This is a piece I wrote about the importance of media outlets sharing the raw data on which their articles are based, as they do with prose (e.g., FOIAed documents) with increasing frequency. →
- Frontline: The U.S. Immigration Detention Boom
This map of the growth of immigrant detention facilities is a great—and alarming—illustration of the rise of these ever-larger, often private facilities.
- Wikipedia: Northwest Angle
Insufficient understanding of North American geography in the late 1700s resulted in the Treaty of Paris accidentally assigning a notch of land in Canada to the United States. These 600 square miles comprise the "Northwest Angle" in Minnesota, the northernmost point in the continental U.S. To get there, one must fly, drive through Canada, or take a boat across the Lake of the Woods. 152 people live there.
- Search State and Federal Campaign Contribution Data
All of your bulk downloads for government data in one place, courtesy of the Sunlight Foundation. There's even a 2.2GB download of all state and federal campaign contributions (ever?).
- New York Times: A Tipping Point for Gay Marriage?
With the government unable to muster a legally defensible argument against gay marriage, it's amazing that the House of Representatives went ahead and hired their own private law firm to carry on the right. But it's more amazing still that the law firm dropped the case, finding the Republican majority's position impractical to defend. This looks like the beginning of the end of anti-gay discrimination. My children will almost certainly not know a world in which marriage is only for opposite-sex couples.
- Salon.com: "USA! USA!" is the wrong response
I'm glad to see that others share my discomfort with some of the reaction to the death of Osama bin Laden. "In the years since 9/11, we have begun vaguely mimicking those we say we despise, sometimes celebrating bloodshed against those we see as Bad Guys just as vigorously as our enemies celebrate bloodshed against innocent Americans they (wrongly) deem as Bad Guys."
- The Independent: Bush rejects Taliban offer to surrender bin Laden
Remember when the Taliban offered to hand over Osama bin Laden to the U.S., the President Bush rejected the offer? That was in October 2001, a week after we started bombing. Bush's response? "When I said no negotiations I meant no negotiations."
- The Washington Post: How the U.S., on the road to surplus, detoured to massive debt
In case you've forgotten how we went from record surpluses to record deficits in a decade (hint: you have), the Post recounts the story of how President Bush blew President Clinton's carefully crafted budget by going on the largest-ever tax-cutting spree, recklessly distributing our nation's wealth to the nation's wealthiest.
- Wall Street Journal: Jobless claims
The WSJ put a sparkline in a tweet. *swoon*
- Data Science Toolkit
A self-contained virtual machine with a toolkit of brilliant data analysis utilities. Geolocation for IPs, street address to coordinates, coordinates to political divisions—that stuff you'd expect. But it can also pull country, city, and region names out of unstructured text. It can render HTML and return the text that would be displayed in the browser. It can pull people's names out of unstructured text and even take a guess at their sex. I'm drooling a little. I can put half of these tools to use immediately.
I had no idea.
- Daring Fireball: A Rule of Thumb—Pricing Should Be Simple
John Gruber explains the bizarreness of the New York Times’ electronic pricing scheme. I am somebody who is happy, in theory, to pay to read the New York Times online. But their price structure makes no sense to me. I don't understand why it's more expensive to get an electronic subscription than to get both an electronic subscription and a print subscription. I don't understand why they charge more to view the paper on my iPad than on my iPhone—what do they care how big my screen is? There's no way I'd pay $420/year to read the New York Times. The whole thing just makes no sense.