short links: open data, candian census, and merchants of doubt

1) An Open Data Litmus Test: Is There a Download Button from Off the Map

In order for any data to be open you need to be able to download the data so that you can remix, reuse and share the data. Data and the government agency that supplies it are not transparent if you can’t download the raw data. PDF’s and web services don’t count. They can be useful additions to the raw data, but they are not a replacements.

2)  Idiotically the Canadian government is planning to stop collecting detailed census data.  As the Toronto Globe and Mail explains:

For the first time in 35 years, the census will not feature a detailed, long form that Canadians are obliged to send back to the government.

Users of census information, including myself, are not happy and somewhat puzzled as to why this decision was made.

3) Historians of science Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway’s new book  Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, describes how politically connected scientists have operated effective campaigns to skew public opinion towards the denial of well-established scientific knowledge over four decades, now has a website – merchantsofdoubt.org – that links to a bunch of the documents supporting the books arguemnet. I linked to a lecture based on the book earlier this year, and they recently wrote an article based on their book for Yale360 Global Warming Deniers and Their Proven Strategy of Doubt.

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