Where fun facts are serious business

(Michelle Rohn for The Washington Post)

We here at the Department of Data are dedicated to exploring the weird and wondrous power of the data that defines our world. Each Friday, we’ll dig into overlooked and underappreciated data sets in search of hard truths and keen insights that will help make you smarter, better-looking and more fun at parties.

Why should I contact the Department?

Maybe you have a killer data set, like which birds are the biggest jerks at the feeder. Or maybe you have a question burning a hole in your brain, like where is the real Middle of Nowhere? Or maybe you just want to talk with a huge nerd.

If you contact us, we might reach out. Don’t worry, we probably just want to discuss your idea, shoot the breeze or even hash out issues we’re having with this week’s column.

How do I contact the Department?

We have an official submission form! If you prefer email or Twitter, we’re easy to find there.

Who’s the goofball in that animated logo?

That’s Washington Post columnist Andrew Van Dam, acting undersecretary of data. In the past, he’s covered economics and wrangled data and graphics at The Post and the Wall Street Journal. He grew up in Idaho, where some of his first data-entry memories involve tracking calf castrations. If you send something in, it should hit his inbox first.

If you use my idea for a column, will you send me a pin with that logo on it?


Our brilliant research and development staff have created a pin and official ID card forever marking our contributors as agents of the Department of Data. It should come in handy next time you’re stopped by the data police.

Can I get every column delivered to my inbox?

Absolutely! All you have to do is sign up for email alerts.

Isn’t the acronym DoD already taken?

Not that we know of. But if the folks at the Pentagon have data they want to leak share, they know where to find us.

This is more of a comment than a question, but “data” is plural!

Not according to our beloved style overlords at the Washington Post! And the Associated Press agrees with them.