Introducing The Ministry of Silly Things
I have long had the dream of an open source repository of structured data. The data is already out there, but not in computable form. You can find the average weight of a tiger, but graphing 10 mammals weight vs max age requires a lot of manual work. We need a single place to go.We need a collaborative place to suggest, edit, and curate this data. A place where anyone can freely find, remix, and contribute new data items and data sets. Sort of a Wikipedia for data. That's the dream anyway.
Well today that dream is one step closer to reality. Introducing The Ministry of Silly Things.
Hosted at silly.io, the Ministry of Silly things contains lists of silly but interesting items like the Letters of the Alphabet, Ron Swanson quotes, every iPhone and Raspberry PI model, and the Nations of the World.
Silly.io is not a mere list of lists. Each set contains structured data that you can run computations on. You could draw a chart of the world's most populous nations vs their land area. Or US states sorted by the date they entered the union. Once data is in computable form, you can do so much more with it. Here's a few examples
- a quiz of the US State Capitols
- A chart of a Raspberry Pi's by Bitness
- Visualize the 10 biggest moons vs Jupiter
- A chart of Peak iPhone Thinness
Just visit demo.silly.io to see the available data sets. Any set can be customized to include only certain fields, then downloaded as JSON or embedded as an iframe table. If you log in with your GitHub credentials you can add and edit new items, create new fields, and suggest new lists. Over time we can build this into an amazing resource for the world.
Every epic has a beginning, and this one is humble. Silly.io is extremely alpha quality. The UI flow is messy, schemas aren't always validated, and there are tons of bugs and missing features. That's why I need your help. Please sign up for the newsletter or send me bug reports and feature requests.
As Thomas Jefferson once famously said "This website is most important thing humanity has every constructed." We can only build it with your help.
Posted June 13th, 2017