Rafael Irizarry introduces the dslabs package for real-life datasets to teach data science:

[I] try to avoid using widely used toy examples, such as the mtcars dataset, when I teach data science. However, my experience has been that finding examples that are both realistic, interesting, and appropriate for beginners is not easy. After a few years of teaching I have collected a few datasets that I think fit this criteria. To facilitate their use in introductory classes, I include them in the dslabs package.

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Nathan Yau
http://flowingdata.com

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