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Data Is Plural

Orphan Drugs, LGBTQI+ Elected Officials, Tornadoes … and More

This week's roundup of notable data

Illustration of an open envelope, with arrows coming out from within. The arrows are pointing to various spreadsheets. Behind the spreadsheets are data visualizations, clouds and strings of numbers.
Gabriel Hongsdusit

Data Is Plural is a weekly newsletter of useful/curious datasets. This edition, dated May 11, 2022, has been republished with permission of the author.

Drugs for rare diseases. The U.S. Orphan Drug Act of 1983 provided incentives for pharmaceutical companies to develop treatments for rare diseases. The Food and Drug Administration reviews applications for treatments seeking this “orphan” status, decides whether to designate them as such, and maintains a database of all 6,000-plus designations since 1983. The database lists each treatment’s generic name, trade name (if any), “sponsor” company, designated use(s), date(s) of designation, and whether/when the FDA approved it for sale. Previously: Rare disease data from Orphanet (DIP 2022.04.20) and the FDA’s “Orange Book” of drug approvals (DIP 2017.03.08). [h/t Simona Gamba et al. + Kevin Lewis]

LGBTQI+ elected officials. The Queer Politics at Princeton research program has assembled an international map and database of 1,000-plus officials elected since the 1970s “who publicly identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, non-binary, gender-non-conforming, queer or intersex.” The project focuses on candidates elected to national, state, and mayoral offices. Entries indicate each official’s name, country, party affiliation, level of government, position held, year first elected, sexual and gender identity, whether they were out when first elected, the year they came out, and more. [h/t Tom Smith]

Tornadoes. Although the primary mission of the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center is forward-looking, the center also provides historical maps, charts, and datasets. Among them: the Severe Weather Database, which contains all tornado reports for the contiguous U.S. from 1950 to 2020, plus major hail storms and “damaging wind” events since 1955. It lists each incident’s date, starting and ending locations, intensity, injury count, fatality count, property loss, and more. [h/t Kaylan Patel + Luke LeBel]

Mask-wearing on NYC transit. Since June 2020, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has surveyed mask usage in a sample of subways and at its busiest bus stops. The results, available to view and download, indicate the number of people observed (nearly five million so far) during each biweekly survey cycle and the percentages of them found to be wearing a mask correctly, incorrectly, or not at all. [h/t Kevin Duggan + Betsy Ladyzhets]

Milwaukee house styles. Milwaukee’s Master Property File, first assembled in 1975, “contains more than 90 elements of data describing each of the approximately 160,000 properties in the city.” The elements include each home’s city-assessed architectural style—Tudor, for instance, or Cape Cod, or bungalow. As seen in: This story-map by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, based on an analysis by John D. Johnson. [h/t Rose Mintzer-Sweeney]


Notice: Unlike most of our content, this edition of Data Is Plural by Jeremy Singer-Vine is not available for republication under a Creative Commons license.

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