The Aggregate Weekly Newsletter ✍ July 8th

Special Edition

Hello! I am Lars E. Schonander, a writer for MediaFile and a blogger on international affairs, tech, and general wonkery. Happy Monday! Here is my weekly newsletter with a weekly analysis with interesting data, along with links related to things I found particularly interesting that week. Any Questions? Send me a message or just respond to this email!

Due to the 4th of July, I did not have much time this week to explore a new dataset. In lieu of that, I did the following:

  • I built a portfolio website for one of my siblings. She asked for a portfolio website to display some of the fashion designs she had previously designed, so I quickly whipped up a website using Hakyll and some bespoke CSS to style it like she wanted. Then I deployed it on Netlify (good way to deploy static sites btw), so her website is officially up on the internet now.

  • I had dinner with a bunch of people from D.C. because an acquaintance of mine and a mutual friends wrangled twelve people to dinner as a way to celebrate her coming to D.C. for the next couple of weeks. Was very nice to meet in person many people I have only chatted to on Twitter before.

  • Made some progress on the headline complexity pitch I am working on. Managed to understand more of d3’s API, this time the part that has to do with grouping data, a la the groupby of the tidyverse in R. Trying to figure out how I am going to represent roughly 48,000 individual articles, perhaps a beeswarm chart with the x axis being time, but the size of the individual circles being the articles respective flesch-kincaid grade level.

  • A draft is on the web now. Just played around in d3 a couple of ways to visualize information related to headlines.

  • Celebrated the 4th of July with relatives in D.C. One of the virtues of the D.C. neighborhood Shaw is one not only gets to see the official fireworks, but one is surrounded by all the semi-illegal firework shows as well that light up the D.C. skyline on the 4th of July.

  • A new dataset will be displayed next week, in this case it’s one on foreign gifts to universities across the United States.

Now, some links…

Aaron Lake Smith (Harpers): The Trials of Vasily Grossman

“The Soviet Union, it must be remembered, was a regime founded by freelance writers and editors. In other words, a nightmare.”

Martin Billheimer (Counterpunch): The Gothic and the Idea of a ‘Real Elite’

Here we are close to mysticism and hidden saints, a kind of ‘real elite’ which stands in contrast to a worldly elitism that regards its lofty position as a sovereign debt owed by a public it despises. The establishment’s philosophy is not an ideal or even an allocation of forces, but an economic fact. It cunningly concocts tradition to valorize itself until pure terror is enough; it reproduces by mirrors and hoarding. But a ‘real elite’ is marked by a Quixotic will to substitution, physical and mental, for the world around it. A silent ‘aristocracy’ that speaks in nonsense syllables, homelessness, inappropriate laughter and the grace of obscene extravagance. Truly singular and always temporal – it operates in a time sealed off, a loop where the leper stares back at the world.

Mat Dryhurst (Attack Magazine): How Social Media is Changing Music

And as I touched upon in the first article in this series, social media is also greatly changing the music industry. It’s influencing how artists are booked and who gets the most bookings. It’s shaping how we listen to music, how we pay for music and how music reaches us. But one question has so far gone largely unanswered — is social media changing music itself?


Thanks for taking the time to read this, I will be back next Monday. In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter or reach out via email.