I made a heatmap of Taylor Swift’s most frequently sung notes, calculated across all of her nine studio albums. A self-generated time series of each track’s isolated vocal frequencies was turned into a vector and grouped together by album, resulting in a matrix in the shape of M x N where N is the number of notes in the Grand Staff and M is the number of albums, with row-wise relative frequencies as the matrix elements. (This approach also powers the data within my iOS app, Karaokay.) The results demonstrate an artist whose mastery of songwriting spans multiple genres. …


Reddit user katyvs1 created an AskReddit thread with the following question: What’s a random statistic about yourself you’d love to know, but never will? I was excited to see that many of the responses were bona-fide Fermi questions, and one response in particular caught my imagination:

How many times have I walked past someone that I’ve walked past before without realising? — u/colecr

While we can’t give that user a relevant answer without knowing more about their life, it seems to me that we can come up with an estimate for the average American city dweller (from here on out…


Last year, researchers from Cornell published a paper describing their work classifying tweets as hateful, offensive, or neither. They experimented with a handful of models and parameters before settling on logistic regression. In addition to the effort spent building and evaluating models, they also extracted a handful of features for their model beyond the text itself, including the readability, sentiment, and metadata of each tweet. This was a lot of work, but the results were promising.

I wanted a similar classifier for my own purposes, but I didn’t have the patience necessary to extract the same data. Instead, I decided…


Joe Cortright and Dillon Mahmoudi introduced the ‘Storefront Index’ in a 2016 report available here. The metric is a simple one, counting the total number of businesses within a city that meet several conditions (publicly accessible, densely located, and close to the city center). Despite its simplicity, this metric identifies the vibrancy of major metropolitan centers and indirectly measures other features such as walkability, safety, and economic health — all of which contribute to the quality of life of local citizens.

Although Cortright and Mahmoudi only calculated scores for the nation’s fifty largest metropolitan areas, they provided enough detail for…


Statistics of Deadly Quarrels was written by Lewis Fry Richardson and published in 1960. The book is notable for both its findings and for being one of the first examples of quantitative methods being applied to the realm of international relations. Richardson, a meteorologist by trade, turned his revolutionary and now widely-used weather forecasting methods toward the outbreak of interstate conflict, hoping to find predictive variables by analyzing the years between 1809 and 1950. …

Zachary Kitt

Writer of code. Interested in data-driven policy. Graduate of @JacksonYale and @UCSBGlobal. https://zacharykitt.com

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