Harnessing Google to Solve Parkinson's

In Wired, Thomas Goetz profiles Sergey Brin's search for a cure for Parkinson's disease: "Brin proposes a different approach, one driven by computational muscle and staggeringly large data sets. It's a method that draws on his algorithmic sensibility-and Google's storied faith in computing power-with the aim of accelerating the pace and increasing the potential of scientific research."

A Shining City on a Spreadsheet

A spreadsheet models all New York City transit.

All Hail Numeracy

The strengths and limitations of data.

ClimateGate as Rorschach Test

In the 10 days since we first blogged about "ClimateGate" - the unauthorized release of e-mails and other material from the Climate Research Unit (C.R.U.) at East Anglia University in Norwich, England - it's become strikingly clear that one's view of the issue is deeply colored by his or her incoming biases. No surprise there, but still, the demarcation is clear. One of the best indicators: when you stumble onto a blog post about the topic, you can tell which way the wind is blowing simply by looking at the banner ad at the top of the site: if it's for an M.B.A. in Sustainable Business, you're going to hear one thing about ClimateGate; if the ad shows Al Gore with a Pinocchio nose, meanwhile - well, you get the idea.

On the Prevalance of H1N1

In Seattle recently, I met a pulmonologist who said that the H1N1 virus has him busier than he's ever been, his hospital beds full of flu patients. The uptick hit particularly hard about 10 days ago, he said.

How has the flu been playing out across the country?

Multidecadal Fantasy Baseball

Barry Bonds, Todd Helton, and Mickey Mantle are the top three batters in baseball history ... well, according to a new study that used network science to rank players by analyzing the outcome of every at-bat from 1954 to 2008.

Stat Candy

After viewing this data candy from baekdal.com, the BBC's Michael Blastland wonders: is there a point at which sexy design overwhelms the usefulness of the data?

What Does the Human Development Index Measure?

There's been some interesting recent commentary on the Human Development Index. But first, some background. This index is calculated each year by the U.N. Development Program as a summary indicator of "Human Development," combining data on life expectancy at birth, adult literacy, educational enrollment, and average income (measured as G.D.P. per capita). And earlier this week, Catherine Rampell noted a recent effort by the SSRC-funded American Human Development Project to develop a Human Development Index, for U.S. states. Philosophically, it is an attempt to broaden the development debate beyond G.D.P. But does it succeed?

I Fell for Their Data

I fell for a stupid article and turned off my home PC last night. The article says that Americans who leave computers on overnight are wasting $2.8 billion on energy costs per year. It ignores the cost of turning computers off — and having to turn them on again the next morning. Let’s say that […]

The Downside of Google's Data Obsession

| He didn’t announce it via cake, but Doug Bowman quit his job as head of Google’s visual design team last week, citing the company’s “reliance on data” for design decisions as the main reason for his departure. Bowman writes on his blog that he’ll miss Google’s “incredibly smart and talented people” and the “occasional […]