Home > data journalism, data science > What’s next for mathbabe?

What’s next for mathbabe?

September 12, 2014

The Columbia J-School program that I have been directing, The Lede Program in Data Journalism, has wound down this past week and in four days my 6-month contract with Columbia will end. I’ve had a fantastic time and I am super proud of what we accomplished this past summer. The students from the program are awesome and many of them are now my friends. About half of them are still engaged in classes and will continue to work this semester with Jonathan Soma, who absolutely rocks, and of course my fabulous colleague Theresa Bradley, who will step in as Director now that I’m leaving.

So, what’s next? I am happy to say that as of today (or at least as of next Monday when my kids are really in school full-time) I’m writing my book Weapons of Math Destruction on a full-time basis. This comes as a huge relief, since the internal pressure I have to finish this book is reminiscent of how I felt when I needed to write my thesis: enormous, but maybe even worse than then since the timeliness of the book could not be overstated, and I want to get this book out before the moment passes.

In the meantime I have some cool talks I’m planning to go to (like this one I went to already!) and some I’m planning to give. So for example, I’m giving a keynote at The Yale Day of Data later this month, which is going to be fun and interesting.

My Yale talk is basically a meditation on what can be achieved by academic data science institutions, what presents cultural and technical obstacles to collaboration, and why we need to do it anyway. It’s no less than a plea for Yale to create a data science institute with a broad definition of data science – so including scholars from law and from journalism as well as the fields you think of already when you think of data science – and a broad mandate to have urgent conversations across disciplines about the “big data revolution.” That conversation has already begun at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, which makes me optimistic.

I also plan to continue my weekly Slate Money podcasts with Felix Salmon and Jordan Weissmann. Today we’re discussing the economic implications of Scottish independence, Felix’s lifetime earnings calculator, and the Fed’s new liquidity rules and how they affect municipalities, which my friend Marc Joffe guest blogged about yesterday.

  1. September 12, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Good luck.


    • Guest2
      September 13, 2014 at 2:20 am

      Yes, good luck!

      I am reminded of Benjamin Rush’s moral thermometer and Flo Nightingale’s rose chart, key points in the history of figural rhetoric.

      Donald A MacKenzie’s, Statistics in Britain, 1865-1930: The social construction of scientific knowledge, is superb and broad. Eugenics, IQ testing, middle-class ambitions, all come together.

      And “Testing for order and control in the corporate liberal state,” Clarence J. Karier in “Roots of Crisis” Karier, Violas, Spring.

      There is a monograph on statistics at Columbia University that is also quite interesting. Nicholas Butler, after all, was an empire builder of the first order.


  2. Min
    September 12, 2014 at 10:34 am

    I look forward to your book. More power to you! 🙂


  3. Min
    September 12, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Oh, yeah. Boola boola. 😉


  4. September 12, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I hope you’ll share the text of your keynote here (or elsewhere), so other institutions beyond Yale will be able to take advantage of your insights & experience.


  5. September 12, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    What? You’re not discussing card tricks or Argentina? 😉
    Have fun writing the book!


  6. David
    September 13, 2014 at 12:50 am

    I want to be a proofreader for Weapons of Math Destruction!


  7. Auros
    September 13, 2014 at 3:20 am

    I’ll be curious to hear whether you guys think Scotland could successfully launch its own currency and central bank. Not that they seem inclined to, even though both the alternatives (staying on the pound or joining the euro) look like much worse ideas… It seems like they hypothetically could — the Czech Republic has a similar GDP, and seemingly poorer fundamentals in terms of how much you should trust the government in general, and they still have their koruna. It’s experienced some ups and downs over the last decade, but not _too_ terrible — it seems to have been between 3.5 and 4.2 eurocents for the last five years.


    • Auros
      September 14, 2014 at 12:15 am

      Oh, also — I wonder if you guys had a take on the Catalonian secession vote? The Spanish central government has been utterly hapless; as far as I can tell, their attitude towards being forced to live with German sado-monetarist policy is straight up moneto-masochism. “Thank you sir, may we have another!” If Catalonia issued a new peso, and let it depreciate against the euro until their local wages became competitive, they might experience an Iceland-like recovery, which could serve as an example for the rest of the Iberian peninsula, as well as Ireland and Italy.


  8. Bobito
    September 13, 2014 at 7:49 am

    Keep up the interesting blog.


  9. Savonarola
    September 13, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Go, MathBabe!


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