We’re moving around a lot less than most of the country

Photo: San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images / Contributor

Biggest understatement of the year: Covid-19 has changed our lives dramatically. Besides the massive toll on public health, the pandemic has upended our overall lifestyles. We all know it. We all feel it. To show just how much, I’ve pulled together five charts based on mobility data from Google and Apple, with a focus on the San Francisco Bay Area (where I reside).

By “San Francisco Bay Area,” I’m including these nine counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma.

Both Google’s and Apple’s mobility data show change from a baseline period, for…


An exploration of the connections between TV show and presidential candidate preferences

Last year, I came across this 2016 Upshot article from The New York Times. Besides being an example of beautiful data storytelling, the premise of the content intrigued me. Is there actually a connection between what TV shows people like and how they vote in elections? NYTimes claims so. But as much as I loved the article, I was left wanting more. The article never went into detail on the actual correlations between TV and politics. So I decided to investigate further, through the lens of the most recent U.S. presidential election.

vintage TV
vintage TV
Photo by Sven Scheuermeier

The New York Times article used data from…


My partner and I discuss music frequently. Some of these conversations are about our shared interest in playing guitar, going to live concerts, and unashamedly blasting Justin Timberlake on road trips. We played “Man of the Woods” a good five or six times on our Yosemite vacation last year because, you know, woods. Others of our conversations are out of disbelief. I can’t relate to his love of EDM and trap. He is still in awe (not in a good way) of my fondness toward folk, Americana, and yes, country music.

This got me thinking. How can data help us…


This is Emma. Emma is seen here taking the Bay Area Rapid Transit, or “BART,” the San Francisco Bay Area’s regional public transit system.

Hang in there Emma!

Emma is not happy, because this train is too damn crowded. She can barely move her elbow without hitting this poor stranger on the right in the face. She’s so miserable that she’s planted her entire head in her armpit out of exasperation (or maybe because there’s some kind of foul smell on the train, which is pretty likely too). This photo was taken literally seconds after she had just gotten on the BART, and she…


Trayvon Martin. Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Freddie Gray. Laquan McDonald. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. Joseph Mann. Keith Scott. The list of black men killed at the hands of police goes on and on. And on and on.

To put it mildly, we have a problem. The first part of that problem is big picture and colorblind: in 2015 and 2016 alone, police in the United States killed over 2,000 people across the country. That’s about seven people per million. If that doesn’t sound like a lot, think of it this way. Every single day, about three people in America die…


Ahhh, the Supreme Court of the United States. Key player in our federal government’s system of checks and balances. The Highest Court in the Land. Nine superheroes cloaked in black. Responsible for so many critical milestones in our county’s history, from denying citizenship to African American slaves (Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1857) to upholding “separate but equal” segregation laws (Plessy vs. Ferguson, 1896) to upholding Japanese Americans’ internment during World War II (Korematsu v. United States, 1944) to banning segregation in public schools (Brown v. Board of Education, 1954) to affirming women’s right to an abortion during the first two…


After thinking about buying a small condo in Chicago last year (I didn’t) and then watching The Big Short last month, I became fascinated with the U.S. housing market. There have been a lot of discussions about the housing bubble that mushroomed spectacularly until 2007 and then burst equally spectacularly afterward. There doesn’t seem to be as much analysis, though, into what our housing market has been up to in more recent years. So I decided I’d do a little digging on my own.

This project is made possible by Zillow, which has kindly opened up its data for public…


In early 2015, I had the chance to pilot a part-time data analytics course in Chicago. A year and a half later, I had the chance to enroll in the same course in San Francisco. For ten weeks, I spent Monday and Wednesday nights after work digging into large datasets and excavating insights. I learned that Excel has more functionalities than I ever imagined. That five lines of SQL can give you answers that would take half an hour to figure out in Excel. …

Annie L. Lin

People & ops leader | data storyteller & nerd

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