The Winds, They Are A-Turbulently Flowing

This may just my bubble talking, but it feels like something shifted after Trump’s attacks on scientists today.

That rather heaping disdain on the already-marginalized, he began to assault people most Americans aspire to be.

That we always accept heroic scientists’ politics because we see them as scientists first.

That politics has always been guilty entertainment where lies and violence make for great drama, but realizing The Apprentice shenanigans and Walking Dead villains are creeping into the impenetrable — but important — work being done in those labs you see on Big Bang Theory or hear on Radiolab.

That your co-worker’s brilliant, but too busy to keep up with your woke politics, friend is suddenly and severely worried that she can’t do her like *real, actual, Pasteur quadrant science* about cancer treatment or weather forecasting because our “isn’t that just awful, but there isn’t anything I can do about it so I might as well look” political circus is spilling into sacred secular spaces. Once the 94.9 million Americans who didn’t vote in this election expecting the serious scientists to bail us out at the end — like Scottie, R2D2, Lucius Fox, Tony Stark, Abby Sciuto, Samwell Tarly always do — instead hear those scientists saying “we won’t make it this time”… now people want to get off the ride.

Journalism as a Professional Model for Data Science

With the 2014 Facebook Experiment behind us and the 2016 U.S. general election ahead of us, discussions about ethics and data science will remain very much in the public eye. Every new revelation and allegation will predictably bring a cycle of unconstructive outrage and over-baked hot takes — which is all fine and good for collecting pageviews if you need to pay the bills. But these cycles prevent us from being able to step back and articulate what data science should be and should do. If data science is to become a profession with values, ethics, and boundaries rather than an occupation, I think data scientists should look to journalism for lessons to adopt into its emerging professional identity. Continue reading Journalism as a Professional Model for Data Science