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Daily Archives: February 11, 2019

How the BBC Visual and Data Journalism team works with graphics in R

Medium: “Over the past year, data journalists on the BBC Visual and Data Journalism team have fundamentally changed how they produce graphics for publication on the BBC News website. In this post, we explain how and why we have used R’s ggplot2 package to create production-ready charts, document our process and code and share what we learned along the way. Data journalists on the BBC News’ Visual and Data Journalism team have been using R for complex and reproducible data analysis and to build prototypes for some time. For example, we used R to extract, wrangle, clean and explore data from hundreds of spreadsheets on whether NHS targets are being hit, for the award-winning NHS tracker project. R was our go-to when in 2017 we analysed more than eight million residential property transactions in England and Wales for a project looking at how house prices have changed in real terms, a project that received an award from the Royal Statistical Society last year. But when it comes to making graphics, it’s been another story.

We used R and in particular R’s data visualisation package ggplot2 for data exploration, to visualise patterns and help us understand the data and find stories. But we stopped short of building charts in the BBC News graphics style ready for publication on the site. To create graphics to accompany stories on the BBC News website, we had two main options: if there was enough time, we could commission graphics from our design team. If we needed a quick turnaround, opt for our in-house chart tool instead. In the first months of 2018 some curious members of the data team started experimenting, diving deep into the internals of the ggplot2 package in a bid to figure out how close we could get to replicating the BBC’s in house style…”

A User-Focused Transdisciplinary Research Agenda for AI-Enabled Health Tech Governance

Berkman-Klein Center: “A new working paper from participants in the AI-Health Working Group out of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, and the AI Ethics Lab sets forth a research agenda for stakeholders to proactively collaborate and design… Continue Reading

2018 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report

“The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) of the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania conducts research on the role policy institutes play in governments and civil societies around the world. Often referred to as the “think tanks’ think tank,” TTCSP examines the evolving role and character of public policy research organizations. Over… Continue Reading

Climate Change Still Seen as the Top Global Threat, but Cyberattacks a Rising Concern

Worries about ISIS and North Korea persist, as fears about American power grow: “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report last year expressing serious concerns about the possible impacts of climate change, both in the near and distant future. Broadly speaking, people around the world agree that climate change poses a severe risk… Continue Reading

The government is using the wrong data to make crucial decisions about the internet

Recode – Bad maps mean federal money isn’t being spent where it should be to build out broadband connectivity. “High-speed internet is not really available where the government says it is. And that misinformation means that a lot of Americans, especially those in poor and rural areas, can’t get access to broadband — a service… Continue Reading

What’s in the Natural Resources Management Act

Outside Magazine – The crucial public lands legislation just might pass the Senate. Here’s what you can do to help—and why you should care. “The Senate will vote on the bi-partisan Natural Resources Management Act next week. It looks like it actually stands a chance of passing, in which case it will go to the House of… Continue Reading

Scientists Are Totally Rethinking Animal Cognition

The Atlantic – What science can tell us about how other creatures experience the world – “…Jains move through the world in this gentle way because they believe animals are conscious beings that experience, in varying degrees, emotions analogous to human desire, fear, pain, sorrow, and joy. This idea that animals are conscious was long… Continue Reading

TELESCOPE beta There’s a whole world of film out there. Welcome to it.

“Thanks to digital distribution, the American audience now has unprecedented access to films from around the world. At Telescope Film, our mission is to connect those films with the people who want to watch them — and to help that audience grow. Telescopefilm.com is a website to promote international film to American audiences. Our online… Continue Reading

Finding the Story of New York in 5,000 Dog Pictures

The New York Times – A new archival project uses photos dating back to the 1940s to track the very special canine-human bond in New York City. “There were graceful Great Danes, curious German shepherds and regal Rhodesian Ridgebacks. There were Lord Tareyton and Lady Gretchen and Buster and Mingus; tiny terriers and yawning cocker… Continue Reading

Female Librarians on Horseback Delivering Books, ca. 1930s

History Daily – “In the 1930s, many people living in isolated communities had very little access to jobs, let alone a good education for their children. In Kentucky, they had isolated mountain communities which could only get their books and reading material from one source… librarians on horseback…” [amazing – thank you to each and… Continue Reading

Inside Law Firms’ Best Results in a Decade

Law.com – Law firms were able to grow revenue more than expenses despite a big rise in the cost of associate salaries. “The law firm industry last year posted its best results in more than 10 years.Post-recession highs in demand and billing rate growth drove strong revenue growth—critical in a year where expense growth accelerated.… Continue Reading

Global insect decline may see ‘plague of pests’

BBC News: “A scientific review of insect numbers suggests that 40% of species are undergoing “dramatic rates of decline” around the world. The study says that bees, ants and beetles are disappearing eight times faster than mammals, birds or reptiles. But researchers say that some species, such as houseflies and cockroaches, are likely to boom.… Continue Reading