The LA Times reported today, along with several other sources, that the California Department of Justice has initiated a new “open justice” data initiative. On their portal, the “Justice Dashboard”, you can view Arrest Rates, Deaths in Custody, or Law Enforcement Officers Killed or Assaulted. I chose, for my first visit, to look at Deaths in Custody. At first, I was disappointed with the quality of the data provided. Instead of data, you see some nice graphical displays, mostly univariate but a few with two variables, addressing issues and questions that are probably on many people’s minds.
Another August, another JSM… This time we’re in Boston, in yet another huge and cold conference center. Even on the first (half) day the conference schedule was packed, and I found myself running between sessions to make the most of it all. This post is on the first session I caught, The statistical classroom: student projects utilizing student-generated data, where I listened to the first three talks before heading off to catch the tail end of another session (I’ll talk about that in another post).
The L.A. Times had a nice editorial on Thursday (Oct 30) encouraging City Hall to make its data available to the public. As you know, fellow Citizens, we’re all in favor of making data public, particularly if the public has already picked up the bill and if no individual’s dignity will be compromised. For me this editorial comes at a time when I’ve been feeling particularly down about the quality of public data.
For various reasons, I decided to walk this weekend from my house to Venice Beach, a distance of about four and a half miles. The weather was beautiful, and I thought a walk would help clear my mind. I had recently heard a story on NPR in which it was reported that Thoreau kept data on when certain flowers opened, a record now used to help understand the effects of global warming.
Participating in the “hangout” hosted by Jess Hemerly’s Policy By the Numbers blog was fun, but even better was learning about this cool blog. It’s very exciting to meet people from so many different backgrounds and from so many varied interests who share an interest in data accessibility. One feature of PBtN that I think many of our readers will find particularly useful is the weekly roundup of data in the news.
In an effort to integrate more hands on data analysis in my introductory statistics class, I’ve been assigning students a project early on in the class where they answer a research question of interest to them using a hypothesis test and/or confidence interval. One goal of this project is getting the students to decide which methods to use in which situations, and how to properly apply them. But there’s more to it – students define their own research question and find an appropriate dataset to answer that question with.
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