Historical Approach to Climate Change

We often think about climate change as what is going to happen—what will the future world be like as a result of the changing climate? But in some ways, looking back at the past can also inform our understanding of climate change.

The Old Weather project does just that. Volunteers or “citizen scientists” can assist in the reading and transcribing historical documents (ship log books, mostly).
Looking back at the past allows for scientists to better model climate change. These log books from ships kept records of weather patterns, including data on temperatures and air pressure.
But why does a climate change project need help of citizen scientists?

By crowdsourcing the process of transcribing these historical documents, there is a smaller margin for mistakes. If multiple people transcribe the same document, errors can be caught and corrected. Additionally, it saves time.

For more information, visit the Old Weather project or read this NPR article.

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Mapping Tax Returns

In honor of the end of tax season, we have created a few maps showing various tax related statistics from the IRS. The IRS
has a number of great data sets available for public use. We thought it would be interesting to map out some of their tax return data from 2012.

First, let’s look at how much Americans received in tax refunds. This map shows the total dollar amount, in thousands, each county received in returns total for 2012.

2012refunds

This map of the number of returns with renewable energy tax credits offers a slightly different look of the US. Again, these data are the total dollar number of returns for each county in 2012. It would be interesting to see the increase in renewable energy tax credits over time.

2012ResidentialEnergyCred

Most of these maps have a higher concentration of tax returns and return amounts in metropolitan areas. The map of farm returns by county shows a contrast.

2012FarmReturns

We hope to make this an interactive data visualization soon.

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Investigating Income Inequality in Millennials

At DASIL, we have many data visualizations that point at income inequality. We’ve also addressed some related issues in our blog posts. However, one demographic group has been left out of our conversations surrounding income inequality: millennials.

In a study done by Status of Women in the United States, they found that millennial women face a smaller wage gap than that between all men and women. Millennial women were also found to be somewhat more likely to work in finance and management than men.
Additionally, female millennials are 33% more likely than men to obtain a college degree by the age of 27.

While these are important strides, it does not mean that there is no longer a reason to be concerned about wage gaps. Here are some graphs created from our Mean Income by Age, Race, and Gender visualization that can help us explore the issue:

Mean Income by Age, Race, and Gender, 1967-2013 showing differences in average income between men and women aged 25-34

Continue reading →

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