Category Archives: Data

LINK: A Database Tracking Incidents of Deadly Police Use of Force

“The nation’s leading law enforcement agency [FBI] collects vast amounts of information on crime nationwide, but missing from this clearinghouse are statistics on where, how often, and under what circumstances police use deadly force. In fact, no one anywhere comprehensively tracks the most significant act police can do in the line of duty: take a life,” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal in its series Deadly Force (Nov. 28, 2011).

D. Bryan Burghart is an editor of the Reno News and Review. Confronted with this information gap, one has come to believe is intentionally maintained by the FBI and police forces across the country, he has set up a crowd-sourced database project to collect basic information about every incident of the use of deadly police force.

Progress relies on FOIA requests and research provided by volunteers. We can all help with this important project.

Yelp! Top 100 Restaurants in the USA

Cutting tuna in Da Poke Shop.
Cutting tuna in Da Poke Shop. just published a list of the Top 100 restaurants in the US, and the winner is a small take out stand on Hawaii’s big island, which serves piles of raw fish on greens, which if I read it right is called poke.

Now, that’s cool, and the list is an impressive mélange of expensive and much less expensive tastes. For instance, New York’s top restaurant is a vegan food truck called the Cinnamon Snail. Second is the gastronomic playground known as 11 Madison Park. On the whole list I’ve eaten at one restaurant, the Gramercy Tavern, which is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. Well selected, I’d say, but we don’t get out much.

So maybe my lack of familiarity is my fault, but in scanning down the list there are a rather large number from our most populous state, California, which made me wonder if their food is so much superior or if the way Yelp weighted their star ratings (by the number of votes) favored more populous areas.

State By State ranking of the top restaurants in the Yelp 100:

California 48
Hawaii 10
New York 9
Texas 7
Washington 4
Illinois 3
Missouri 3

Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Oregon and Tennessee has two apiece.

I like the list, whenever I get back to Cali maybe it will lead us to some hidden gems, but I have my doubts that the algorithm Yelp used is to be fully trusted.

Time Zone Slippage Illustrated

Stefano Maggiolo explains a number of the issues involved with local time, solar time and standard clock time in The Poor Man’s Math Blog, and he created this map that highlights the areas where standard time leads solar time (green) and where it lags (red).

SolarTimeVsStandardTimeUntil mechanical clocks and faster transportation became more common in the early 19th Century, local time based around noon, when the Sun was at its highest point in the sky, was all that mattered. (click map for larger image.)

For reasons Maggiolo explains, local noon varies based on latitude and time of year. Once instantaneous communication connected localities, via telegraph at first, and soon after railway schedules, a standardized time was increasingly important. Maggiolo goes into this in brief but interesting detail.

Looking at the map, I wonder why there is so much dark red near the poles (having the sun come up later makes less difference when winter is nearly all dark and summer is nearly all light) and in China (officially, it turns out, China has only one time zone across its vast expanse).

I’ve almost always lived near the center of time zones, but have noticed that the texture of life changes when the sun comes up earlier or later. Despite our efforts to tame time, its inexorable rhythms shape our experience in often unconscious ways.

This map helps visualize at least one of those.