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Data Is Plural

Arts & Culture Podcasts

A new podcast from the long-running newsletter, Data Is Plural (data-is-plural.com). Each episode distills an expert interview into a crisp 15 minutes, taking you behind the scenes of another surprising dataset. One season = five episodes.

Location:

United States

Description:

A new podcast from the long-running newsletter, Data Is Plural (data-is-plural.com). Each episode distills an expert interview into a crisp 15 minutes, taking you behind the scenes of another surprising dataset. One season = five episodes.

Language:

English


Episodes

S2E5: Crosswords

12/20/2023
This episode’s guests are George Ho and Saul Pwanson, whose crossword datasets were featured in the Data Is Plural newsletter in 2021 and 2016, respectively. Saul and George explain the difference between American-style and cryptic crosswords, how they collected their datasets, and what they learned along the way. Relevant and mentioned links: Saul’s xd archivegrid comparison.xd file formatFiveThirtyEight’s coverage of the plagiarism scandal Saul’s analysis unearthedcsv,confHow a File Format Led to a Crossword ScandalGeorge’s dataset of cryptic crossword cluesGeorge’s datasheet for the datasetDatasheets for DatasetsXWord InfoPre-Shortzian Puzzle Projectcontributions from Barry Haldiman and others Theme music by Nikhil Sonnad.

Duration:00:16:00

S2E4: Canadian Wildfires

12/13/2023
This episode’s guest is Bruce Macnab, head of Canada's Wildland Fire Information System, featured in the June 14, 2023 edition of the Data Is Plural newsletter. Bruce describes how his team gathers that information, the obstacles they face, how they deal with uncertainty and varying source quality, and how their approach has changed in the decade since the project launched. Relevant and mentioned links: Canadian Wildland Fire Information SystemThe agency’s datamartFire hotspot mapsFire weather mapsFire Weather Index SystemHistorical data from the Canadian National Fire DatabaseWildFireSat: Enhancing Canada's ability to manage wildfires Theme music by Nikhil Sonnad.

Duration:00:15:57

S2E3: Missing Migrants

12/6/2023
This episode’s guest is Julia Black, coordinator of the International Organization for Migration’s Missing Migrants Project, featured in the January 15, 2020 edition of the Data Is Plural newsletter. The project “records incidents in which migrants, including refugees and asylum-seekers, have died at state borders or in the process of migrating to an international destination.” Julia describes how her team gathers that information, the obstacles they face, how they deal with uncertainty and varying source quality, and how their approach has changed in the decade since the project launched. Relevant and mentioned links: Missing Migrants ProjectThe teamMMP’s data landing pageMMP’s data downloadsMMP’s methodologyMMP’s other publicationsStories of families of missing migrantsThe 2013 Lampedusa shipwrecksThe Human Rights Watch report mentioned Theme music by Nikhil Sonnad.

Duration:00:15:55

S2E2: Income Patterns

11/29/2023
This episode’s guest is Illenin Kondo, one of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis economists behind the Income Distributions and Dynamics in America (IDDA) dataset and resource, featured in the October 11, 2023 edition of the Data Is Plural newsletter. (IDDA is a collaboration between the Census Bureau and the Minneapolis Fed.) Illenin explains how the researchers distilled two decades of confidential Census and IRS records into public statistics, what they mean by “income dynamics,” what makes the dataset special, and what they’ve learned from it so far. Relevant and mentioned links: The project's landing pageThe project’s downloadable dataThe project’s data visualization toolAn introduction to the statisticsThe prosperity of high-earning foreign-born workersThe geographic divide in Native incomes and earningsInclusive recessions, inclusive recoveries?Federal Statistical Research Data CentersTheme music by Nikhil Sonnad.

Duration:00:16:07

S2E1: Jeans Pockets

11/22/2023
This episode’s guests are Jan Diehm and Amber Thomas, whose investigation into the sizes of jeans pockets was featured in the August 22, 2018 edition of the Data Is Plural newsletter. Amber and Jan explain how they collected the data, how much smaller they found women’s jean pockets were than men’s, and what else they learned along the way. Relevant and mentioned links: Jan and Amber’s pockets-investigation at The PuddingData on all the measurements they tookTheir data collection sheetTheme music by Nikhil Sonnad.

Duration:00:15:52

S1E1: Giant Pumpkins

3/29/2023
This episode’s guest is Andy Wolf, former president of the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, an international organization that, among other things, coordinates the giant pumpkin contests featured in the Oct. 26, 2022 edition of the Data Is Plural newsletter. Andy explains what it takes to grow giant pumpkins, how they’re measured, how the community has evolved over the past century, and the pieces of data he tracks to keep his gourds growing strong. Relevant and mentioned links: Weigh-off results from BigPumpkins.comGreat Pumpkin CommonwealthAndy’s websiteAndy’s “Pumpkins 101” presentationLittle Valley man’s giant pumpkin is North American ChampionThe family tree for Andy’s latest giant pumpkinA history of giant pumpkin growing Theme music by Nikhil Sonnad.

Duration:00:15:54

S1E2: The London Stage

3/29/2023
This episode’s guest is Mattie Burkert, whose London Stage Database was featured in the Aug. 14, 2019 edition of the Data Is Plural newsletter. Mattie sets the scene for 17th- and 18th-century theater performances, describes those performances’ eventful journey into bits and bytes, how the digital records were almost lost to history, and how she and collaborators recovered them. Relevant and mentioned links: The London Stage DatabaseRecovering the London Stage Information Bank: Lessons from an Early Humanities Computing ProjectFrom Manual to Digital: Women's Hands and the Work of Eighteenth-Century StudiesThe London Stage Information Bank’s data and other filesBrianna MarshallScans of “The London Stage, 1660-1800” reference booksScan of “Index to the The London Stage, 1660-1800”The 1971 article in “Computers and the Humanities” about the London Stage Information BankLawrence University’s Institute for Paper ChemistryData visualizations using the London Stage DatabaseNightingale Mattie sends a special thanks to the University of Oregon’s Cameron Seright, who fixed some late-breaking website bugs just in time for this podcast release. Theme music by Nikhil Sonnad.

Duration:00:15:46

S1E3: Roadkill in the Andes

3/29/2023
This episode’s guest is Pablo Medrano-Vizcaíno, whose dataset of roadkill in the Ecuadorian Andes was featured in the July 7, 2021 edition of the Data Is Plural newsletter. Pablo describes why he studies roadkill, how he collected the data, the challenges of identifying species from their remains, and the future of road ecology research. Relevant and mentioned links: Geography of roadkills within the Tropical Andes Biodiversity Hotspot: Poorly known vertebrates are part of the tollaccompanying datasetRoadkill patterns in Latin American birds and mammalsRed Ecuatoriana para el Monitoreo de Fauna AtropelladaUku Pacha Ground SnakeAtractus UkupachaKlebba's Snail-EaterDipsas klebbaipreviously-undescribed snake species found in Pablo and Santiago’s researchRoadkill provide a novel way to sample an area’s animals Theme music by Nikhil Sonnad.

Duration:00:16:00

S1E4: Pathogen Genetics

3/29/2023
This episode’s guest is Irena Hwang, whose analysis of salmonella genetic data was featured in the Nov. 17, 2021 edition of the Data Is Plural newsletter. Irena explains how she used the data to inform ProPublica’s investigation into a major salmonella outbreak, how the gene sequences are collected, how to access them, how to make sense of them, and what she learned along the way. Relevant and mentioned links: NCBI’s Pathogen Detection databaseProPublica’s investigationIrena’s behind-the-scenes explanatory articleA tool developed by ProPublica to help you when shopping for poultryWikipedia’s entry on next-generation DNA sequencingA definition of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) Theme music by Nikhil Sonnad.

Duration:00:15:59

S1E5: Atari Emails

3/29/2023
This episode’s guest is Vikram Oberoi, whose atariemailarchive.org was featured in the Sept. 21, 2022 edition of the Data Is Plural newsletter. Vikram explains how he discovered the emails (originally published by former Atari engineer Jed Margolin), their backstory, how they became a yearslong obsession for him, how he processed them into structured data, how organized them into threads, and what he learned along the way. Relevant and mentioned links: atariemailarchive.orgOn CC’ingOn building a spellcheckerOn royaltiesJed venting about inventory dataVikram’s structured dataset of the emailsVikram’s blog post describing how he built the siteMy Vax Mail, Memos, and Status Reports from Atari/Atari Games 1982-1992Jed Margolin’s websiteThe 2012 Kotaku post that caught Vikram’s attentionA picture of a VAX mainframe Theme music by Nikhil Sonnad.

Duration:00:15:58

Coming Soon — Data Is Plural: The Podcast

3/24/2023
Introducing ... Data Is Plural: The Podcast. (Music by Nikhil Sonnad.)

Duration:00:00:54