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Data

On The Media

The US Keeps Getting Caught Spying on Allies

Thursday, October 24, 2013

On Monday morning, I wrote that allegations the NSA had intercepted French phone calls weren't actually very important. My logic was that allies spy on each other routinely. When they get caught, there’s a lot of ceremonial outrage and apology that amounts to very little.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Michael Flowers: On Data in the Bloomberg Era

Friday, October 11, 2013

The use of data about New York City has expanded under the Bloomberg administration. We know more about pedestrian traffic, recycling, 311 calls, tree plantings, elementary school testing, and more from the numbers collected.

Director of Analytics for Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Office of Policy and Strategic Planning, Michael Flowers, explains what metrics tell us about how NYC runs now and will run in the future. The Guggenheim houses his event tonight at 6:30 pm

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Transportation Nation

The NYPD's Crash Data Is Bad and There's Not Enough of It

Thursday, October 10, 2013

WNYC

A New York City Council committee hearing that was convened to discuss bills about street safety highlighted the NYPD's reluctance to make more traffic crash data publicly available.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

NY AG Subpoenas AirBnB User Info

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

New York-area hosts have received an email from AirBnB letting them know that the New York Attorney General has subpoenaed their personal information. Charlie Herman, Business and Economics Editor for WNYC News, and Matt Chaban of the Daily News explain the legal issues and what hosts can expect.

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On The Media

New York wants AirBnB to Turn Over its Users' Data

Monday, October 07, 2013

Update 3:46PM: Airbnb has now said that they're refusing to comply with the Attorney General's demand. Whoa. This should be interesting. More over at New Tech City.

The New York Attorney General has ordered AirBnb to turn over records for anyone in New York who's ever rented out their apartment on the site. 

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New Tech City

NYC Releases More Data Sets, Updates Portal

Monday, September 23, 2013

New York City is giving developers, data scientists and the general public a crack at more than 200 newly released data sets that include everything from property records to business licenses to health and construction permits. 

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On The Media

Tracking Your Steps

Friday, September 20, 2013

Last week the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project released a report stating that 74 percent of adult smart phone owners use their phones to get information based on their current location. As more websites and applications start picking up on this trend by launching mobile geo-navigation applications, Brooke talks to geographer Jim Thatcher about what data these apps are taking from our locations, and how is that data being used?

Night Thoughts - John Zorn

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College Enrollment Drops Overall, But Spikes Among Latinos

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The number of Latinos enrolled in college has hit an all-time high, and it's part of a years-long trend.

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On The Media

"We Post Nothing About Our Daughter Online"

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

This morning Slate published an interesting essay by Amy Webb, where she talks about how she and her husband have decided, since their young daughter's birth, to keep all traces of her off the internet.

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Schoolbook

NYC Parent Sounds Alarm on Student Privacy

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Parent advocate Leonie Haimson wants more New York parents to know that the state has agreed to share sensitive information about their children’s education with a national data-sharing system run by inBloom.  While state and city officials have tried to reassure families that privacy is a top priority for them, concerns remain. She answers some of our questions about inBloom Inc.

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Schoolbook

Chief Academic Officer Says Tests Don't Always Count Most

Monday, July 22, 2013

Read and listen to Beth Fertig's interview with a top New York City education official who defends the use of test scores while arguing that the city successfully has expanded efforts to use more qualitative data when it makes big decisions about the city schools.

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Schoolbook

After 12 Years of Bloomberg, Data Reigns in the Schools

Thursday, July 11, 2013

It’s no surprise that a mayor who built his fortune developing a computer system that gave the financial industry access to immense amounts of data would apply a technocratic approach to government. But Michael Bloomberg’s belief in data changed the entire conversation about public education in New York City by focusing on tests like never before.

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The Takeaway

European Union Angered by N.S.A. PRISM Program

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

There are now concerns that the N.S.A. PRISM program could complicate talks for a free trade agreement between the E.U. and the U.S. Talks were expected to be launched next month. The news of the PRISM program has, for some European lawmakers, transformed troubling demands from American businesses for less restrictive data requirements into unacceptable data hoarding by the US government. Sophie in’t Veld, a Dutch member of the European Parliament explains why.

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Transportation Nation

DC Bike Share Visualizer Shows How Neighborhoods Use CaBi Differently

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Washington, D.C.'s Capital Bikeshare released its latest batch of customer trip data -- and the fine folks at Mobility Lab turned it into an interactive map. What's interesting about this visualizer is that it sorts trips by neighborhood cluster.

Instead of seeing all the trips everywhere -- which is beautiful --  you can see how a given station connects to the areas around it. The more rides between two stations, the thicker the red line. Click on most downtown stations and it looks like a starburst of rides.

Trips on the National Mall tend to stay on the National Mall or head over the Jefferson Memorial.

Bike Share trips on the National Mall, Washington D.C. 4th Quarter, 2012.

Mobility Lab has also set the map so you see the direction of trips, including "unbalancedness" between stations. That's when trips tend to be in one direction more than another. It's not so surprising that more people ride downhill on Connecticut Avenue from the Van Ness station to Dupont Circle. But it is interesting to see how many more people ditch the heavy bike share bikes at the bottom and return by some other, presumably less tiring, means. Of the 203 trips between those two stations in the 4th quarter of 2012, 82 percent of them were downhill.

(Read TN's article on how DC rebalances bike share stations here.)

Trips from Van Ness bike share station in 4th quarter 2012

Michael Schade over at Mobility Lab has pulled out a few more interesting data points. Alexandria, Virginia, joined CaBi last year. Most of those bike share trips appear to be heading to or from the two Metro stations.  So Schade concludes bike share in Alexandria is being used to solve a last-mile transit problem.

See his full analyses and more maps here.

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Radiolab

Krulwich Wonders: Miss Piggy's Version Of Global Warming: What About Me?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

NPR

Here's a new way to think about global warming. An interactive map plots how temperatures have changed in any region on the planet since the early 1950s.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Statistics Can Be Fun

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Charlie Wheelan, author of Naked Economics and Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data, explains statistics to those who slept through the class.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Big Data, Data Mining, and You

Friday, December 14, 2012

The explosion of social media and smartphones has digitized of our lives and created new opportunities for industries to access an unprecedented amount of data about us. Financial Times technology correspondent April Dembosky has covered the rise of “big data”—and what companies are doing with all this information about us—for a new series in the paper.

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Radiolab

Brain Fodder Vol. 2

Friday, October 05, 2012

This week: a singing planet, scientific proof that lots of things really do taste like chicken, a love letter to a map, and lots more...

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Transportation Nation

Counting the Jay-Z Subway Crowd

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

We've gotten questions about how we crunched New York City subway turnstile data for the opening of the Barclays Center. WNYC's senior editor for data news explains all in this post for the station's data news blog, which we've reprinted below.

(John Keefe - New York, NY, WNYC) Saturday morning we did something fun: We counted the number of people who took the subway to the opening-night Jay-Z concert at Brooklyn's new Barclays Center the night before.

Or at least got pretty close.

Traffic and transit were closely watched for the new arena, as the 19,000 or so concertgoers would have just 541 parking spaces. So we decided to grab data from subway turnstiles to measure the crowds leaving the Atlantic Ave-Barclays Center station for the show.

How we did it

Turning around the data overnight took a little planning. Here's how we pulled it off:

Every Saturday morning, the MTA posts turnstile data for the previous week. Fortunately for us, the last reading is 8 p.m. Friday, the scheduled start time for the concert.

The data files contain the entry and exit counter readings for each turnstile in the system as a sort of "odometer" reading. The data is a little tricky to use, though it does have a regular structure.

So Steve Melendez, our Data News Team programmer, wrote some Python code that grabs the data files and puts the individual readings into a SQLite database. He then sorted the readings by station (using this chart), and calculated how many exit clicks were logged for the Atlantic Avenue station from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

We suspected there would be a jump in the time period before the concert. So earlier in the week, we ran the numbers for each Friday for much of the year and calculated those averages (I ended up using just September, because they were higher, post-summer vacation readings). Then, Saturday morning, Steven got up really early and ran the program again, including the newly posted numbers.

He sent me the latest values, and I added them to the chart in a taxi on the way to the station. At 8:35 a.m., I was on the air talking about how it appears about a third of the concert-goers took the subway.

It could be more than that. Some people could have left the system at another station. And if anyone left through an emergency exit, or if they showed up after 8 p.m., they wouldn't be in our turnstile data.

But it's a place to start, and we'll be watching how these numbers change for future concerts and for Brooklyn Nets games.

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The Takeaway

Political Scientists Cover the Election in a New Book, Published in Real Time

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

In a new approach to finding out how politicians win elections,"The Gamble," a book by John Sides and Lynn Vavreck, offers a real time analysis of the election. The e-book is being updated as the campaign unfolds, and draws upon data about the economy, public opinion, and news coverage.

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