Data is everywhere, even on your Thanksgiving table. Yves de Montcheuil details in Infoworld all the different ways that data plays a role during Thanksgiving.

From making crop growth more efficient, to finding the perfect recipe, to analyzing just how many calories you consumed, to how the football teams use data to win the game, even if you are forced to put your phone away during dinner, data is still impacting your experience.

 Small Data

Big Data is a buzz phrase that gets a lot of attention. But how does small data play an important part in design and decision making? Matt Gallivan writes on Medium about the importance of human interaction. Here is an important point from his piece:

“Human interaction is actually pretty data-rich stuff, even if that data isn’t easily quantifiable. And while it, too, is subject to the biases and unintended influences of how it’s framed and conducted, it’s also incredibly nuanced. When we communicate person-to-person without any instrumented mediation, we communicate subtlety, nuance and conditions very efficiently. We can say why we didn’t like something, or why we might have liked something if only it were executed in a slightly different way or if our motivations happened to change for any reason. We’re able to express a complex sentiment like that in just one sentence during a conversation with another person, but one would need at least three separate metrics to maybe, possibly capture it quantitatively (assuming they thought to measure them in the first place).”

Shazam logo


Data in Music

Services like Shazaam have revolutionized the music business. Music labels are able to analyze which songs will become hits based on the number of searches. They can see how a song spreads and becomes popular. This has created a shift in the music industry, and in many ways for good. But, Derek Thompson writes in The Atlantic that there can be some negative consequences here, too. Mostly, it means a lot more music that sounds the same.

Fitness Data in Court



The first known case citing FitBit data is set to occur in Calgary, Canada. The client’s law firm plans to use this data to prove that a personal injury affected the client’s ability to operate at normal levels. This means the clinical interpretation may soon be removed from some types of court cases, and instead data from our wearable devices could make or break a case. Read more here.

CERN's Large Hadron Collider

CERN’s Large Hadron Collider

Data Resources

Looking for Big Data sets available for free? Here you go.

Also, CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, has made data from the Large Hadron Collider available to the public. The LHC runs experiments where particles collide and scientists observe what happens. You can now make some inferences, too.

Sometimes when using a program to analyze large sets of data, something goes wrong, and you don’t know how to resolve the problem, or even what the problem is. Sisi Wei from Pro Publica writes about how to ask programming questions online, here.

Working with Data

If you haven’t already, go read Ehsan Sabaghian’s post on Infospace from last week about what it is actually like to do a Big Data project. He details some of the challenges and considerations to consider while using a project he is working on right here at the iSchool.

Think Like a Data Scientist

Maybe you are just interested in data science but don’t know much about it. Or, you are an experienced data scientist and want to know how those who don’t know data science think about you. Either way, read this piece from the Harvard Business Review on thinking like a data scientist.

What kind of data news have you heard about this week? Let us know what you think of these reports – or others you’ve discovered – below in the comments!