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.

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Ranked Choice Voting

The city of Minneapolis recently elected a new mayor. This is not newsworthy in and of itself, however the method they used was—ranked choice voting. Ranked choice voting is a method of voting allowing voters to rank multiple candidates in order of preference. In the Minneapolis mayoral election, voters ranked up to three candidates. The interesting part of this whole thing was that it took over two days for the election officials to declare a winner.

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Facebook Analytics

WolframAlpha has a tool that will analyze your Facebook network. I saw this awhile ago, but HollyLynne reminded me of this recently, and I tried it out. You need to give the app(?) permission to access your account (which I am sure means access to your data for Wolfram), after which you are given all sorts of interesting, pretty info. Note, you can also opt to have Wolfram track your data in order to determine how your network is changing.

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It is time for the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Sixty-four teams dream big (er…I mean 68…well actually by now, 64) and schools like Iona and Florida Gulf Coast University (go Eagles!) are hoping that Robert Morris astounding victory in the N.I.T. isn’t just a flash in the pan. My favorite part is filling out the bracket–see it below. (Imagine that…a statistician’s favorite part of the whole thing is making predictions.) Even President Obama filled out a bracket [see it here].

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Gun deaths and data

This article at Slate is interesting for a number of reasons. First, if offers a link to a data set listing names and data of the 325 people known to have been killed by guns since December 14, 2012. Slate is to be congratulated for providing data in a format that is easy for statistical software to read. (Still, some cleaning required. For example, ages include a mix of numbers and categorical values.

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With fewer than two weeks left till the US presidential elections, motivating class discussion with data related to the candidates, elections, or politics in general is quite easy. So for yesterday’s lab we used data released by The Federal Election Commission on contributions made to 2012 presidential campaigns. I came across the data last week, via a post on The Guardian Datablog. The post has a nice interactive feature for analyzing data from all contributions.

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Yesterday (October 14, 2012), Felix Baumgartner made history by becoming the first person to break the speed of sound during a free fall. He also set some other records (e.g., longest free fall, etc.) during the Red Bull Stratos Mission–which was broadcast live on the internet. Kind of cool, but imagine the conversation that took place daydreaming this one… Red Bull Creative Person: What if we got some idiot to float up into the stratosphere in a space capsule and then had him step out of it and free fall four minutes breaking the sound barrier?

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Citizen Statistician

Learning to swim in the data deluge