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Articles on Big data

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Elements affecting the popularity of songs change over time and should be continuously explored, say data science researchers. (Shutterstock)

Can big data really predict what makes a song popular?

Whether we’re talking songs that are popular on Spotify, or were Billboard hits through the ‘40s up to recent years, popularity cannot be attributed solely to quantifiable acoustic elements.
Smart technology is demonstrated on a farm in Newark, Mo. (Dilip Vishwanat/AP Images/U.S. Cellular)

The dangers of big data extend to farming

Big data from social media have been revealed as biased, but we should also pay attention to agriculture firms whose play for big data is likely to have detrimental environmental and social impacts.
Identifying the difference between normal genetic variation and disease-causing mutations can sometimes be difficult. Andrii Yalanskyi/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Genetic mutations can be benign or cancerous – a new method to differentiate between them could lead to better treatments

Tumors contain thousands of genetic changes, but only a few are actually cancer-causing. A quicker way to identify these driver mutations could lead to more targeted cancer treatments.
Commercial satellite companies provide views once reserved for governments, like this image of a Russian military training facility in Crimea. Satellite image (c) 2021 Maxar Technologies via Getty Images

Technology is revolutionizing how intelligence is gathered and analyzed – and opening a window onto Russian military activity around Ukraine

National security professionals and armchair sleuths alike are taking advantage of vast amounts of publicly available information and software tools to monitor geopolitical events around the world.
Ancient military innovations – like the bit and bridle that enabled mounted horseback riding – changed the course of history. Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin/British Museum via WikimediaCommons

The horse bit and bridle kicked off ancient empires – a new giant dataset tracks the societal factors that drove military technology

Did ancient technological advancements drive social innovation, or vice versa? Studying cause and effect in the ancient world may seem like a fool’s errand, but researchers built a database to do just that.
People navigate cities in much the same way animals navigate their environments. Max Böhme/Unsplash

Cellphone data shows that people navigate by keeping their destinations in front of them – even when that’s not the most efficient route

As you’re walking through city streets on your way to work, school or appointments, you probably feel like you’re taking the most efficient route. Thanks to evolution, you’re probably not.
People produce mountains of data every day, but not all data is treated the same under the law. Orbon Alija/E+ via Getty Images

Data privacy laws in the US protect profit but prevent sharing data for public good – people want the opposite

Profit-friendly data privacy laws in the U.S. are out of step with public sentiment and hinder uses the public supports, from reducing opioid overdose deaths to curbing the COVID-19 pandemic.

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