Professor Dame Anne Glover has spent her entire career generating scientific knowledge; knowledge that has, usually, been bought and paid for by the tax payer. As such, she said, “I believe that the tax payer deserves the benefit of the knowledge I generate.” But that payback isn’t always guaranteed.
In an extract from her book, Big Data: Does Size Matter?, Timandra Harkness meets data-based map makers CartoDB to discuss citizen cartographers and the pros and cons of location intelligence.
In 2009 I did a survey of the use of data displays in a number of leading journals and found that, in all of the sciences that I surveyed, the dominant form of data display was the table.1 This is despite the century-old warning of the brothers Farquhar that: “Getting information from a table is like extracting sunbeams from a cucumber.”2
Steven Mark Chaney was convicted in 1987 of the murder of a drug dealer who had been stabbed to death. The evidence against Chaney at his original trial included the testimony of a dental expert who stated that it was virtually certain that Chaney had bit the victim on the arm at some point during the killing – that the bite marks found on the victim’s body were a match to Chaney’s. But where did such certainty arise from – and is it justified?
A 2.7GHz processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 500GB solid state drive that is almost out of space. Quite frankly, the laptop that I am currently working on is getting a bit old. However, thinking back to 1985, and my newly acquired Amstrad CPC6128, I was pretty thrilled with the 4MHz processor, 128K of memory, and a 180K floppy drive. Times, quite clearly, have changed.
Henry Cole, a 17-year-old student, asks: "Almost every day on the news there is a report about a new breakthrough in medicine, which claims to raise our current life expectancy. As the biggest old-age killers, like cancer, are beaten, the rate at which life expectancy rises is increasing. Presumably, at some point in the future, life expectancy will rise quicker than people can die. Babies born during this time could theoretically live forever. So given today’s life expectancy data, when might we expect this to occur?"
Internet use is transforming almost every aspect of our public, private and work life. More than three quarters of the UK population use the internet daily, up from just 35% of people in 2006. Two thirds of people now own a smartphone, using it for nearly two hours every day to browse the internet, access social media, bank and shop online.