The Aggregate Weekly Newsletter🔬September 23, 2019


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!

The Weekly Data:

This week, I discovered two things. First, you can run bash scripts in R, secondly, how to get cron jobs to work properly. Combining both, I made a cronjob for an R Markdown file with a bash script that uses Curl to query the Bird API.

If you wondering why the color is so boring, it’s because I like to theme the color to the dataset I am working with. Bird’s primary color is mettalic, so, its a mettalic color this time.

While Alberto Cairo would likely disapprove a bit the way I charted it, I decided to do something a bit fun for the histogram of Bird Scooter charge levels. I only tracked unique ID’s, to make sure I didn’t double count the scooters.

As seen above, the majority of Bird scootered queried by the API have a charge level that is at the 90th percentile, which corresponds to having a charge level of 90 and above.

As seen below, this holds over different dates as well!

Additionally, I ran a regression over battery level and distance, and however they programmed, it’s a very simple formula in practice. However, to verify this, I wanted to see how much the Battery Level as b1 was weighed by running the regression over different dates via nesting and purr.

In practice, there is not much distribution whatsoever.

Now, some links…

Dom Hofmann

Byte, otherwise known as Vine 2, is coming soon apperently. Above is a Twitter thread to some of the bytes (vines?), that he has posted.

Jerry Neumann: A Taxonomy of Moats

Value is created through innovation, but how much of that value accrues to the innovator depends partly on how quickly their competitors imitate the innovation. Innovators must deter competition to get some of the value they created. These ways of deterring competition are called, in various contexts, barriers to entry, sustainable competitive advantages, or, colloquially, moats. There are many different moats but they have at their root only a few different principles. This post is an attempt at categorizing the best-known moats by those principles in order to evaluate them systematically in the context of starting a company.


Lausan 流傘 emerged from intersecting desires we hold as Hong Kongers in the diaspora: to participate in and extend existing leftist discourses about Hong Kong; to unite in solidarity with oppressed people around the world; and to challenge what Hong Kong means as a critical perspective, as a decolonial politics, and as a home.

By taking Hong Kong as a position of critique, Lausan 流傘 aims to hold multiple imperialisms to account without oversimplification of material conditions on the ground. At this critical juncture in history, we understand that any radical imagination of Hong Kong’s future would need to center cross-border solidarities based on class struggle, migrant justice, anti-racism and feminism. To that end, we take seriously our dispersal across locally specific sites of struggle as an opportunity to link collective action against capital, colonialism, and state power in Hong Kong and unfolding histories of resistance around the world. 

Micah Meadowcroft (Law and Liberty): The Democratic Self: A Quiz After Walker Percy’s Lost in the Cosmos

Or, Why we as Americans are Obsessed with Presidential Elections and Though we Hate Ourselves for it Cannot Get Enough of 2020 Coverage Despite it Still Being 2019 and Our Day-to-Day Troubles Being Plenty Preoccupying:

We as Americans have been told that certain truths are self-evident, namely, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Moreover, the Declaration of Independence goes on to say, governments are instituted to secure these undefined rights. While, in the spirit of English common law, the Declaration then enumerates the injuries and usurpations perpetrated by King George III, Jefferson’s prologue is a masterwork of modern Enlightenment rhetoric.

Martin Gurri (The Fifth Wave): A Tale of Two Elites

America’s elites are a house divided.  Ranged on one side are the people who rule the mighty institutions of modern life:  I mean government, politics, bureaucracy, media, the university, the scientific establishment.  They represent the forces of order.  Across the divide stand the technical or “Silicon Valley” (SV) elites.  They engage in a peculiar form of capitalism, and are agents of invention and disruption – of change.  In a perfect world, the forces of order and change would attain some sort of balance.  In the actual world we live in, the two sides are so out of whack as to push the clanging machinery of American politics to the edge of the cliff.

What I’m Reading

Image result for laszlo krasznahorkai destruction and sorrow beneath the heavens

I started reading László Krasznahorkai’s book Destruction and Sorrow Beneath the Heavens, a travel memoir based on his travels in a currently modernizing China. As seen with the title, the book is not a very cheerful one at all. It portrays a quite depressingly the rise of New China, which he writes as the modernized china, and the disappearance of Old China, Chinese culture that existed before the PRC.

The main character of the book is László Stein, who in practice is László Krasznahorkai. While I am not done with it, there is one scene that stuck with me particularly. In the chapter Yao, Why are you lying?, Stein visits a university instructor who teaches literally culture in an attempt to connect with traditional Chinese culture. Via the translator, the discomfort of Stein’s probing questions and the answers Yao provides make for a comfortable scene.

What I’m Working On

When I was working on my thesis, I realized reading Hadly Whickham’s book Advanced R I could use R6 classes to manage the code for the API requests.

This means I can do things like this:

I also added a couple of helper methods that make getting some diagnostic data from the GitHub API require less manual work from my end, which is convenient.

I also attended Life Capital DC last Thursday. I wrote up some notes about ISAs and the conference itself on my website. You can check it out here.


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.