31 December 2019 – #351: in other news
The data newsletter by @puntofisso

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Made with ❤️while *BURPS*

Too. Much. Food. I have no data about it, luckily. We're about 24 hours from 2020, and I expect a full year of terrible takes on "2020 vision". "in other news" is about to enter its 8th calendar year of life. Bring it on! Have a great new year, you all!

I've spent the festive period with family, friends, and also doing... some crochet and some coding. Crochet photos are too embarrassing to add to the newsletter, but the coding produced these "spikes maps" of electoral swing in the recent UK General Election (your retweets are welcome ;-)).

The spikes technique was originally popularised by the Berliner Morgenpost, which used it to represent swing in the German Federal Election a few years back. Their code was in R, which I'm really bad at, so I decided to replicate the result in Python. A full walk-through Jupyter notebook, which will allow you to drop in your data and shapefiles and guide you through producing similar maps, is available here, alongside a previous, less polished, version I did for the London mayoral election.

And now for something from the day job.

I'm expanding my team, and hiring a Data Engineer to lead my technical team, and a Data Delivery Lead to report to one my senior data managers and work on data transformation projects. The positions are open to existing civil servants only, for now, but please take a look and invite applications from anyone who's a data nerd, has personal initiative, and currently works in the wider Civil Service. 

Happy 2020,
––Giuseppe @puntofisso

Please share "in other news":
The Economist's Graphic Detail PDF collection
"We collated all 61 of our 'Graphic detail' print articles into one chonky PDF."
Well done, Alex and team.
Postcodes in Polygon
"Draw an area on the map and this tool will return a list of [GB only] postcodes inside the area."
A tool built by the mythical, super knowledgeable Owen Boswarva.
(via Lewis Westbury)

What’s the biggest one hit wonder on Spotify?
"Most one-hit wonder analyses focus on the time the song spent on the charts, and whether the artist ever charted again. For this analysis, I was interested in something a bit different–what are the biggest one hit wonders as defined by current listening data? In other words, what songs make up the highest percentage of an artist’s total plays on a streaming service like Spotify?"
I won't spoil the results for you, but it turns out I don't know any of the songs...

The worlds seen by "Le Monde": which countries have made the headlines since 1944?
Inspired by the similar data analysis run by The Pudding some time ago, Le Monde's data journos have analysed the most mentioned countries on 23,315 front pages. Originally in French, and automatically translated into English.
(via Joshua Gladwin)

Scotland's Trunk Road Gritter Tracker
"The Trunk Road Gritter Tracker page provides live tracking of gritters on the trunk road network.  It displays the current location of gritters and a trail with an age range for where gritters have previously passed along the trunk routes across Scotland."
(via Greg Tyler)

Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy
"An investigation into the smartphone tracking industry."
By the New York Times Opinion.

Peak Map
"This website allows you to visualize elevation of any area on the map with filled area charts (also known as a joy plot)."
Code available on GitHub.

All we want for Christmas is... these songs. Here's why.
"Bennett analyzed the lyrics of U.K. Spotify’s top 200 streams from Christmas week in 2016 and found 78 were holiday songs, most of which also show up on U.S. lists. The lyrics of those 78 fell into at least one — and often more — of eight thematic buckets."
An excellent piece of highly entertaining Christmassy nerdery.

Dangerous heights
"Newly released data illustrates this year’s deadly scramble to scale Mount Everest."
The dataset used, linked in the "data" section below, is particularly interesting.
Currency converter: 1270–2017
"[...] find out how many animals, stones of wool and quarters of wheat you can buy, and how much you could earn."
By the UK National Archives.
(*takes a big breath*) 🎶FIIIIVEE GOOOOLD RIIIIINGSSS 🎶
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"In other news" is supported by ProofRed, who offer an excellent proofreading service. If you need high-quality copy editing or proofreading, head to Oh, they also make really good explainer videos.
Datasets in this issue
🗂️ONS Postcode Directory 2019
🗂️Spotify Artists (Kaggle)
🗂️Himalayan Database
🗂️Global Forecast System
🗂️Bank of England's Inflation Calculator (with link to methodology/datasets)
🗂️Measuring Worth for historical prices
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Supported by
Fabio Bertone
Nat Higginbottom
Chris Noden
Steve Parks
Richard Potts
Naomi Penfold
Proof Red
Fay Simcock
Chris Weston
Jeff Wilson

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