Why Big Data Isn’t So Bad

Privacy Issues Aside, Gathering Information Can Help Improve Health, Learning, and Living

Big data gets a bad rap.

While stories show up practically every day about the novel and sometimes surprising ways Internet companies can use the massive amounts of data they collect from us (recently, for instance, Belgium criticized the way Facebook shares users’ likes with its advertisers), the ability to collect and analyze large amounts of social science data has the capacity to do much social good.

I know this because I’m an economist who has been working with extremely large datasets from a time before we even called this “big …

Did Isaac Newton Need Peer Review?

Scholarly Journals Swear By This Practice of Expert Evaluation. But It’s a New Phenomenon That Isn’t the Only Way To Establish the Facts.

Last month, scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced a finding that could be one of the most important scientific discoveries of the 21st century. BICEP 2, their microwave …