Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Opinion: What Jim Carrey got wrong - CNN.com

An atypical topic for me, but there’s some wisdom in here about a common subconscious motivation for distorting reality.  I have already blogged about such motivations for ignoring data that contradicts what we want to believe, or for distorting data to support what we want others to believe.  This example is about imagining data that supports what we want to believe even when such data, inconveniently, fails to exist.

Such narratives give us a sense that the uncontrollable might be controlled. And to maintain them, we simply ignore cases that don't fit them, such as a rash of violence in the months after Sandy Hook committed by elderly men with no discernible connection to violent media. This allows us to maintain an illusion of correlation where none exists.

Opinion: What Jim Carrey got wrong - CNN.com

Monday, June 24, 2013

Big Data's Human Error Problem | Big Data

Some publicity about a panel I am moderating at the MIT CDO/IQ Conference next month.

Has the problem of bad data grown worse in the era of big data? No, not really, says author and industry analyst Joe Maguire, one of the organizers of the MIT Chief Data Officer and Information Quality (CDOIQ) Symposium, to be held July 17-19 in Cambridge, Mass.

When it comes to information, digital or otherwise, one fact never changes: humans and data quality errors are inseparable, Maguire told InformationWeek in a phone and email interview. Furthermore, data that's too clean -- devoid of any signs of human blunders -- is immediately suspect.

"Sure, bad data touches human lives -- and vice versa. Humans are known to make a certain number of typos. In certain contexts, immaculate data could be a sign of fraud. If humans are involved in the production of data, you should expect it to be imperfect," Maguire wrote via email.

Big Data's Human Error Problem | Big Data

Webinar By Me on Tuesday 25 June

Topic: How Data Modelers Can Save Their Jobs in NoSQL Environments.  Sponsored by DataStax.

Data modeling emerged in the 1970’s in response to the needs of database designers. This accident of history has influenced perceptions and practices of data modeling in harmful ways. Most notably, business-focused requirements analysis has been wrongly commingled with relational modeling. Compounding the problem, vendors have produced data-modeling tools that blur the important distinction between the client’s problem and the technologist’s solution.

Enter NoSQL, with its promise of liberating practitioners from the tiresome burden of designing relational databases. The chance to dispense with relational modeling was embraced enthusiastically, but for many organizations, it has meant discarding the only rigorous activity that had any hope of formally expressing the client’s data needs. This is a textbook case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. This presentation shows you how to save the baby, and your career as a data modeler.

Data Modelers Still Have Jobs: Adjusting For the NoSQL Environment | DataStax

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Speaking at #Cassandra13 Summit This Week: How Data Modelers Can Save Their Jobs

Here’s the blurb from the agenda:

Data Modelers Still Have Jobs: Adjusting For the NoSQL Environment

Speaker: Joe Maguire, Founder at Data Quality Strategies, LLC
Using concrete, real-world examples, the presenter will show the following: How abandoning modeling altogether is a recipe for disaster, even in—or especially in—NoSQL environments; How experienced relational modelers can leverage their skills for NoSQL projects; How the NoSQL context both simplifies and complicates the modeling endeavor.How lessons learned modeling for NoSQL projects can make you a more effective modeler for any kind of project.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

In Bulger Trial, It’s the Defense vs. the Media | WGBH News

Gamesmanship in Information Control

The defense’s witness list includes Boston Globe reporters Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy, former Globe staffers Gerry O’Neill and Dick Lehrer, and Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr, all of whom have written books about Bulger. Bulger’s attorney, J.W. Carney, say the journalists have interviewed other potential witnesses likely to be called by the prosecution – and could challenge their accounts if they distort or exaggerate in an attempt to aide the government’s case.

If they stay on the witness list, though, the aforementioned journalists will be barred from sitting in the courtroom, and won’t be able to report on the trial. According to Murphy – who recently co-authored a book on the Bulger saga with Cullen – that’s what Bulger really wants.

In Bulger Trial, It’s the Defense vs. the Media | WGBH News