Data Is Plural

Data Is Plural

A new podcast from the long-running newsletter, Data Is Plural (data-is-plural.com). Each episode distills an expert interview into a crisp 15 minutes, taking you behind the scenes of another surprising dataset. One season = five episodes.

Episodes

March 24, 2023 54 secs

Introducing ... Data Is Plural: The Podcast.

(Music by Nikhil Sonnad.)

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This episode’s guest is Vikram Oberoi, whose atariemailarchive.org was featured in the Sept. 21, 2022 edition of the Data Is Plural newsletter. Vikram explains how he discovered the emails (originally published by former Atari engineer Jed Margolin), their backstory, how they became a yearslong obsession for him, how he processed them into structured data, how organized them into threads, and what he learned along the way.

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March 29, 2023 15 mins

This episode’s guest is Irena Hwang, whose analysis of salmonella genetic data was featured in the Nov. 17, 2021 edition of the Data Is Plural newsletter. Irena explains how she used the data to inform ProPublica’s investigation into a major salmonella outbreak, how the gene sequences are collected, how to access them, how to make sense of them, and what she learned along the way.

Relevant and mentioned links:

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March 29, 2023 16 mins

This episode’s guest is Pablo Medrano-Vizcaíno, whose dataset of roadkill in the Ecuadorian Andes was featured in the July 7, 2021 edition of the Data Is Plural newsletter. Pablo describes why he studies roadkill, how he collected the data, the challenges of identifying species from their remains, and the future of road ecology research.

Relevant and mentioned links:

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March 29, 2023 15 mins

This episode’s guest is Mattie Burkert, whose London Stage Database was featured in the Aug. 14, 2019 edition of the Data Is Plural newsletter. Mattie sets the scene for 17th- and 18th-century theater performances, describes those performances’ eventful journey into bits and bytes, how the digital records were almost lost to history, and how she and collaborators recovered them.

Relevant and mentioned links:

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March 29, 2023 15 mins

This episode’s guest is Andy Wolf, former president of the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, an international organization that, among other things, coordinates the giant pumpkin contests featured in the Oct. 26, 2022 edition of the Data Is Plural newsletter. Andy explains what it takes to grow giant pumpkins, how they’re measured, how the community has evolved over the past century, and the pieces of data he tracks to keep his gourds gr...

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November 22, 2023 15 mins

This episode’s guests are Jan Diehm and Amber Thomas, whose investigation into the sizes of jeans pockets was featured in the August 22, 2018 edition of the Data Is Plural newsletter. Amber and Jan explain how they collected the data, how much smaller they found women’s jean pockets were than men’s, and what else they learned along the way.

Relevant and mentioned links:

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November 29, 2023 16 mins

This episode’s guest is Illenin Kondo, one of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis economists behind the Income Distributions and Dynamics in America (IDDA) dataset and resource, featured in the October 11, 2023 edition of the Data Is Plural newsletter. (IDDA is a collaboration between the Census Bureau and the Minneapolis Fed.) Illenin explains how the researchers distilled two decades of confidential Census and IRS records int...

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December 6, 2023 15 mins

This episode’s guest is Julia Black, coordinator of the International Organization for Migration’s Missing Migrants Project, featured in the January 15, 2020 edition of the Data Is Plural newsletter. The project “records incidents in which migrants, including refugees and asylum-seekers, have died at state borders or in the process of migrating to an international destination.” Julia describes how her team gathers that information,...

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December 13, 2023 15 mins

This episode’s guest is Bruce Macnab, head of Canada's Wildland Fire Information System, featured in the June 14, 2023 edition of the Data Is Plural newsletter. Bruce describes how his team gathers that information, the obstacles they face, how they deal with uncertainty and varying source quality, and how their approach has changed in the decade since the project launched.

Relevant and mentioned links:

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December 20, 2023 16 mins

This episode’s guests are George Ho and Saul Pwanson, whose crossword datasets were featured in the Data Is Plural newsletter in 2021 and 2016, respectively. Saul and George explain the difference between American-style and cryptic crosswords, how they collected their datasets, and what they learned along the way.

Relevant and mentioned links:

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This is a bonus(!), crossover(!) episode, produced by Miriam Quick and Duncan Geere's wonderful Loud Numbers podcast, which turns data into sound. Remember the Canadian wildfire data featured a couple of episodes ago? Duncan and Miriam have woven it into a sonic tapestry, threaded with descriptions of the 2023 fire season by Fern Yip, who spent much of it fighting to save her home and school from burning. You can also listen t...

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