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Data Is Plural

Automobile Recalls, Variable Stars, and NYC Pizza

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 Jan.11, 2023, has been republished with permission of the author.

Automobile recalls. In the U.S., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration oversees all recalls of vehicles, tires, child safety seats, and other auto equipment. Through the agency’s recall portal, you can search by vehicle identification number, make, model, and year; for other types of recalls, you can search by brand and model. The agency also provides a dataset of all 26,000-plus recalls since 1966. It lists the recall type, manufacturer’s name, component, number of units potentially affected, and date the manufacturer notified NHTSA, plus descriptions of the problem, recall action, and remedy. [h/t Chartr]

Small-business loans. The U.S. Small Business Administration publishes loan-level data from two of its major lending programs, known as 7(a) and 504, going back to the early 1990s. The records, updated quarterly, indicate each loan’s amount, term, interest rate, approval date, and current status; borrower type, name, and location; bank name and location; and more. As seen in: The Black Wealth Data Center’s business ownership indicators. Previously: SBA data on loans provided through the pandemic-instigated Paycheck Protection Program (DIP 2020.07.08).

European Parliamentarians. Political scientist Eugenio Salvati has created a dataset of all European Parliament members who’ve held office for at least one month since 1979, the EU legislative body’s first year of direct elections. For each five-year cycle, Salvati’s spreadsheets list each member’s name, country, gender, parliament role, European Parliament political group, local political party, previous political experience, and more. Entries for the 2019–24 cohort also indicate committee membership. Previously: LobbyFacts.eu (DIP 2017.08.02).

Star light, star bright. A variable star is one whose brightness appears (from Earth) to vary over time. The American Association of Variable Star Observers, founded in 1911, maintains a database of “tens of millions variable star observations going back over one hundred years,” making it “the largest and most comprehensive digital variable star database of its kind in the world.” You can download star details from the association’s star index and also download any given star’s set of observations. [h/t Peter Corless]

NYC pizza slices. “Starting in 2014, I logged every slice of pizza I ate in New York City on the Instagram account NYC Slice,” writes reporter Liam Quigley, who has published a map, price chart, searchable table, and spreadsheet of the first 464 slices. The data include each slice’s date, location, style, and price. “I did not rate the slices to avoid controversy and bribes. The biggest thing I have noticed is the decline in the amount of sauce put on slices.”


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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