Senate gov website using rvest."
"UFO is a script for the Monome Norns - a kind of open-source musical gameboy with a tonne of amazing free scripts developed by the community."
One of Duncan's cool sonification projects.
Google is using AI to predict flooding. Will it work?
(via Massimo Conte)
A website to "generate pointless haikus about a place from OpenStreetMap data".
I'm linking to this because the source code is available under a GPL licence and it's useful to understand how to interact with Open Street Map.
rides is a full-stack simulation of a ride-hailing app such as Uber or Bolt.
In this academic pre-print the authors propose a system to fact-check claims made by ChatGPT-like language models that is based on a generator-discriminator multi-turn interaction.
"No, AGI isn't going to take over every social system when GPT5 comes out"
"Women do not fare well in the future of work, or rather, traditional pink-collar type jobs."
A brilliant guide by Oxford Internet Institute researcher Jess Morley.
I've seen several takes on this ingenious (so to speak) idea by a US lawyer, but Simon Willison's is comprehensive on both the technical and the non-technical side.
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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