Today marks the official public launch of Data Matters, a weekly online publication from the Center for Data Arts where you will now find weekly original postings.
With information technology being rapidly woven into every layer of modern life, influencing what we eat, how we learn, how wars are waged, and how our societies are governed, data has never mattered more than it does today. To shed light on data’s many crucial and disparate roles, Data Matters will embrace perspectives from journalism, science, humanities, and the arts, and we will publish pieces in multiple forms that include articles, essays, research papers, and experimental digital media.
Our goal is to make Data Matters a wide open platform for examining the fast changing data landscape from every angle, providing our audience with information and critical insight on this complex and fast-changing subject.
“Today, high-speed internet access is a necessity and not a luxury,” said Maya Wiley last week at South by Southwest.
Millions of Americans lack broadband access and computer skills.
In other news on the digital divide, A plan in New York state might offer a way toward connecting millions of Americans to a service that’s become nearly as important as electricity. Continue reading “Maya Wiley on the Necessity of Data for All”
Americans overwhelmingly believe that global warming is happening, and that carbon emissions should be scaled back. But fewer are sure that it will harm them personally.
Source: How Americans Think About Climate Change, in Six Maps – The New York Times
In a talk delivered in Amsterdam a few years ago, science fiction writer Alastair Reynolds outlined an unnerving future scenario for the universe.
[Image: Galaxy M101]
Source: The Coming Amnesia – BLDGBLOG
The election map in the New York Times was the subject of plenty of conversations in the data visualization and cartography world yesterday. As much as we here at CDA love a good conversation about visual representation (and apparently, we like to do it in rhyme), this map did raise a lot of questions and concerns. In a post for CityLab, Andrew Small writes: “America needs a voting map that actually looks like America.”
But as people tee up to argue and theorize about what the electoral map means for the country, I’m reminded of a recent point of wisdom my colleague Laura Bliss made recently—maps aren’t facts, they’re starting points.
Read Small’s full post for his thoughts on where we can start.
Did you know that 2013 New School graduate Amy Kurzweil (daughter of AI pioneer & tech futurist Ray Kurzweil) is a New Yorker cartoonist? She recently published a memoir:
Flying Couch is the story of three generations of women:
me (the artist),
my mother (the psychologist),
and my grandmother (the survivor).
Source: Flying Couch | Amy Kurzweil
Designer, artist, and educator Kiersten Nash likes asking questions. Asking the right questions has changed a lot for her, and getting the people who engage with her work to ask questions, too, is a big part of why she does the work she does. The question she’s been asking lately is “How can we raise awareness about groundwater?” She and her colleagues in the design collective Public Works Collaborative have been attempting to answer that through their recently completed project Livestream.
Livestream, an interactive sound sculpture installed in Lexington, KY’s Jacobson Park, is a project designed to get people asking questions about water—where it’s coming from, what’s in it, how is it being monitored. It isn’t just an artwork, though, Livestream is designed to actively monitor the state’s groundwater using a custom designed toolkit. This first iteration of the project, featuring sounds composed by musician Ben Sollee, “translates data measuring each spring’s conductivity, temperature and flow into sound.” I spoke to Kiersten recently about Livestream, her design process, and how “[un]learning” can be the key to asking the right question.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Continue reading “Data Matters Interview Series: Kiersten Nash”
Ted Alcorn at Wired brings us this great piece on how data-driven programs are being used in several US cities as a way to reduce gun violence:
At their core, data tell stories. They reveal patterns, show changes over time, and confirm or challenge our theories. And in cities across the country, mayors, police chiefs, and other local leaders are turning to data to help them understand and address gun violence, one of the most persistent crises they face.
Innovative, data-driven programs are showing encouraging results. To keep high school students on the right track, the city of Chicago scaled up a school-based program called Becoming a Man for seventh through tenth graders living in neighborhoods with high rates of violence. The students reflect on their life goals, observe how their automatic responses inside school and outside school differ, and learn to slow down and react more thoughtfully to these sometimes divergent social environments. An adaptive behavior on the street, like fighting back to develop a reputation of toughness that could deter future victimization, will be maladaptive in other social situations. To test the impact of the program, the University of Chicago Crime Lab built a rigorous evaluation into its rollout. After two years, they were able to show that participants were 50 percent less likely to be arrested for a violent crime than students in a control group, and those students graduated at a rate 19 percent higher than those who did not participate. This close analysis of the program affords new insight into what makes the program work, and how to enhance it and apply it in other settings.
Read the whole article at Wired: One Great Way to Reduce Gun Violence? A Whole Lot of Data
Let’s say you’ve just been convicted of a crime, and a judge is now deciding what your sentence should be. 10 years? 2 years ? Parole? Would this process be less susceptible to bias if an software could review various factors and produce an algorithmically generated recommendation for the judge? Cathy O’Neil’s new book, Weapons of Math Destruction, examines the risks of trusting proprietary software with life-altering decisions. (BR)