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How Big Data is pushing astronomy and statistics in a new direction - Statistics Views

How Big Data is pushing astronomy and statistics in a new direction - Statistics Views | Mr.Rogers Class | Scoop.it

There was a time when a single astronomer, sat patiently at the eyepiece of a telescope and recording observations with paper and pencil, could turn our perception of the universe upside down. History is peppered with such examples. Galileo famously observed the moons of Jupiter and phases of Venus in the early 1600s, throwing the idea that the Earth was the centre of the universe into freefall. In March 1783, William Herschel single-handedly doubled the size of the known solar system by spotting the planet Uranus, the first new world since antiquity and residing twice as far from the Sun as Saturn.

 

No longer. Today's astronomy is driven by data – lots of it. The vast and intricate technology of modern telescopes and robotic explorers churns out a volume of ones and zeros simply inconceivable only a handful of decades ago. The images of the Sun produced by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), for example, have a resolution ten times that of ana HD high definition televisionTV. Every ten seconds, SDO snaps an image of our nearest star across eight different wavelengths of light, beaming 1.5 terrabytes of data back to the Earth daily – the equivalent of half a million music tracks. ...


Via Rob Kitchin, The Historical Cyber Consortium
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The New Economy of Letters

The New Economy of Letters | Mr.Rogers Class | Scoop.it

A quarter century has passed since Russell Jacoby coined the term "public intellectuals" in a book meant to mark their extinction. In The Last Intellectuals: American Culture in the Age of Academe, published in 1987, Jacoby defined public intellectuals as "writers and thinkers who address a general and educated audience." The term was new, he explained, but there had been public intellectuals for centuries: "The greatest minds from Galileo to Freud have not been content with private discoveries; they sought, and found, a public." Since the 1960s, their numbers, never high, had been plummeting. Lewis Mumford and Edmund Wilson were born in 1895, Walter Lippmann in 1889. By 1987, Wilson and Lippmann were dead and Mumford was in decline. Where, Jacoby wanted to know, were the young Mumfords and Lippmanns and Wilsons? There were none.


Via jean lievens
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