Data shows maintenance problems with planes

Soon after a heavily loaded US Airways Express Flight 5481 crashed in Charlotte shortly after takeoff, airline maintenance appeared as a likely cause. A mechanic at a small West Virginia repair station had recently adjusted the plane’s elevator control cables, a job he had never done on a Beech 1900B. His instructor was also his…

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New-teacher data boosts narrative project

I was several weeks into my narrative project that involved following a college student through 10 weeks of student teaching. The student was 54 years old and teaching was his third career. Not a normal situation so I thought. The data told me otherwise. After attending an lFiE and  Boot Camp this year, I figured…

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Property data analysis finds extra tax credits

Thousands of Indianapolis taxpayers cashed in last year on multiple homestead property tax credits even though this valuable break was intended to reduce taxes only on a homeowner’s primary residence. After analyzing computer records for nearly 210,000 propertles that received the break for owner-occupied homes we reported that more than 9,300 people benefited from as…

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Examining evacuation during fire

Computer simulations, or models, are commonplace in the scientific world. They are used to predict hurricanes, forecast the spread of epidemics and calculate how long it would take people to leave a crowded building. Computer models are considered scientifically reliable, yet they are a rarity in the world of computer-assisted reporting. In the course of…

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Vigilant program tracks Web changes

As any journalist who has to deal with presidential campaign finance raw data can tell you, the 20th of each month this year poses a competitive nightmare. Candidates must report their contributions and expenditures to the Federal Election Commission by midnight of that day. But some report a day or so early, and others miss…

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Calculating unfair tax assessments

Since at least the time of Huey Long, who enacted a homestead exemption that essentially protected all homeowners in the state from property taxation, Louisiana has been known for a deep aversion to property taxes. Of course, it’s also been known for colorful political traditions. And property taxes and politics have traditionally crossed paths in…

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