On how USAFacts shares information during a time where many aren’t trustworthy of facts that don’t line up with their opinions
“We do a couple of different things. Number one, we only use government data and we only use data about history. Now, some people would say, ‘Hey, I don’t agree with government data.’ It’s just the best we have. And if citizens don’t think they can rely on government data, then it’s incumbent on us, all of us, to push our government for better, more consistent and more complete data. And we certainly see opportunities to do that. But by and large, we believe that our government’s statistical agencies have good people who are doing good work.
“The thing that we don’t do with that is try to do forecasts. Forecasts are fundamentally partisan. And I say that only in the sense that for every bright, smart economist that will say ‘X is going to happen,’ there’ll be another bright, smart economist that will say ‘not X is going to happen.’ So we think the thing that citizens need to know and deserve to know is what has happened, which is not partisan, which is not subject to debate, and then people can make their own guesses about where things are moving, where they will go and what they think should be done. And I think that’s fundamental. And we still live in this age of people throwing out words like fake news and alternate facts — and that’s just not OK. It’s never been OK.”
Here and Now, NPR
[OC] The popularity of the name ‘Karen’ has seen a dramatic decrease within the last ten years from dataisbeautiful
My mothers name is Karen… she named me Alexa. Both our names suck now.
Ok Alexa Play me a song
Alexa: “Playing Can I Speak To The Manager?”
To count the unhoused and unsheltered population—the shelters are usually full to bursting with waitlists hundreds or a thousand names long—county health or human services agencies, or nonprofits to which the task is contracted out, often resort to the simplest method of enumeration known, the one you learn in kindergarten: They (or citizen volunteers, mostly) go out with flashlights, clipboards and pencils, and literally count heads, or curled-up street sleepers, or RVs, or tents.
How many people an office manager or sales rep guesses are sleeping in an RV or a tent they’re peering at in the semi-dark becomes data. Whether the volunteer presumes two or four is up to them—I can tell you this, for I have done it twice, in 2009 and 2017, and I don’t believe my guessing skills improved much—and thus wholly arbitrary, a snap decision that can result in a variance of 100 percent. Or more. Is that just some old car, or an old car someone lives in? Is that RV the glamping vehicle for an Instagram influencer or some eccentric Burner type, or does it house the family of four who couldn’t afford the landlord’s latest offer? You don’t know and you can’t know. Yet, this is the data the federal government uses, and we arrive at neat numbers like, “500,000 homeless people in America, 8,011 homeless people in San Francisco.”
How California’s Homeless Crisis Grew Obscenely Out of Control, Chris Roberts, Observer.com