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Data News

From stories about how data is changing our world to thoughtfully presented pieces of data journalism, this section is devoted to all things data news.

Dissecting Trump’s Most Rabid Online Following

Come for the “subreddit math,” stay for the latent sentiment analysis methodology. - FiveThirtyEight

Hans Rosling: An Appreciation

[Hans Rosling] He championed the idea of showing people what the world was really like – and how it was different from their preconceptions–using data and visualization. - eagereyes

Remembering Hans Rosling, the visualization pioneer who made data dance

Rosling's work was a driver of some of the explosion of interest in data visualization in the news and nonprofit sectors starting in the early 2000s. His BBC special and TED Talks sparked an interest in 'storytelling with data,' rather than just with words. - Wonkblog

States Move to Protect Their Immigration Data from the Trump Administration

Washington’s governor has asked staff to figure out how to keep data from being used for mass deportations - The Verge

What It Takes to Truly Delete Data

Can an entire dataset of important information really be deleted, just like that? - FiveThirtyEight

How statistics lost their power – and why we should fear what comes next

“Not only are statistics viewed by many as untrustworthy, there appears to be something almost insulting or arrogant about them. Reducing social and economic issues to numerical aggregates and averages seems to violate some people’s sense of political decency.” - Guardian

Uber Extends an Olive Branch to Local Governments: Its Data

The ride-hailing company Uber and local governments often do not play well together. But now, with a new data-focused product, Uber is offering a tiny olive branch to its municipal critics. - New York Times

Finally, Uber Releases Data to Help Cities With Transit Planning

But it’s not the highly coveted numbers cities need. How helpful is the company’s new data tool? - CityLab

A non-comprehensive list of awesome things other people did in 2016

Here’s a good year-in-review for all you stats lovers out there. - Simply Statistics

White House Special with DJ Patil, US Chief Data Scientist

In this interview, DJ talks about the government’s relationship with Silicon Valley, the White House’s position on data ethics, and why George Washington was actually the first U.S. Chief Data Scientist. - Partially Derivative

2016: A Year of Data-Driven Confusion

“We need strong mechanisms for ethical and fair practices within teams and organisations, and a culture where pushing back on conclusions is well-received and seen as a sign of strength, not of defiance.” - Model View Culture

Scientists are frantically copying U.S. climate data, fearing it might vanish under Trump

Alarmed that decades of crucial climate measurements could vanish under a hostile Trump administration, scientists have begun a feverish attempt to copy reams of government data onto independent servers in hopes of safeguarding it from any political interference. - Washington Post

How Trump’s White House Could Mess With Government Data

Outright manipulation may be unlikely, but there are subtler things the administration could do. - FiveThirtyEight

Why are we so surprised?

In theory, we should not be surprised by the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, but in practice we are. - Probably Overthinking It

How Data Failed Us in Calling an Election

It was a rough night for number crunchers. And for the faith that people in every field — business, politics, sports and academia — have increasingly placed in the power of data. - New York Times

Yes, the election polls were wrong. Here's why

We treat polls like weather forecasts – but voters are inherently unpredictable. A hunger for certainty sets expectations that are impossible to meet. - Guardian

Meet a Polling Analyst Who Got the 2016 Election Totally Wrong

Sam Wang opens up about political forecasting, eating crickets on live television, and what we can all learn from Hillary Clinton’s shocking loss. - Pacific Standard

The Future of Big Data and Analytics in K-12 Education

At edtech startup AltSchool’s private campuses, student actions are recorded every day. AltSchool’s software and algorithms search this data for patterns and make suggestions for how to improve student performance. If you only read one article today, this is it. - Education Week

Data Sets Are The New Server Rooms

As Foursquare has proven, collecting proprietary data from the get-go can lead to a major competitive advantage in the long run. But doing so requires cash, and lots of it. - John Nussbaum

Ethics for powerful algorithms

Contrary to a ProPublica investigation, COMPAS—a proprietary algorithm used to predict police recidivism and inform parole—isn’t statistically biased against black people. However, that doesn’t mean COMPAS isn’t deeply unfair. This is the first of four posts digging into data science ethics. - Abe Gong

The Genomics Inflection Point: Implications for Healthcare

Genomics has the potential to massively improve on our collective health. Although cost has dropped significantly and technology has improved, genomics hasn’t yet been widely adopted by the public. This survey of 1,000 consumers sheds light on the challenges genomics faces before becoming a normal part of everyday healthcare. - Rock Health

Data Journalism Awards 2016: what the winners tell us about the state of the data nation

The Data Journalism Award winners were announced last Thursday. The director of the awards reflects on what these winners reveal about the state of data journalism. - Simon Rogers

Uber taps Foursquare’s Places data so you never have to type an address again

Foursquare is providing points of interest data to Uber so that riders can type in venue names to specify their pick-up and drop-off locations. - TechCrunch

What’s driving Silicon Valley to become ‘radicalized’

The fallout from Apple vs. the FBI has the tech industry rattled. More and more companies are upping security—collecting less information, investing in tougher encryption, and giving customers the keys to their own data. - Washington Post

When newsrooms don’t own their data, other companies profit

Companies like Foursquare have proven that there’s power in building proprietary datatsets. And that raises the question: how might news publishers aggregate information to create enterprise data models of their own? - Poynter

Uber Checks Into Foursquare’s Massive Location Database

Uber will now tap into Foursquare's location data, especially its "point of interest" data (restaurants, stores, landmarks, etc.) to enhance its database of locations. - Fortune

An unlikely source predicted Chipotle's disastrous quarter, and it says a lot about the future of investing

Not everyone was caught off guard by the scale of the drop in same-store sales at Chipotle. Using foot traffic data, Foursquare called it. - Business Insider

Here's How We Prevent The Next Racist Chatbot

Tay.ai is the consequence of poor training - Popular Science

Microsoft’s Tay is an Example of Bad Design

0r Why Interaction Design Matters, and so does QA-ing. - Caroline Sinders

Why Microsoft Accidentally Unleashed a Neo-Nazi Sexbot

It’s not surprising that Microsoft’s chatbot spewed racist invective, but here’s how it could have been avoided. - MIT Technology Review

Moneyball for Book Publishers: A Detailed Look at How We Read

Publishers are now using reader behavior data collected from e-readers to inform decisions about advertising budgets and marketing tactics. Obviously, the impact of reading analytics presents concerns for authors and readers alike. - New York Times

We Now Have Algorithms To Predict Police Misconduct

You’ve probably heard of predictive policing, but what about predictive policing for the police? One police department teamed up with researchers to test an algorithm that detects troublesome behavior of officers early on. - FiveThirtyEight

Why data journalism tries, and fails, to go global

With the success of data blogs like The Upshot and data publications like FiveThirtyEight, it feels like data journalism is making a big impact. But in countries where data journalism could do the most good, there are obstacles that bootcamps and hackathons can’t overcome. - Sunlight Foundation

Let’s Move Beyond Open Data Portals

Open data portals have been integral to making government more transparent. So why is a man who spent much of his career opening data now arguing that we should abandon open data portals altogether? - Abhi Nemani

The Ethical Data Scientist

Even though the ethics of data science have been bubbling up in conversation lately, we don’t talk about them nearly as much as we should. Why is that? And how can we go about fixing it? - Slate

On research parasites and internet mobs - let’s try to solve the real problem.

The New England Journal of Medicine recently published an editorial about data sharing which referred to people who use data secondhand as “research parasites.” - Simply Statistics

The Experiment Experiment

When psychologist Brian Nosek tried to reproduce the results of 100 studies published in the top peer-reviewed scientific journals, only 39 could be replicated. Might the scientific community have an unconscious bias toward publishing positive results? Find out. - Planet Money

Georgia Tech Researchers Demonstrate How the Brain Can Handle So Much Data

Random projection is frequently used in machine learning to make sense of big, diverse data. It turns out this method could be one of the ways that humans learn, too. - Georgia Tech

Your Doctor Doesn’t Want to Hear About Your Fitness-Tracker Data

While your Fitbit or Apple Watch can be great for tracking your activity and weight loss, it might not help your doc too much. From these doctor’s perspectives, the most promising wearables are yet to come. - MIT Technology Review

Airbnb’s worst problems are confirmed by its own data

While roughly 71 percent of hosts rented out their home for three months or less, there were still thousands of 'whole units', meaning an entire house or apartment, which were rented for six months or more during the last year. - The Verge

Airbnb Says Data Dump Shows Misuse of Service Is Rare

With its release of a trove of data this week, the short-term rental company Airbnb sought to underscore how the majority of its hosts in New York City are playing by the rules. - New York Times