Lessons Learned in Data Science

Daniela's blog

I have recently moved to Seattle to the newly founded DIRAC Institute, which means that my three years at NYU’s Center for Data Science (CDS)  are coming to an end. I thought I’d take this opportunity for a little actually quite long (sorry) retrospective and summarize those three years in this post.
Coming to CDS was an experiment. Indeed, the CDS itself is an experiment, and its scientific mission currently funded by a joint grant provided by the Moore and Sloan foundations, along with two other institutes at UC Berkeley and UW Seattle. I came to CDS with the goal of learning as much as I can about how other fields deal with data. I did that, too, occasionally, but the learning experiences I value most have nothing at all to do with that. They’re in no particular order of importance, and credit for some of this…

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Internal innovation report says the New York Times needs to up its digital game or else


The New York Times is seen by many as the acme of traditional media success, which isn’t surprising — after all, it has hundreds of thousands of digital subscribers who are paying the paper $150 million or so a year, and it has launched some interesting new apps and services like The Upshot and NYT Premier. But to her credit, editor Jill Abramson is not satisfied, so she commissioned an “innovation report” led by Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, scion of the paper’s controlling shareholder, the Sulzberger family, to tell her what it needs to do differently.

As a piece in Capital New York describes it, the original ambit of the Sulzberger team, launched last July, was to be a kind of skunk-works that would come up with digital projects. But partway through the process, Sulzberger suggested the thesis needed to be broadened, and that it should look at what the paper…

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Esko Kilpi on Interactive Value Creation

The way we want to make sense of the world around us has often to do with causality. The question we ask is what caused “it” to happen? The mainstream approach is that an arrow, or arrows, can be drawn. There is a variable, the “it”, that happened, that is now to be explained. In scientific study this variable is regarded as dependent. An independent variable, or variables, that cause it are then sought. Causality means that X causes Y. If there is more X there will also be more Y. This is the if-then model of management. In organizations, a familiar explanation for success is that a particular manager or a particular culture caused it.

But there is something significant happening today. Scholars are increasingly pointing out to the fact that this view of the relationship between cause and effect is much too simplistic and leads to a very…

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Supreme Court Justices Are Not Good With Computers

sarahjeong dot net

I hate this article (“The Supreme Court Justices, Ranked by Their Tech Savvy in the Aereo Case”).

It’s not just a vapid listicle, the analysis is actually just majorly wrong.

To be clear, that entire bench is just not very tech savvy. And neither are the attorneys who come and speak to them. This was evident during oral arguments for CLS v. Alice, when counsel for the petitioners told Kennedy that nearly all software was written in a weekend in a coffee shop and then no one contradicted him.

And in today’s arguments, everyone referred repeatedly to “cloud computing” when they really just mean “the cloud” or “cloud music lockers.” And when I say “everyone” I mean all nine justices plus counsel for the petitioners plus counsel for the respondents plus the deputy solicitor general for the United States government.

When it comes down to it, everyone who’s…

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Incensed secularists pile on David Cameron for saying that Britain is a Christian nation

Why Evolution Is True

Four days ago I described a Torygraph piece recounting Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent spate of pro-religious remarks, including these:

The prime minister’s religious messages began last week with an Easter reception at Downing Street, at which he said religion had brought him his greatest moments of peace and claimed “Jesus invented the big society 2,000 years ago”.

He also released a videoed Easter message for the country, in which he talked about the “countless acts of kindness carried out by those who believe in and follow Christ”.

In a separate article for the Church Times, he argued that some atheists and agnostics did not understand that faith could be a “guide or a helpful prod in the right direction” towards morality.

While acknowledging many non-believers have a moral code and some Christians do not, he added: “People who advocate some sort of secular neutrality fail to grasp the…

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